Discovery can be concisely defined as the recognition of new forms of knowledge that have the potential to challenge our perception of ourselves and the surrounding world. Discovery is a multifaceted concept that takes many forms such as familial, social and physical and influences our personal experiences. Robert Gray’s poems ‘Journey: The North Coast’ and ‘Late Ferry’ explore how physical discoveries can result in a profound impact on an individual’s emotional state. In contrast, Kate Woods’ film ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ discusses how personal discovery shapes our familial and social understandings. Ultimately, the analysis of these two texts enables us to gain an appreciation of the complexity of discovery. Journeys function as a catalyst for discovery and consequently shape our experiences, challenging our perceptions of the world around us. They have the opportunity to completely change our perception of both the individual and surrounding environment.
Gray’s poem ‘Journey: The North Coast’ uses the persona’s physical journey on a train as a framework to highlight how discoveries help change our perception of the world. Gray argues that city life can have a detrimental impact on our emotional state, due to its focus on materialism and commercialization. The persona feels that city life confines people and results in a feeling of claustrophobia. This concept is depicted through the metaphorical nature of the statement “everything done, press down the latches into the case”, “everything done…” portrays the finality of the moment that the persona is experience. The case is a symbol of the restrictive conformity of City life. By shutting the latches, it outlines how the persona is ready to move on and settle down. The poet highlights the persona’s dismissive attitude of the relevance of materialism and city life. Gray illustrates that self-discovery transforms personal experience and our understanding of the world. New journeys have the ability to challenge and shape an individual’s experiences, leading to new perceptions of the surrounding world.
In opposition, to the idea of discovery portrayed by Gray in ‘Journey: The North Coast’, ‘Late Ferry’ focuses on how meaningful discoveries are dependent on exploring the unknown. This is portrayed through the persona realising that they should go on a journey of self-realisation, as they observe the ferry go on a physical journey through a harbour. The importance of this journey can be seen through the quote, “to be lost soon amongst a blizzard of light”. Gray uses lexical choice “to be lost…”to portray the confusion that the persona is feeling at this stage in life. “.. A blizzard of light” can be seen as a metaphor for the unknown. The ferry goes willingly into the unknown irrespective of potential dangers, hoping to experience new things. This encourages the persona to recognise that he should venture into new environments, as they can lead to new experiences. Essentially, Grey argues that discoveries can culminate in sudden and unexpected realisations about the world.
To better engage with this universal phenomenon, Woods explores how personal relationships alter our identities. She achieves this by focusing on a young girl named Josephine’s emotional journey through her teenage years. Woods uses Josephine’s lack of relationship with her father to outline how discoveries impact our emotional state. Josephine is depicted constantly wondering about her father’s whereabouts, as she is continually reminded that he is not present in her life. The lack of relationship between father and daughter is shown through the quote “She’s lying! She doesn’t have a father”. This is reinforced by the way Woods uses close ups to depict the shocked facial expressions and overstated gestures made by the protagonist. Josephine’s emotional journey in coming to terms with her abandonment has had a profound effect on her familial relationships. Basically, Woods focuses on how our relationships initiate and shape major personal discoveries.
Through the analyses of these texts we see that the individual cannot go unchanged after a discovery. The two texts depict how the diversity of discovery can have a profound impact on human experiences. Gray shows how the perception of the surrounding world affects the individual Whilst Woods depicts how emotional discovery can adversely affect familial relationships. Ultimately, the responder learns through these texts that there are multiple forms of discovery and each have a different impact on the individual.