A journey is a path of hardship which leads an individual to accept the past and move towards the future. This concept is embodied through the play ‘Away’, by Michael Gow, which explores the spiritual journey of characters through the transition of a physical journey. This idea of a physical journey provoking a spiritual change is portrayed through the poem ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ by William Wordsworth and “Running out of time” by anonymous. Each respective composer conveys their interpretation of journeys, evident through Gow’s characters of Coral and Tom, introducing the theme of acceptance.
A journey is a process which allows an individual to experience hardships and difficulties, leading to the theme of acceptance. This theme has been demonstrated through the character of Coral, the mother of a fallen son in war, resulting in her depression and isolation. The events experienced through Corals physical and inner journey is therapeutic by which her understanding of acceptance is shaped. Corals inner journey is evidently overcome in Act 5, scene 1, which reveals Corals renounced sense of understanding and acceptance as she, “Lifts out a handful of shells” (Page 56).
The significance is placed on Coral physically letting go of the sea shells. This action symbolises her ability to ‘let go’ of the skeletons of her past, representing her deceased son. Gow also utilises the symbolism of shells to demonstrate the significance of acceptance towards an individual’s wellbeing. This connotes to the idea of change and allows the audience to understand Corals experiences of struggle and strength to accept the past. The idea of acceptance and moving on is further portrayed when Coral and Roy leave the shells behind them.
The perception of change is further reinforced through the following stage direction in Act 5, scene 1, and “Coral comes in carrying her hat upside down” (Page 65). Corals hat being flipped conveys how there is no need for disguising herself from the world anymore, depicting the composer’s purpose of illustrating the inner journey undertaken by the experiences of Coral. Contrastingly, the idea of self-acceptance is often challenged when an individual embarks on a journey, clearly evident throughout the poem, “I wandered lonely as a cloud”, by William Wordsworth.
Through this physical ourney, an inner journey of self-isolation is apparent. The persona’s failure to move on from his solitude is reflected through his inner thoughts and perceptions, evident through who perceives, “A crowd/ a host of golden daffodils”. Wordsworth personifies a crowd of people to that of daffodils to create a sense of curiosity and interest within the reader. The poet further communicates the persona’s solitude through the lines, “I wandered lonely as a cloud”. This simile is emphasized through the use of repetition in the title and the first line, to identify the personas lonely nature which highlights both his physical and inner journey.
Towards the end of the poem, the personas earlier solitude is now blissful solitudness. Correspondently, the play ‘Away’ by Gow highlights how each character undergoes a journey of self-discovery, hardship, bonding and overcoming the dealings of reality. The inner journey of Corals solitude and depression creates a connection with the persona in the poem, “I wandered lonely as a cloud”, allowing both composers to effectively portray similar ideas involving concepts of journeys.
The concept of journeys can be portrayed when a individual fails to accept the past and move on. Ideas of acceptance are reinforced through the character of Tom in the dramatic play ‘Away’. Tom is a 14 year-old school boy who struggles with his inner journey, as he finds it difficult to accept the fact that he has terminal cancer, he does not have long to live. By Tom covering up his illness and isolating himself from others, it is immediately evident that he does not accept his current situation. As the play progresses however, the theme of acceptance begins to unfold.
Tom finally realises the reality of his illness and through the help of Meg, accepts his current situation. His acceptance is clearly demonstrated in Act 3, scene 5 where, after the storm, Tom wears a Hawaiian shirt at the beach, “Tom is wearing board shorts and a Hawaiian shirt” (Page 41). This stage direction symbolises a new beginning of change for Tom and his parents. Through Tom wearing a ‘colourful’ shirt on the beach, it is evident that he is finally overcoming his barrier of fear and isolation.
The imagery of colours conveys that the storm has passed and things have gotten brighter and better. Through costume and colour, it is undeniable that acceptance is formed. This allows the audience to effectively identify a change in Tom’s journey of acceptance. The composer’s purpose of conveying the theme of acceptance is shaped through the character of Tom. The inner thoughts and perceptions of an individual begin to unfold when the theme of acceptance is evident. The concept of acceptance is evident throughout the poem, “Running out of time” composed by anonymous.
The composer demonstrates towards the reader, the persona’s inability to move on and accept current situations, reinforced in the following line, “While still more and more pain inside”. The composer utilises repetition to further highlight and suggest that the persona is attempting to mask his depression and melancholy attitude.. Through this, it is clear that the persona is undergoing some form of an inner journey of self-isolation. The persona’s inner journey is further depicted through the gloomy tone created by the composer.
Keep hiding behind the smile, pretending to be happy”. The use of the depressing tone symbolises the way Tom is not accepting the dealings of reality and that he is going to die. Tom is disguising himself and hiding away the truth from others, further relating back to how the persona is covering up his illness. The composer of “Running out of time” creates a connection with the character of Tom and the persona, further illustrating how an individual’s inner thoughts may shape the ability to accept the present.