Essay Example on Often imagination is used to lessen tension in Daily Lives








Often imagination is used to lessen tension in daily lives like imagining a vacation to the beach when a stressful deadline approaches Imagination works much the same in fiction often lowering the tension in dramatic sequences The fictional world of The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 is similar to the real world in its inclusion of imaginative elements particularly those of its younger cast and these moments often occur in tense moments leaning close to tragedy However I argue that these imaginative elements in moments of tragedy instead of lessening tension as imagination usually does serve to strengthen the tension by creating almost tangible elements in what would have been purely psychological moments One major moment of tragedy which utilizes imaginative elements to heighten the tension is when Kenny almost drowns in the water at Collier's Landing As the whirlpool threatens to pull him lower and lower under the water Kenny imagines the Wool Pooh creature Byron had told him about He sees something big and gray with hard square looking fingers that has no face and no eyes 176 The reader understands what Kenny sees is not real the figure s facelessness and square looking fingers suggest something humanoid but not quite human Although the Wool Pooh is not real to the reader it is real to Kenny and it serves as a tangible figure for him to fight against as he struggles to break free from the whirlpool This image serves to increase the tension in the potentially tragic moment when the figure reaches and grabs Kenny and he physically struggles against it The tension increases because the physical aspect of the fight gives the reader hope Kenny can fight his way out of the Wool Pooh s grasp and by default also escape the whirlpool There is another imaginative moment during the drowning scene which also raises the tension while giving the reader hope for Kenny s safety As the Wool Pooh Kenny envisions drags him deeper Kenny imagines an angel specifically his sister Joetta looking just like the angel Mrs Davidson had given her 177 The imaginative element has its roots in the truth Kenny sees an angel based from the most recent angel image he has seen

However he sees his sister as the angel which raises the tension initially because the reader could question if Joetta really is in the water with him After all she is a little girl and could have followed him after he went to the landing on his own The angel also adds tension because it suggests the idea Kenny may already be dead for religious people such as Kenny seeing an angel is often a symbol of the afterlife The imagined angel signals upwards at Kenny and he follows its advice breaking through the water and crying for help Luckily this imaginative moment for Kenny helps save his life as the angel s advice helps Byron locate and rescue his brother A third and final imaginative moment during tragedy in The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 is Joetta s vision of Kenny just before the church bombing Before the bombing Joetta saw Kenny laughing and running in front of her yet he had on different clothes 189 The reader understands from the clothing detail of Joetta s vision of Kenny as well as the fact the reader knows Kenny s location just before the bombing that her vision was imagined and not the real Kenny However this vision heightens the tension in the moment just before the bomb went off even though the reader does not learn of her vision until after the bombing The imagined Kenny serves as a tangible representation of fate had Joetta not chosen to follow the vision of her brother and instead remained in the church she likely would have died Instead this strange image of Kenny lead her away from the church and back home where she was safe v

One reading of this imaginative element in a moment of tragedy could have it distract from the tragic event but instead it shows how easily Joetta could have been like the four girls who died in Birmingham and how little things can change the entire turn of events In this way Joetta s imagination strengthens the intensity of the moment before the bomb went off Children's literature is often full of imaginative elements since children themselves often live their lives full of imagination In moments of tragedy imagination can quickly ease the tension of a situation The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 however uses imagination in fictional yet realistic tragic moments in a way that increases the tension The imaginative elements create pseudo tangible existences that intensify the potential tragedy as shown by Kenny s Wool Pooh the angel he saw and Joetta s vision of Kenny just before the church bomb went off Through these imaginative moments Christopher Paul Curtis effectively included tragic elements in his novel without making them graphic and relaying them in a way children can understand as well as using the children's imaginations as a method to make a tense situation even more so

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