Brandon Vanwert 11/6/12 Eng101LecR5 Soma Feldmar Imagination and Reality Rhetorical Analysis The essay “Imagination and Reality” was written by Jeanette Winterson. Winterson is a British writer who was born in Manchester, England. After moving to London, her first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, won the 1985 Whitbread Prize for a First Novel, and was adapted for television by Winterson in 1990. This in turn won the BAFTA Award for Best Drama. She won the 1987 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize forThe Passion, a novel set in Napoleonic Europe. Imagination and Reality” is published in her book of essays, Art Objects. In “Imagination and Reality”, Jeannette Winterson talks about imagination, reality, and art. Throughout the essay, she finds ways to compare imagination and reality and show how they go hand in hand. In order to create art, one must make their imagination a reality. Winterson talks about the notional life and a money culture which is encouraged by the government. She argues that the artist cannot live this kind of life, because the artist works on their own time and money cannot describe the value of art.
The author refers to the late medieval and Renaissance periods in Europe, where artists where much more valued, because the artist was bringing back visions. Winterson believes that art is visionary, rather than documentary, because it allows you to see things that you would not normally be able to see. The visionary uses their own imagination and makes it a reality through art. The author argues that money can buy the painting, but it can’t expose you to the energy inside the painting. Winterson then uses Shakespeare to compare Kingship and the imaginative life.
She then goes on to explain the symbolic man, where people surround themselves with “valuable” objects to create self fulfillment. The artist is actually the one that is most in touch with the real world because they see outside of dead visions. Through an artists work, they are able to see what things really are, stripped of there associative value. Winterson goes back to Shakespeare’s Othello to show that it wasn’t Othello the action man who won Desdemona’s love, it was Othello the poet, the artist.
Imagination and reality do indeed coincide with each other, because without one, you can’t have the other. One who only see’s and doesn’t imagine is a documentary artist, taking everything for exactly what it is. But the visionary artist is the one that can see outside the box, seeing a vision within a vision. Winterson’s main point in “Imagination and Reality”, is that through art, we are able to turn our imagination into a reality. Winterson sets the tone for her essay in the very two first sentences. By asking “What do I mean by reality of art?
What do I mean by reality of imagination? ” This draws the reader in to read the rest of the essay and then finally she gives an answer to these questions in the last sentence of the essay saying, “The reality of art is the reality of imagination. ” The author also puts extra emphasis on the sentence, “The honest currency of art is the honest currency of imagination. ” This means that the value of the final artwork can only be measured by the imagination used. Was it a visionary artwork? Or was it simply documentary?
The documentary artist doesn’t use imagination. They simply copy what they see in front of them. Winterson states, “Art is visionary: it sees beyond the view from the window, even though the window is its frame. ” Whenever we do any type of work we have a basis, a foundation. When writing an essay there is a certain format and structure to follow, which acts as the “window”, and it is our job to go beyond that and add our own thoughts into it. For the artist they must use imagination to create their own reality for the viewer to interpret.
Winterson refers back to the late medieval and Renaissance times of Europe where the artist was very respected, because it was about bringing back visions, not money. It was in Victorian England where artists started to lose there credibility and were looked at as harmful rather than helpful. Winterson attributes our lack of appreciation for art to the Victorian legacy. She states, “We live in a money culture because they did. Control by plutocracy is a nineteenth century phenomenon that has been sold to us as a blueprint for reality.
But what is real about the values of a money culture? ” Winterson is trying to show that just because we have been living in a money culture for a long time, that doesn’t mean it has better values. She believes that its not the artist that is out of touch with reality, but that the artist is actually more in touch with reality than a typical believer of the “money culture. ” “Imagination and Reality” offers many different ways of proving the point that reality is the application of one’s imagination.
Another way that Winterson intensifies her argument is through the use of logos, the means of persuading by logic. The author refers to history to back up her point of view. She talks about in the earliest Hebrew creation stories, how Yahweh makes a clay model of a man and breathes on it to bring it to life. “It is the supreme confidence, the translation of forms, the capacity to recognize in one thing the potential of another…” This event can show that art truly is a reality of the imagination.
There is no limit to art as it can expand as far as one wants it to. Using his imagination, Yahweh was able to give this clay model life and make it his reality. Twice throughout Winterson’s, essay, she says the same exact sentence and isolates it from the rest of the essay both times. She states, “To see outside of a dead vision is not an optical illusion. ” It means that bringing back visions that people don’t think about or know about anymore doesn’t mean that it’s not real.
Just because something has been put to sleep, that doesn’t mean it cannot be woken up. Using imagination to bring back realities is very possible, such as if Russia was to bring back a communist government. People can’t see it happening, but its not impossible. Winterson’s statements, “To see outside of a dead vision is not an optical illusion” and “The honest currency of art is the honest currency of imagination” are the two most emphasized sentences of the essay, being that they are mentioned twice each and also given their own paragraph.
Throughout “Imagination and Reality”, Jeannette Winterson was able to convey her point that we can turn imagination into reality through art. She was able to do so by uses several different rhetorical strategies and techniques in order to persuade the reader. The author used personal experience, history, and Shakespeare’s Othello to back up this main point. She also structured the essay in a certain way to help get her point across. By the end of the essay, it was proven correct that reality is just the application of imagination.
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