Liminality In Coleridge's The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

1164 Words5 Pages
What do these three people have in common? A child dropped off for his first day of kindergarten, a girl receiving her driver’s license and a boy preparing to move out for his first year of university. The answer: they have crossed the liminal stage and entered a new phase of life. Liminality, or the liminal stage, a term coined by University of Chicago anthropologist Victor Turner, is the transitional stage one crosses as they pass through into a new stage of life. Ambiguity fills this indeterminate period as one attempts to find their place, role and status at home or in life, all while on the outside looking in. From this outsider’s point of view, many artists have addressed serious matters such as religion, societal constructs and the individual’s…show more content…
In Part III, Death and Life-in-Death play a game of chance to determine the fate of the Mariner. Life-in-Death wins the game, and curses the Mariner to life-in-death, a paradox as life and death oppose one another. The Mariner is cursed to roam the seas, alone and neither living nor dead. This curse signifies the Mariner’s entry into the liminal stage between life and death. In this state of limbo, the Mariner experiences other paradoxes as well, such as the “charméd water [that] burnt alway”, which contributes to the strangeness of liminality, as the Mariner comes in contact with things that he has never seen before (Part IV). The paradoxical nature of liminal stages creates ambiguity and alienation. The curse alienates the Mariner from the rest of the world, and leaves his state of being ambiguous, neither alive nor dead. My turning eighteen alienates me from my childhood, and leaves my role within my family ambiguous. Although legally I am an adult, allowed to live independently and on my own, and to make my own choices, paradoxically, I am still dependent on my parents, and obligated to follow their orders. In this paradox, I am neither a child nor an

More about Liminality In Coleridge's The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

Open Document