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The Universal Idea of Discovery Through the Concept of Retrospect

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The texts of “Away” by Michael Gow and “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant explore the universal idea of discovery through the concept of retrospect and its association with time whereby our best discoveries are often too late driven by a blockade that humankind places on itself. However time is not the only avenue in which can barricade us form the greatest discoveries, we can achieve greater knowledge by removing the barriers in which life so daringly presents us with, and as these barriers are let down, individuals are able to rediscover their world with new eyes. While both texts both explore the ideas of discovery, the play “Away” focuses on how physical perceptions of a person and their life is the basic assumption of the suffering of others, this leads to retrospective revelations which offer individuals the opportunity to change before it’s too late.

Maupassant’s “The Necklace” likewise explores the consequences assumptions and tries to flee from reality because of the need to survive. However through “The necklace” we discover that the irony of the missing necklace and the stress that they had to undergo triggered growth and change within an individual and their surroundings, assumptions can prove to be more detrimental than cathartic. In Michael Gows text, “Away” we are introduced to the idea of greater self-discovery through overcoming critical obstacles. For the protagonist Tom, he battles to accept his impending death conveyed through his attempts to keep it hidden from his parents “they want me to think I’m going to be as right as rain. They mustn’t find out”.

By overcoming this obstacle Tom is able to achieve self-discovery in realizing his ironic role as the healer foreshadowed at the beginning of the play in “A midsummer’s nights dream”, “give me your hands… Robin shall restore amends”. Ironically it is his impending death, which provides him with greater intuitive in recognizing the precious products of life. We are able to explore Tom’s therapeutic nature through his problematic relationship with Coral. The mini play they put on, “Strangers by the Shore,” is an metaphor of the healing of the soul. Coral’s transition from, “come with me… into the darkness” into the healing light of, “I’m walking, I’m walking, I’m walking, I’m walking” is suggestive of Tom’s ability to bring other characters to a greater discovery. It also is noticeable of the changes from her character in the meta-play then her in real life, as she literally and symbolically begins to walk again away from her grief and sadness from the beginning of the text where she had been so separated from society. In such an act, Tom himself comes to understand the preciousness of his remaining time.

Intertextually, this is sanctioned by his final scene with Shakespeare’s “King Lear”, revealing that he has conclusively accomplished a greater self-growth, as he is able to “crawl unburdened towards death.” Tom’s overall renewal reminds us of the emphasis we place on time in teaching us our notable lessons where we too must priorities what really matters as it shows the great self-discovery of overcoming obstacles.

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The universal idea of discovery through the concept of retrospect. (2019, January 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 27, 2021, from
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