Subconscious and Reality in Illusion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox Essay

Subconscious and Reality in Illusion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox Essay

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Subconscious and Reality in Illusion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Ella Wheeler Wilcox's poem, "Illusion," extensively poses philosophical and metaphysical uncertainties pertaining to the perception and distinction between reality and actuality. Wilcox takes a very original and abstract approach in utilizing hypothetical dialogue with a superior spiritual figure. This unique element vastly broadens the reader's perspective and opinions of its literary value. Wilcox's style also greatly opens a door for a wide variety of personal interpretations and metaphorical intentions. This creative approach is appropriately complimented and enhanced by the visual and concrete description used in the opening line of the first stanza. The line, "God and I in space alone," does not necessarily paint a portrait of one specific location, rather allows the reader to envision and create a setting of their desire. This opening line succeeds immediately at closely drawing the reader's mind and attention into the poem, as if being a truism.
When reading Wilcox's poem, metaphorical reference and philosophical contemplation occur multiple times. For instance, in the opening stanza of the poem, there is an instant establishment of spiritual content and philosophical questioning. Wilcox writes:
God and I alone in space,
And nobody else in view.
And "Where are the people, O Lord," I said,
"The earth below and the sky o'erhead
And the dead whom once I knew?"

Wilcox is definitely discussing a metaphorical meaning in this stanza when she comments to God and illustrates their solitude. This could possibly be insinuating that her personal gained knowledge of life is all that she has ever known to be true. However, it appears t...


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...than one large continues dream of a God. That is, we are nothing but actors in a constant play or dream of one superior being. That said, a sense of nothingness is relayed in that everything is an act of illusion and not reality. The second interpretation being that the conversation is between the narrator and her subconscious thoughts. Possibly implying that each individual's thoughts and physical being are the God. If that were the case then the narrator comes to a realization that self worth and self based principles, free of societal tutelage, are the only aspects that we should take notice. Meaning that everyone and everything around us should not influence our thoughts and beliefs. Implying in a sense that we as individuals should only exist to be existent in ourselves, as well as the outside distractions of society remain invisible amongst the self.

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