Yuqin Ge Prof. Joshua November Final Draft 4 4. 8. 2013 Imagination and Reality Individuals live with both imagination and reality. Often, imagination is based on reality and rooted reality. They utilize their imagination to image something they have never seen to fulfill their curiosity or something they are eager to realize. In “The World and Other Places,” Jeanette Winterson depicts a boy, a fictional character, who imaged flying to many places in his childhood. When he grew up, he joined the Air Force and realized the reality was not as fantastic as he had imagined.
In “Bumping into Mr. Ravioli,” Gopnik uses his daughter Olivia and her imaginary playmate Charlie Ravioli, who is always too busy to play with her, to reveal a deeper truth about New York. Gopnik explains how imagination can be beneficial in understanding reality. Gopnik and Winterson both confirm that imagination is beneficial because it can help individuals to develop their identity and to have fun. One the contrary Gopnik contradicts Winterson, suggesting that imagination can also let individuals feel disappointed when imagination can not match reality.
Individuals can develop their identity with imagination. Gopnik confirms Winterson on people can develop their identity through an imaginary sense. In Winterson’s story, the narrator was disappointed because reality was so different than his fantasies in his childhood. He supposed the real places and the people would be like fantasy as he imaged; however, his reality let him down. He lost himself and tried to find a specific answer to his identity, “How shall I live? ” (287) Until one day, the narrator met an old woman in the park, he realized he could develop his identity through his imagination.
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Although the old woman was in poverty, she was happy, “Happy. The kind of happiness that comes from a steadiness inside. This was genuine. This was not someone who had turned away from the bolted door. It was open. She was on the other side. ” (288) The narrator imaged there was a bolted door and the old woman was on the other side from him, because the old woman knew her identity and her expectation clearly. Here, the narrator learned he could not find his identity because he was not satisfied with his expectation from the old woman who was on the other side.
He realized and developed his identity due to the usage of imagination. Gopnik confirms Winterson that Gopnik develops his identity through his daughter’s imaginary friend Charlie Ravioli who is always too busy to play with her. Olivia creates an imaginary friend based on the real world where she lives. There is a big difference between children like Olivia and children from out of New York. Olivia lives in New York which is busy, tight and huge, and the children who live outside of the cities live in a world where they can be free to play and do as much as they want to.
Charlie Ravioli is a typical New Yorker, “fit, opinionated, and trying to break into show business. ” Gopnik notices that almost every single person in New York is as busy, or may pretend as Charlie Ravioli. Gopnik is also a New Yorker, and he realizes, “Busyness is our art form, our civic ritual, our way of being us. Many friends have said to me that they love New York now in a way they never did before, and their love, I’ve noticed, takes for its object all the things that used exasperate them—the curious combination of freedom, self-made fences, and paralyzing preoccupation that the city provides. (160) He realizes that the busyness in New York is more different than before. Gopnik realizes himself as a New Yorker like Charlie Ravioli, and then he develops his identity. Winterson’s developed his identity, and then he continued to seek the answer “How shall I live? ” much deeper through his imagination. Gopnik also develops his identity and he knows himself and New Yorkers well. Both Winterson and Gopnik confirm that individuals can develop their identity with imagination. Gopnik confirms Winterson’s that individuals can have fun with their imagination.
In Winterson’s story, when the narrator was a child, he and his family were too poor to travel anywhere, but they spent time on an imaginary trip in their living room. They used their imagination to fly away to better places such as “Bombay, Cairo, Paris, New York” and escape the reality of poverty that they faced (283). When they reached destination, they enjoyed themselves in their trip. The narrator stated, “When we reached our destination, we were glad to stand up and stretch our legs. Then my sister gave us each a blindfold.
We put it on, and sat quietly, dreaming, imagining, while one of us started talking about the strange place we were visiting. ” (284) Although they had never been to these places and didn’t know the appearance of these places, they considered these locations as amazing places to travel to. The narrator had so much fun flying an aeroplane with his imagination. Likewise, in Gopnik’s essay, his daughter Olivia has fun with her imaginary friend, Ravioli. A paracosm is an extension of imaginary friend, it is an imaginary world.
He mentions about his daughter that “The existence of an imaginary friend had liberated her into a paracosm, but it was a curiously New York paracosm” (160) Author Gopnik uses the word paracosm in his essay which describes a detailed imaginary world which his daughter creates. His daughter has made herself her own little world with her imagination, kind of a mini New York. In this world she lives the life of a New Yorker with a busy life and with friends who have no free time to sit down and play with her.
Although she is unlike the other children who play, have a nap and pay a visit to the Central Park Zoo, “she is too hurried to share them, that she dose have an independence social life, by virtue of being to busy to have one. ” (154) Olivia enjoys herself in her imaginary world, so she is too hurried to share them. Olivia’s childhood is different from other children’s. She creates her own world which based on reality. She enjoys herself with her imaginary friend in her own world. In her site, she regards this imaginary game as fun and she has fun with this creating world.
The narrator had fun in his fantastic travel and Olivia enjoys herself and has fun with their imaginary world and friend. Therefore, Gopnik confirms Winterson’s on individuals can have fun with their imagination. Imagination is a double-edged sword. It can benefit individuals but can also make individuals disappointed. This depends on if it is based on reality or not, Gopnik complicates Winterson’s negative stance on reality. In Winterson’s story, when the narrator was a child, he and his family would spend time in their living room on traveling with their imagination.
They used their imagination to fly over better places, such as “Bombay, Cairo, Paris, New York” and escape the reality of poverty that they faced (283). After years of dreaming of these places, the narrator joined the Air Force and physically traveled to these places he imaged traveling to in his childhood. After all his traveling, he stated, “Bombay. Cairo. Paris. New York. We have invented them so many times that to tell the truth will be a disappointment” (289). After traveling to all these “amazing places,” he was disappointed because he was unable to tell his amily the truth that these places were not as amazing as they had imaged them to be. He was disappointed because he had imaged these places in his childhood with his imagination, and they didn’t match his expectations. Unlike the narrator, imagination benefits Gopnik’s daughter, due to the fact that her imaginary world is based on reality. In Gopnik’s essay, he illustrates how beneficial the imagination is. Gopnik’s daughter, Olivia, has an imaginary friend Mr. Ravioli, who is too busy to play with her.
Gopnik’s sister certifies that children create an imaginary playmate “not out of trauma but out of a serene sense of the possibilities of fiction-sometimes as figures of pure fantasy, sometimes, as Olivia had done, as observations of grown-up manners, assembled in tranquility and given a name. ”(155) This means imagination is not a trauma, is beneficial to help Olivia cognize the reality. Olivia begins to understand how to organize her experience into stories through her imagination.
She created an imaginary friend based on her observation of the adults living in New York. This creation of the imagination is rooted in reality because her imagination can match the reality where she lives. Gopnik’s daughter creates an imaginary friend who benefits her to cognize the reality; however, in Winterson’s, the narrator disappointed because the reality didn’t match his expectation. Gopnik contradicts Winterson on imagination can benefits individual when imagination depends on reality. Imagination is a double-edged sword.
If individuals are able to connect imagination with reality, they will be able to develop their identity and have fun with their own world. But if individuals cannot match imagination with reality, they would be disappointed, just like the narrator in Winterson’s. In Gopnik’s essay, because Gopnik match reality with his daughter’s imaginary playmate, he develops his identity in New York. Winterson confirms Gopnik, because the narrator developed his identity through his an imaginary bolted door. Both Winterson and Gopnik confirm that individuals can have fun with their imagination.
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