Journey to the Interior
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The poem "Journey to the Interior" by Margaret Atwood explores an inner journey of the persona using physical journey mataphors. It may also be analysed with respect to Imaginative Journeys.
The Poem “Journey to The Interior” by Margaret Atwood from the Journeys Stimulus booklet represents a stream of consciousness travelling through the persona’s mind. Through this stream of consciousness the persona explores the nature of a metaphysical journey using physical journey metaphors.
The persona’s perception of the metaphorical physical journey ahead changes throughout the poem. At first the hills are impassable, being “welded together”, but as the persona journeys they “open…to let me through”. This change shows that the persona is learning as they travel.
The metaphorical physical journey contains many distractions which draw the persona away from nearing the final destination. The “small details” which are distracting the persona give hints as to the nature of the journey being undertaken which is being described metaphorically as a physical journey. “your shoe…under the chair where it shouldn’t be” conveys the notion that the journey is literally an inner journey where a disruption in the stream of thought would bring the journey to a halt. The idea of the physical journey is still kept here when the shoe is described as being “among the brambles”.
There are many obstacles that the persona must overcome to continue in their metaphorical journey. The recurring image of trees and brambles represent the obstacles. In the first stanza, the persona is "Surrounded by a tangle of branches" then in the second “Your shoe…under the chair” is described as being “among the brambles”. Likewise “A sentence crossing my path” is described as being as “sodden as a fallen log”. In this way the everyday household items which are literally hindering the progress of the inner journey, metaphorically become the objects which hinder a physical journey.
The physical journey may be dangerous if care is not taken. The final line of the poem outlines the dangers of the Inner journey using metaphorical physical journeys images. The persona must "keep my head" as it is "easier...to lose my way forever here, than in other landscapes".