Opening the door to connections between texts

13 Nov

While searching for related material that would link to Life of Pi I came across Miroslav Holub’s poem entitled ‘The Door‘.   I might love this poem!  Actually, I definitely love this poem!

The poem, although written simply, is powerful.  The anaphoric exhortation to “Go and open the door” appears directed to the responder, immediately immersing the responder in the world of the poem.  The low modality “[m]aybe” in “Maybe outside there’s a tree… / or a magic city” and “Maybe a dog’s rummaging…” signals that discovery is often uncertain and that possibilities are, in effect, endless.  This sentiment is echoed through the cumulative listing of possibilities beyond the door: “a tree, or a wood, / a garden, / or a magic city” and  “a face, / or an eye, / or the picture / of a picture.”   Enjambment further propels the poem forward, offering visual and auditory encouragement to go forth and discover.

So, how does this all link to Life of Pi?  If  “the door” in Holub’s poem is a symbol for opportunities to discover, then Pi walks through a number of doors.  In fact, in many regards, Pi requires little encouragement to “open the door.”  This is evident in his interest in religion.  Although he was “introduced to God as a Hindu,” Pi becomes fascinated by, and then adopts elements of, other religions.  For him, religion is the metaphoric “tree,” it grows and changes.  It is also a metaphoric “magic city,” offering him opportunities to explore unfamiliar traditions and incorporate these into his life.

Furthermore, and as described in the poem, not all discoveries are immediately positive.  Again, this is evident in Life of Pi, particularly when he discovers that his ship is sinking and his family cannot be saved.  When he walks through this “door” and makes the heart-wrenching discovery that he is alone, his emotions are foggy.  However, as predicted by Holub, the “fog… clear[s],” revealing a boy with previously untapped resilience and strength.

I cannot wait to introduce my students to this poem and see if any of them are game enough to complete the analysis and build the necessary conceptual connections between ‘The Door’ and Life of Pi.

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One Response to “Opening the door to connections between texts”

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  1. Discovery related texts | Once uPUN a time... - November 13, 2015

    […] ‘The Door‘ by Miroslav Holub (poem) […]

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