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Ability to tell between reality and illusion

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Ability to tell between reality and illusion

Question 1

A persona is a word from Latin that was used to refer to a type of mask worn by actors to depict a particular character. In literature, persona refers to the name or the voice of a specific kind of nature or the narrator. The poem ‘Daffodils’ also known by the title ‘I Wandered Lonely as William Wordsworth wrote a Child’. He wrote the poem on daffodils as he imagined that the daffodils were inviting him to dance and enjoy the breeze of nature in the fields with them while at Ullswater Lake. “The Skylark” was written by Percy Byshee Shelly. The poem was about a small songbird he believed personified joy and happiness; it was Shelley’s first convincing attempt to showcase an aesthetic philosophy through metaphors of nature. It shows a state of pure existence in which Wordsworth considered a complete unity with Heaven. This paper will discuss how these poems assumptions of persona enrich the poem.

In the poem ‘Daffodil’, the poet personifies the daffodils, he says they “A host, of golden daffodils;/ Beside the lake, beneath the trees,/ Fluttering and dancing in the breeze”, And the daffodils remind the persona of the stars in the galaxy as there are thousands of them aligned”, the poet shows the beauty of nature that the persona experiences during his wandering around. In the first three stanzas, the persona strolls around to see the lovely environment and this environment is depicted by the poet’s brilliant use of imagery. Although the persona had witnessed all the beauties of nature, in the 3rd stanza, he says that he wasn’t able to fully comprehend how beautiful what he had seen not until he is sitting on his couch and when he has spare time. The persona doesn’t have the chance to appreciate the beauties of nature until later in the poem. It is through the persona that we underhand how beautiful the environment was, through him, the reader can appreciate the aesthetics presented. Adjectives and nouns are combined with imagery by William Wordsworth to depict the feelings of the persona instead of explaining it and engages the reader’s attention to the theme.

“To a Skylark”, the first five lines set the scene for the whole poem, there is an acknowledgement and a greeting of what the person observes a skylark – isn’t simple flesh and feather at all – it is imaginatively experienced as a spirit, an ethereal entity. The bird is portrayed as a spirit, and this is important because it shows the romantic ideal, which is a critical foundation on which the poet built his poetic psyche. The bird allows the reader into the poetic persona, which is an imagined world that is based on Platonic philosophy and duality, it is boundless and an unchangeable spirit compared with the defective human existence. In the third stanza, “the lark is said to run…it is sliding across the sky” the persona is used to describe part of the landscape. In the fifth line, the persona refers to the spirit that “an unbodied joy ”, the actual bird is imagined as pure emotional joy.

Conclusively, in both poems, the person is used effectively to enrich the themes; for instance, in “Daffodils’ The persona helps bring out the theme of sadness and the beauty of nature. ‘To a Skylark “, song/poem the little bird is used to portray the themes of happiness, freedom and man and the natural beauty. Wordsworth uses the persona to describe how lonely he iS “lonely as a cloud” but the daffodils, through beauty, remind him he is part of something bigger than he could understand.  Through the tone and atmosphere of both poems, one can tell what character the poet has created for himself.                                                    

Question 2

What is real? What is fantasy? How can one be sure of one’s reality? Of all the writers of the German Romantic literary movement (1795-1848), E.T.A. Hoffmann proved to be exceptionally skilled at confusing reality and fantasy. Linking together the fantastic and the realistic, Hoffmann was skilful at keeping his protagonists, and his readers, on their toes. This paper shall discuss one of Hoffmann’s most widely known novellas, “The Sandman “, in which the author successfully blends reality and fantasy in the life of his protagonist, Nathaniel. By doing so, Hoffmann, a Romantic writer through and through, criticizes the values of the Enlightenment and addresses the subjectivity of reality.

One of Nathaniel’s fears is losing the eye, which within the German framework of romanticism was a representation of the fear of losing the ability to know what is real and what an illusion is. It is also necessary to understand the ideas of outside sources that influence what one sees and consequently control what one perceives as reality. The SandmanSandman has several scenes that depict how easy it is for one seeing can control their existence by merely altering what they see, this kind of scenes coupled with individual character’s act as a criticism on the social and scientific Enlightenment. However, Hoffman is keen not to be an extremist by paying much emphasis on emotions and feelings to the whole exclusion reason through characters who give a voice of reason to both Nathaniel the protagonist and the reader. Voices of reason question every event that has occurred in the life of Nathaniel. However, Hoffman still demonstrates how logic and motivation can be positive and at times, even romantic.

At the beginning of the story Nathaniel, a university student writes letters to  Klara, his friend and fiancé explaining to her about his incident with Coppola, a barometer salesman who he almost threw off the stairs since he resembled Coppelius who was his father’s associate. Coppelius had terrified him as a child and Nathaniel feared him to date. Even at his age, Nathaniel still lived in illusions since he compared the two men and believed that they were similar, which was not in reality. He described Coppelius as a personification of the mythical SandmanSandman, from the folk tale told to him by his mother as a child who had instilled fear in him when he was a child. In this folk tale, the SandmanSandman would visit children when it was bedtime. He would then sprinkle sand in the children’s eyes to put them to sleep and bring them pleasant dreams. After the exchange of letters, the narrator takes over the story. Later on, while recounting Nathaniel’s university lives, the narrator takes us back to when Nathaniel met Coppola, it was at that time that he met Spalazani’s his science professor and the professor’s daughter Olimpia. She is scientific automation that is built to act and behave like a real human being. Nathaniel falls in love with the robot but later loses her when he argues with Spalazani and Coppola where Olimpia is torn apart and taken away by Coppola just was Nathaniel was proposing to her. Later on, Nathaniel is engaged to Klara, and after a troubling look through a pocket telescope that he bought from Coppola, he commits suicide.

Conclusively, Nathaniel struggles throughout the story with the lack of ability to tell between reality and illusion. The things that he gets to hear and those that he sees are not coinciding with the explanation he receives regarding his experience. These struggles have a root in his childhood where he often heard announcements from his mother concerning Sandman’sSandman’s arrival, which were accompanied by footstep sounds that proceeded to his father’s study.






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