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Wisdom and knowledge takes the poetry from our hearts.
“Two Views of the River” is an essay that depicts the passing over of an individual from innocence to wisdom and how things loose their significance when they cease to be something new, and later on, what we thought we wanted will become something trivial and insignificant in our eyes as we discover what it truly is.
The way Mark Twain said “the language of the water” reminds me of things in our lives, perhaps trades that we are trying to become the world’s experts of.
Indeed, we try to work on our goals and become as great as we could be. We learn every facet of that object, as the river was to him.
Referring to his mentioning of romance, it is comparable to falling in love. When people fall in love, they are in a fantasy world where everything is seen in rose-tinted glasses. Seeing only all the wonders of that world and refusing to see all the bad side.
Once the glasses are removed, you can still remember all the memories and reminiscing all the thrills and happiness that those memories made you feel just as he recalled the way he was when he first fell in love with the river.
When he learned everything he wanted to know, he discovered that what he has found was something worthy but in the process, he lost a part of himself that he could never ever regain nor recapture again and perhaps it is his ability to dream.
What he has found disillusioned him. But then he remembers the way he was and the way he used to view things. All the beauty he once saw has turned jaded. It is perhaps his perspective that changed but even, it makes him sad to realize that.
Maybe, he also realized that he has become cynical, if you will view his loss of passion in relation to life, politics even. He was reminiscing the way he had first seen the river, like someone “bewitched” and in awe of all the beauty that he saw and he said that instead of seeing the beauty of it, he should have seen the harm it could do. But then, he said that he slowly saw the beauty in a different light or maybe, he started to take that beauty for granted.
In life, there are many times when we get disillusioned. We follow dreams and fantasies as though they are the best thing on earth, only to realize later on that the dream was never quite the way we envisioned it once it turns into reality. A lot of times, people get so absorbed in the chase of one rainbow after another to realize what they really want, in much the same way that in an individual’s pursuit of knowledge in his field of passion, they eventually loose their enthusiasm.
There were cause and contrast in Twain’s essay which could be seen in the way he described the river, which differs from the way he described it as someone you would call naïve to his next paragraph, which I would interpret as a man who has gained knowledge and was disillusioned by that knowledge. In view of life, it is like the passing over of humans and learning the harsh facts of life.
The world is still the great place that we know it is, and life is still a precious jewel that matters more than anything in this world. But in our daily lives, we forget to stand back and see the world’s beauty because we have encountered its dark pits, in much the same way that we find life so hard to appreciate because of the irony and unfairness of it.
Mankind was all born idealists and optimists, but eventually, that idealism and optimism is lost as the person goes through the hardships of life. The experiences will teach him a great many things and it will leave him equipped to handle the obstacles that he has encountered in the past and overcome the obstacles of the present. But this will take some of the beauty from his eyes.
Viewing the essay in different angles and in relation to aspects of society and humanity, it is indeed easier to remain innocent and left with our dreams and not know of all the dark angles because knowing can only hurt as dreams are indeed better than reality.
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