Dark Romanticism In The Modern World

Modified: 19th May 2017
Wordcount: 1943 words

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The label Dark Romanticism is used by people in different contexts to describe gothic novels from the 18th century as well as culture from today’s society. Imagination and mystery are key features in the Dark Romanticism movement. The poem “I heard a Fly buzz” by Emily Dickinson utilizes both the imaginative and natural world’s true colors. Like Dickinson uses dark romanticism in her poems, modern day author J.K. Rowling uses ideologies of Dark Romanticism in her series Harry Potter. Harry Potter uses the imagination as a means to show the mysterious nature of leading to discoveries of the true evil in the world.

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Dark Romanticism authors use imagination to elevate our thinking. They use objects with little meaning and give it a whole image. The death in Emily Dickinson’s poem “I heard a Fly buzz” is painless, yet the vision of death presents itself as gruesome. The appearance of an ordinary, insignificant fly at first merely startles and disconcerts us. But by the end of the poem, the fly has acquired dreadful meaning. Being imaginative gives the will to understand the meaning of the fly. The fly may be insignificant, but the use of being imaginative allows there to be deeper meaning. Dickinson uses the fly as a symbol within her poem: she describes the fly morel role before her death “With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz, Between the light and me” (Dickinson 1). The symbol of the fly is the last thing that comes between Dickinson and the light. The light representing heaven is in her path, but the fly passes right through. Dickinson develops the ideas of death with the use of the simple fly. The usage of the fly buzzing is very critical itself within the poem. If Dickinson were to use the symbol too much it would take away from the moment of focusing on death and cause people to think more about the fly. The fly’s buzz is in the text because it is something a person would under a normal situation ignore, but when you are dying you become more in touch with your senses. The sense of hearing is one of the five senses a person will loose as the process of dying comes closer. The tie in between death and the fly buzzing is one that must be looked at closely. The buzzing is not something that the average living person would notice, but under the particular circumstances, even the smallest of details become noticeable as one dies. As the voice in the poem is painting the picture the reader becomes more intoned to the idea of death through the use the figurative language and symbols, when the voice speaks about the mourners who have gathered, the sound of a fly buzzing and the closing of the window. The mourners watching, “eyes beside had wrung them dry” (Dickinson 1). Within the poem Dickinson uses figurative language to her full advantage. She uses figurative language to assist her in painting the picture of there being a sad moment in time letting the reader use his or her imaginative ways. The usage of the past tense when setting the scene where all the people were standing around grieving was done excellent through the choice of words. When using the word wrung it helps to suggest that the grieving is over for now. The idea of a window being closed is very symbolic in this poem of a person’s life coming to an end. When the window shuts it cuts off all the light to the person’s eyes, and therefore the idea of death is being used. The window in this case may very well not even be a glass window a person would look out, yet instead the lid to the coffin this individual is lying in. Being imaginative is the only way for one to find the deeper meaning behind all the images Emily Dickinson uses. Without being imaginative there is no meaning to the poem at all.

“I heard a fly buzz” shows the natural world’s true colors. Emily Dickinson writes to the reader about what the world holds in her poem. She reveals how the world should be seen. The room is silent except “I heard a fly buzz when I died; The stillness round my form Was like the stillness in the air Between the heaves of storm” (Dickinson 1). There is a moment of expectation. There is “stillness in the air,” and the watchers of her dying are silent. And still the only sound is the fly’s buzzing. The speaker’s tone is calm; her narrative is factual. The “I heard a Fly buzz” poem is a solemn nature, talking about the last moments of one’s life and the simple things that may be seen in the last of memories. It first talks of change in one’s perception, the stillness, comparing it to the calm in the eye of the storm. Life is so busy that one rarely has the time or the want to listen to the small things. Her life is slowly coming to an end “And breaths were gathering sure or that last onset, when the king Be witnessed in his power” (Dickinson 1). Her breathing indicates that the last onset, or death, is about to happen. The last onset is an oxymoron; onset means a beginning and last means an end. For Christians in the world, death is the beginning of the eternal life. Death brings revelation when God or the nature of eternity becomes known. This is why the king may be God, Christ, or death. The thought and description of the last moments of life and the changes that take place in one’s perception are true in the real world. Without them there would be no free thinking or the truth in the world would be unseen. The natural world’s true colors need to be reveled in order for there to be life.

