Imagination

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The human imagination is a very powerful thing. It sets humanity apart from the rest of the creatures that roam the planet by giving them the ability to make creative choices. The imaginary world is unavoidably intertwined with the real world and there are many ways by which to illustrate this through literature, either realistically or exaggerated. Almost everything people surround themselves with is based on the unreal. Everything from the food we eat to the books we read had to have been thought of by someone and their imagination. The imagination empowers humans.^1 It allows people to speculate or to see into the future. It allows artists to create, inventors to invent, and even scientists and mathematicians to solve problems. J.R. Tolken wrote “Lord of the Rings” by sitting in his backyard and imagining everything coming to life.^2 He thought about all the “what if” possibilities. But this method of storytelling can be used in much more subtle and/or sophisticated ways than in science fiction or fantasy novels. Through such works as the short story Dreams and the novel “Headhunter” by Timothy Findley, the film “the Matrix”, and the short story the Telltale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, one can see how a writer can use the concept of the imaginary invading reality to write their story.
In Dreams, by Timothy Findley, the main characters, two married psychiatrists named “the doctors Marlo”, have a fairly normal marriage. But they are both dealing with professional cases that are invading their personal lives. Mrs. Marlo specializes in autistic children. One case she is working on is that of a little boy who won’t talk, eat or sleep. She grows attached to this child and thinks of him as almost her own son. Meanwhile, Everett Marlo, her husband, is plagued by nightmares caused by one of his more puzzling cases, which results in insomnia. He begins to share his patient’s nightmares and dreams that he is looking through his patient’s dreaming eyes and is committing savage and bloody murders. Findley uses his character’s dreams to show that the imaginary dreams that Everett is having affects his normal, day to day reality. This makes for many plot possibilities that the author could have chosen. But Findley chose to have Everett fall asleep and have Mrs. Marlo discover her husband covered head to toe in someone else’s blood in the bathroom.

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