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Discoveries

Discoveries can be didactic and intensely meaningful experiences despite


the different forms of events, such as a planned or unexpected
occurrence, leading up to it.
From these experiences, an individual may learn the true human
experience resulting in renewed perceptions on themselves and the world.
In a play laced with magical realism, Away (1986) by Michael Gow and
Doris Lessings short story dealing with racism The Old Chief Mshlanga
(1951) (TOCM), many meaningful discoveries are shown to be emotionally
and physically received from a range of sources.
An investigation into this concept of the different kinds of events will
explore how catalysts instigate these discoveries, the unexpected aspect
from these revelations and the confronting encounters that opposes ones
beliefs, all creating powerful meanings for the discoverer.

A catalyst, whether it is
other people or an inner
emotion, is often the
source for the initiation of
a transformative
discovery.

Deliberately planned
events can deliver
unexpected discoveries
often by presenting the
individual with
spontaneous but
enlightening experiences.

Quote
I do things I
dont
understand. I
have a job I
didnt want. I got
married and I
cant remember
why.
I told her a thing
or two that
helped. Shes
ready to get
back into the
swim, she says
Puck
...the farm grew
too old to hold
her curiosity
Im walking...
Im walking, Im
walking [In her
own voice] Im
walking, Im
walking, Im
walking.
I feel... no I cant
say, I cant tell
you... Those
people
There was a
wide green
valley... a small
river sparkled...
vivid water-birds
darted...
[There was]

Technique
Pronoun
Contraction

Effect
Colloquial language
(informal)
Relationship with Coral

Vernacular

Conversational tone
Friendly nature; offers help
to anyone in need

Intertextuality

Enforces catalyst role

Metaphor
Juxtaposition

Reveals curiosity as the


catalyst

Stage direction
Emblematic

Transition to herself
Shifting worlds

Ellipses
Diacope

Shock and surprise


Emphasise feeling
flustered
Initiation of epiphany
Suddenly discovered
natural landscape
Appreciates the real
beauty

Vivid imagery
Contrast

Discoveries that challenge


ones beliefs lead to an
informed understanding of
reality resulting in a
metamorphosis on their
views of themselves and
the world.

nothing but
trees, the long
sparse grass,
thorn and cactus
and gully...
[The applause is
led thunderously
by GWEN]

Stage direction
Loud auditory
imagery

Emphasises Gwens
reformed views

Im sorry... Im
sorry... Im sorry

Tricolon
Repetition

Tonal shift
Regret

A Chief! I
thought...

Exclamation

Emphasises on disbelief
Natives were inferior

Discoveries can be didactic and intensely meaningful experiences despite


the different nature in the events leading up to it. From these experiences,
an individual may learn the reality of the human experience resulting in
renewed perceptions on themselves and the world. In a play laced with
magical realism, Away (1986) by Michael Gow and Doris Lessings short
story The Old Chief Mshlanga (1951) (TOCM), many meaningful
discoveries are shown to be emotionally and physically received
differently. To investigate this concept in discoveries, the unexpectedness
aspect, the ideas that contradict previous views and the catalysts that
spring discoveries will be explored to observe how powerful meanings are
created.

A catalyst, whether it is other people or an inner emotion, is often the


source for the initiation of a transformative discovery. In Away, Coral is the
catalyst for Rick as he eventually discovers his true inner feelings about
his current life in his small monologue: I do things I dont understand. I
have a job I didnt want. I got married and I cant remember why. The
dominance of the first person pronoun I in conjunction with contractions
dont didnt cant show the informal colloquial language used
demonstrating the personal and emotional thoughts that he shares with
Coral, whom he has grown friendly with over time; the development of
this relationship with Coral drove him to discover about himself. In turn,
Coral undergoes a self-discovery as well, catalysed by Tom. This is evident
in Toms line: I told her a thing or two that helped. Shes ready to get
back into the swim, she says. The conversational tone created by
vernacular phrases used such as thing or two and back into the swim

