The elusive dream vision of Pearl

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The elusive dream vision of Pearl

Post by Nicola Perner on Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:51 pm

At first glance, Pearl, by the author known as either the Pearl-poet or the Gawain-poet, appears to be relatively straightforward. Upon closer analysis, though, it quickly becomes apparent that this is a highly complex and intricately layered poem. This is evidenced by the diversity of interpretations offered by critics of this work, and the fact that these critics seem unable to agree on the poem's central theme/s, message, and meaning. One characteristic is certain, however. Pearl is a dream vision poem. It neatly follows the series of stages that outline the progression of a dream vision poem. In this particular work, the identities of the narrator/dreamer and the maiden/guide figure whom he meets are linked throughout the dream. These paired identities undergo a series of transformations as the events of the poem progress, moving, for example, from jeweller-and-lost-pearl to father-and-lost-child. By tracing these transformations, and providing a close critical analysis of their significance and symbolism, it will be shown that Pearl cannot be forced into a single, one-dimensional interpretation. Instead, it will be argued, it is ultimately a highly sophisticated and multi-layered exploration of questions regarding human existence. 

Key words: 
Paired identity, dream vision poetry, transformation, critical analysis, human existence

Key texts: 
"Pearl." Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Trans. J.R.R. Tolkien, Ed. Christopher Tolkien. Great Britain: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2006: 94-127. Print. 
"Pearl Critical Essays: Pearl-Poet." e notes, www.enotes.com/topics/pearl-pearl-poet/critical-essays. Web. 
"The Dream Vision." Goucher College, faculty.goucher.edu/eng240/dream_vision.htm. Web.

Nicola Perner

Posts : 8
Join date : 2018-07-10

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