Discovery can encompass the experience of discovering something for the first time or rediscovering something that has been lost, forgotten or concealed. Discoveries can be sudden and unexpected, or they can emerge from a process of deliberate and careful planning evoked by curiosity, necessity or wonder. Discoveries can be fresh and intensely meaningful in ways that may be emotional, creative, intellectual, physical and spiritual. They can also be confronting and provocative. They can lead us to new worlds and values, stimulate new ideas, and enable us to speculate about future possibilities. Discoveries and discovering can offer new understandings and renewed perceptions of ourselves and others.
An individual’s discoveries and their process of discovering can vary according to personal, cultural, historical and social contexts and values. The impact of these discoveries can be far-reaching and transformative for the individual and for broader society. Discoveries may be questioned or challenged when viewed from different perspectives and their worth may be reassessed over time. The ramifications of particular discoveries may differ for individuals and their worlds.
“Discoveries stimulate new ideas and enable individuals to speculate about future possibilities”. Michael Gow’s award winning play ‘Away’ (1986) follows the story of three Australian families who are driven together by a storm, as a result of this they discover new people, places and make new discoveries about themselves and others. In his play Gow explores the themes of suffering, regeneration, grief and the healing effects art can have on an individual.
Gow’s done this through his intricate use of theatrical and literary techniques. Discoveries can be traumatic, confronting and shocking; they can lead to the acquisition of a more in depth knowledge of self, others and the broader world; this can conflict with one’s existing attitudes and worldviews, causing them to deject their old values and alter their perception of the world. In Gow’s play the character Gwen learns that Vic’s son Tom has terminal cancer and has little time left to live. As a result of this confronting discovery Gwen revaluates her values which are focused on material and realises she needs to appreciate her family and life more.
This part of the rubric places a heavy focus on inner journeys and discovery. Emotional discoveries often arises from reconnecting with important people or at the achievement of an arduous journey or goal. Discoveries can be confronting because they often results in the reassessment of previous prejudices, assumptions and social stereotypes and provocative as it may inspire the discoverer to undertake new discoveries and even become a different person.
During the play we Coral look at Tom playing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and sees a sick boy. She understands he is sick and others don’t realise this. She also sees a sick boy who is special, “He looks so sick yet so wonderful”. Note this is an allusion to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Coral seems to have mental illness that causes her to isolate herself from others. Her husband is worried.
In Away the character Coral has lost her son in the Vietnam War and is now experiencing grief and distance from everyone. Tom has helped find her identity. We can see this from the following evidence from the play: “I’m walking, I’m walking, this repetition, and tone of revelation, as we can see she has discovered her identity.
Repetition of “what angel wakes me from my flowery bed?” can intertextual reference to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Between Tom and Corals deceased son. “The shadows on his face and neck were like bruises”.
as these new perceptions of herself lead to new perceptions of her relationship with her family and others. The recognition that death is inevitable forces people to discover the meaning of life. Coral is battling with the loss of her son in the Vietnam War, which also portrays a controversial issue at the same time.
Discoveries can be confronting and provocative. How is this statement explored in your prescribed and/or related text?
Gwen realises the suffering of others after her conversation with Vic plus the storm. She starts to revaluate her class prejudice plus her “plans”. She realises her views on the world have led to an unsatisfying life.
Gwen’s initial realisation occurs when Vic, who saw a lost woman in Gwen, suggests a walk and uses the inclusive pronoun “us girls” to provide a gentle approach. Walking is used by Gow as a catalyst but also a metaphor for progress and change. The walk up the beach helps Gwen to realise the elements of life are more important than her concerns over wealth and after being unable to take the BEX powder, she is no longer able to find consolation in such simplistic solutions which implies that Gwen has come to the realisation for more sophisticated thinking. The BEX powder is a symbol for Gwen’s attempt to artificially create happiness. “I want to take it and I can’t”. Gow has expressed the discovery of Gwen as very confronting yet rewarding