indicates Toms natural instinct to help others, possibly even changing


their lives as such with Coral. In addition, Tom played as the catalytic
character Puck from Shakespeares Midsummer Nights Dream at the
start of the play. Intertextuality emphasises on Toms role as the catalyst
for change, especially in Coral. Likewise in TOCM, the girls curiosity is the
catalyst leading her to explore away from home that eventually leads to a
discovery. This was expressed through the metaphorical statement the
farm grew too small to hold her curiosity. Here Lessing conveys curiosity
as something that can be held and therefore tangible a means of
demonstrating the size of ones curiousness as great and therefore as a
natural stimulus to grow and discover more about the world in which she
eventually does. Together both texts demonstrate how a particular source
can initiate meaningful self discoveries or informative discoveries in
individuals however this could lead on to further discoveries which are
very sudden and unanticipated.

Deliberately planned journeys can deliver unexpected discoveries often by


presenting the individual with spontaneous but enlightening experiences.
In Away, Coral eventually collaborates with Tom in a play ultimately
leading up to a pivotal moment in her life, as she experiences her
unanticipated self-discovery. It is highlighted in the dialogue: Im
walking, Im walking. [In her own voice] Im walking, Im walking, Im
walking. The stage directions In her own voice shows the transition to
out of character, representing Corals sudden return to reality as she
discovers herself again. Walking is also symbolic of an individual shifting
into a new world, or in this case Corals previous world as she finally
accepts her sons death. Similarly, after unexpectedly learning about
Toms dying condition Gwen has reformed views on herself and others.
She attempts to express her changed feelings to Jim: I feel no I cant
say, I cant tell you. Those two people The use of ellipses demonstrates
Gwens uncertainty and shock from her discovery which is further
enhanced by the repetition of I cant, allowing her epiphany to become
deeply meaningful; Gwens sudden realisation on the importance of
family. Similarly in TOCM, after trekking into unfamiliar lands the girl
suddenly discovers the natural beauty of Africa: It was a wide green
valley a small river sparkled vivid water-birds darted Vivid imagery
of the landscape quickly fills the imagination with movement and nature
which directly contrasts with the girls previous dull and dark views of her
world, expressed by the narrator earlier. Hence in both texts the sudden
nature of discoveries often brings shock and awe leading to changed
views of others and the world.

Discoveries that challenge ones beliefs lead to an informed


understanding of reality resulting in a metamorphosis on their views of
themselves and the world. In Away, Gwen, who previously resents Tom for
being socially lower-class, has reformed views on him following her
discovery about his condition and as a result becomes more accepting and
supportive. This is clear after Toms play in the end: [The applause is led
thunderously by GWEN] Stage directions as well as loud auditory imagery
from thunderously highlights Gwens changed perceptions on Tom, now
accepting and supporting him in contrast to her previous hostility and
resentment; she is now open to everybody compared to her closed-off
personality for the majority of the play. Similarly, Meg has a shift in views
of her mother as she discovers the truth behind Gwens uptight and edgy
personality. After Gwens outburst, short repetitions of Im sorry. convey
Megs feelings of being taken aback and become apologetic for being
naive and ill-mannered. Additionally, tonal shift was used to represent
Megs shifts in attitude from rebelling against Gwen to acknowledging and
accepting her actions for the greater good of the family. In TOCM, the girl
is surprised to discover the chief of a nearby village, emphasised by the
exclamation A Chief! I thought Taken aback and feeling threatened,
the chieftainess wonders to herself whose preconceived ideas has lead
her to assume superiority over the native people; her discovery was
contradictory to her previous ideas. The experience reveals the bigger
picture, how the natives were originally the people of the land and, though
inferior to the white settlers, can also attain high status: a chief.
Considering both texts together, they have shown that the meaning from
a discovery that challenges ones beliefs will often remain with the
individual enough to change their previous views.