I would like to take you through a voyage back in time, turning back the cyclical clock to a pivotal encounter in my existential development- my childhood, the year 2006 if I’m not mistaken, the moment when my mother, in her unorthodox parenting methods, demanded that I, at my own hand, flush my most treasured item that I was so reliant upon, down the toilet- in my juvenile expression, my ‘dummy’. I’m deeply aware of the laughable nature that fashions, however to my infantile self, it was not merely a ‘dummy’ but a portal to my naivety, my refusal to evolve- an inanimate object that possessed such life force over me, devastated when it lost all means of survival. Conflict- a fundamental pillar facilitating our human existence, broadened in nature, practically uncredible to encapsulate within a singular dimension. Possessing a duality of its ability for corruption and allowance of progression, the means in understanding this is through how this is given expression within texts, specifically in Harper Lee’s bildungsroman novel Go Set A Watchman and Toge Sankichi’s poem Shadow emulating humanity’s response regarding the essence of conflict.
The nature of ideological conflict catalyses the impediment of progress and fractures growth. Much like the flushing of my childhood ‘dummy’, its often effortless to succumb to any means of continuation and reject any form of progression out of antagonism. Mimicking this notion, Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman relays the complications arising from progression post conflict as “It’s always easy to look back and see what we were… It’s hard to see what we are now”. The convenience to resort back to the notions of long held beliefs is manifest in the literal language, which signifies to us listeners, Jean Louise’s- the protagonist, difficulty in her growth. The protagonist’s inability to develop through her unchangeable ideologies is evident in the hyperbolic statement as “you will be the same at sixty as you are now”, imagine that listeners, forever being stuck in your ways, ageless in ideals across an aging sequence, sanctioning for progression to be hindered. The juvenile outlooks Jean Louise possesses extends to that of her exterior world as “she would have walked beneath yellow-ringed pines rising to a brilliant eastern sky” denoting the visceral imagery as a resemblance of her youth and naivety, which is figuratively diminished as “[she] blew smoke carefully into the still air”. The beauty of her surroundings is lost within her emotive state as the cigarette, an epitome of destruction, ironically offers a sense of comfort, any listeners attempting to quit smoking disregard that. The wreckage of an environment hindering growth and progression is similarly evident in Toge Sankichi’s poem Shadow entailing the City of Hiroshima’s atomic bombing as it was “bleached by the sun, hit by the rain, buried in the dust”. The negative connotations that “bleach”, “hit” and “buried” evoke, liken to both a literal destruction of a city, and a parallel to the novel, a metaphorical destruction of ‘what once was’ an allusion we all can empathise to, alluding to the lack of hope and progression. The city, although progressing physically, loses all culture substance as the traditions and values become corrupted through the “Atomic Bomb Historical Site” taking credibility as a motif of a tourist attraction site, and not just because of the ‘joys’ that come with an overwhelmingly large group of people (notice sarcasm) as “[people] have their picture taken” in which the inner conflict within the poet, much like Jean Louise’s views on her father and society, didactively exerts immorality impeding any development to occur- much like a ‘dummy’ being flushed down a toilet.
One’s maturation is catalysed despite the exterior corruption of the contestment of preconceived beliefs, sanctioning for progressive succession. Although the ‘dummy’ incident left me susceptible to a refusal upon acceptance, it was through that hardship, and the symbolism attached that I was able to ‘let go’ or should I say ‘flush’ my naivety away and embark upon maturity. This is likened to Harper Lee’s novel Go Set A Watchman as Jean Louise’s progression concerning the awakening of maturity regarding the exterior world and those that dwell within it is evident upon her discovery of her father’s morality as she was “an emotional cripple, leaning on him, getting the answers from him, assuming that [her] answers would always be his answers”. Listeners notice the accumulation conveying her ideological conflict of her awareness of her father’s ethical principles, and an emotive awakening in her discovery of her father being merely a man, I found this authenticity to be stimulating. Progression within the novel is manifest in the recurring motif of the ‘car’ as Jean Louise “was careful not to bump her head”, something we can all fall victim to. The symbolic car denoting progression signifies one’s acceptance into maturity, and her evasion of the ‘car’ epitomises her acceptance of change, about time if ask me. Utilising conflict as a means of growth is similarly apparent in Toge Sankichi’s poem Shadow as “movie theatres, bars, open air markets” denotes affirmative images of civilisation, apologies to any introverts listening, in which the accumulation is followed by “what’s burnt rebuilt” signifying the reality of the bomb, with “rebuilt” likening to that of progression and futuristcal renewance . The poem entailing the aspect of preconceived notions as “wounds of your memories” metaphorically equate to psychological scars of the city paralleling to Jean Louise’s questioning her beliefs on Atticus and equates her ‘memories’ of him to now be that of a psychological scar, apologies to any parents listening. The poem much like the novel indeed gives us hopeful connotations as “finishing a large-scale restoration” projects the diction of “restoration” of a tone of renewance which sanctions us listeners to bear witness to the progression evident. The novel and poem simultaneously uphold refusal to provide conflictual matters authority, I’m a prime example of this, my ‘pacifier’, notice the progressive and maturated differing in term, has certified for my own personal progression thus enabling it attainable.
Listeners, conflict in its abundance of devices, possesses the authority to condemn and hinder progression or catalyses one’s envelopment towards progressive growth, palpable in Harper Lee’s novel Go Set A Watchman and Toge Sankichi’s poem Shadow. Through its expression within texts, conflict can assist in one’s diminish into reluctance or the escalation of one’s self- take it from a ‘Dummy’, don’t mind the pun, merits for your cooperation- until next time.