The world in the series Harry Potter is dark and mysterious. Harry Potter’s world is filled with mystery in both the muggle world and wizarding world. When Harry was just a baby his parents were killed by Lord Voldemort, the evil dark wizard who plans to take over the wizarding world. With no parents, Harry is sent to the muggle world consisting of non-magical things. Harry Potter is a miserable, lonely boy. He’s shunned by his relatives, the Dursley’s, that have raised him since he was an infant. He is forced to live in the cupboard under the stairs, forced to wear his cousin Dudley’s hand-me-down clothes, and forced to go to his neighbor’s house when the rest of the family is doing something fun. Harry is treated like a slave by his Aunt Petunia ordering him to “look after the bacon. And don’t let it burn, I want everything to be perfect on Duddy’s birthday” (Rowling 19). His life is full of misery. Harry’s life has been filled of dark, mysterious things. As Harry enters the wizarding world he learns the history of Voldemort. Voldemort sets out to destroy Harry and take over the world. As Dumbledore tells Harry “Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!” (Rowling 510). Voldemort may be the dark force, but he does have a fear of defeat. Voldemort’s defeat happens at Hogwarts. Hogwarts is the stronghold of the series. The most defining aspects of the school are the magic that fills and surrounds it. It is by far one of the most mystical and fantastical geographic locations in the book. Hogwarts is a mystery itself, full of ghosts, hidden chambers, and secret passages. Hogwarts sometimes takes on a life of its own, when it produces the Room of Requirement, or moves entrances and exits at its will. Although most of the seventh book takes places outside the school, it is here that the final battle between Harry and Lord Voldemort takes places. The climax of the series, in its entirety, returns to the only home Harry has ever known as well as Voldermort. At Hogwarts, Harry finally defeats Lord Voldemort in a dramatic wizarding duel that results with the demise of the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord that has caused all the terror in the wizarding world is finally gone.

To create the world of Harry Potter, imagination plays a big role. Rowling is responsible for creating some of the most mind-blowing elements of fantasy found in literature. One of the most enchanting aspects of the novels is the wide variety of magical places that Rowling visits with her readers as we follow Harry Potter on his journey to leave the muggle world behind and grow up in the wizarding world. Starting in London, Rowling places Harry at Charing Cross Road, an actual street in London that runs north from Trafalgar Square to St. Giles’ Circus. In the first novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hagrid and Harry travel to this particular street to reach the Leaky Cauldron, a pub and inn that is in between a large book store and record shop. At first glance, the building appears to be relatively normal. As J.K. Rowling states in the first novel “Harry had the most peculiar feeling that only he and Hagrid could see it” (Rowling 68). It has food and drinks and rooms that overlook Charing Cross Road. Everything a person might expect to find at a normal inn with the exception that the building is invisible to a large portion of those people, specifically muggles. Imperceptible to non-magical individuals, the Leaky Cauldron serves as a magical portal that links the muggle world to the magical one. It is here, at the Leaky Caldron, that Harry Potter gets his first taste of celebrity. Exiting the Leaky Cauldron, Hagrid and Harry find themselves at a brick wall that when tapped on opens to Diagon Alley. Diagon Alley, a magical street of the wizarding world, is hidden within London that can be accessed off of Charing Cross Road, as well as through the Floo Network and Apparition. The journey continues at King’s Cross Station in London. Harry searches amongst the muggles for Platform 9 3/4 and the train that will depart from it. Inquiring as to where he might find this train that is scheduled for departure, Harry is informed by a guard “there wasn’t one” (Rowling 91), thereby leaving the tracks available for magical use and, once again, revealing Rowling’s transposition of the magical and muggle worlds. Harry’s journey to enrollment is finished when he finally arrives at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. To muggles, the institution appears to be a moldering old ruin with a sign over the entrance warning visitors to stay out. Without imagination this serious would be incomplete. Imagination is the center for it all. Rowling uses her imagination to open up a whole new world for the reader. The world is unrealistic, but that is what makes the series Harry Potter open up and take a person’s imagination to new heights.

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Dickinson and Rowling are from different time periods, but their ideologies are the same. Both are wrapped up in the Dark Romanticism movement. Rowling uses principles of Dark Romanticism, like imagination and showing how the world is dark and mysterious, today just as Dickinson used back in 1830. J.K. Rowling’s series Harry Potter creates an everlasting belief in a world that is not normal and usual. The mind and imagination is explored to the highest of levels which excites and thrills. For that brief period in time, there is true belief in the unreal and impossible. Without Dark Romanticism or authors like Dickinson, there may never have been Harry Potter.


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