An Impressive Amalgamation of Revolutionary Images

Unlike the Apocalypse, which very much encapsulates a sublime, intangible, and personal experience of understanding, Revolution is something that I can readily picture.  Our Earth has bore witness to several Revolutions, including those which occurred in England, America, and France.  Revolution is generally characterized by a rejection of the current order of society, and is often further defined as a scene of chaos, as Edmund Burke describes in his essay “Reflections on the Revolution in France”, “…a day of confusion, alarm, dismay, and slaughter” (11). However, Richard Price constructs a vision of Revolution that deviates greatly from the archetypal image, as he proclaims that the world without a sense of Revolution is in a state of darkness.  He attempts to rally the public as he says, “[Oppressors of the world] cannot now hold the world in darkness.  Struggle no longer against increasing light and liberality.  Restore to mankind their rights, and consent to the correction of abuses, before they and you are destroyed together” (8).  Here, Revolution is depicted not as a tumultuous scene, but rather a glorious one, illuminated by the glow of truth and freedom. To round out this multidimensional image of the Revolution, Thomas Paine presents a salient yet far less impassioned (and in a more matter-of-fact manner) illustration of the occasion.  Although initially disguised under a stoic tone, Paine communicates an intensely radical notion: “Every citizen is a member of the sovereignty, and as such can acknowledge no personal subjection, and his obedience can be only to the laws” (27).  With this notion, Paine creates a personally empowering image of Revolution: a revolution composed of a mass of sovereign peoples.

With all three of these scholars’ ideas considered, the third drawing (and the original winner) can be stamped with the approval of all three thinkers.  The third drawing captures the confusion and alarm that Burke feared (as made evident by the unexplained and unattributed burst of fire and dancing rocks), the figurative and literal (the blackboard) escape from the “darkness” that Price encouraged, and the personal empowerment that Paine expected from the revolutionary experience (visible in the image of the woman, who appears to have this scene of discord happening in her own imagination).

~ by Romantic Fanatic on September 19, 2012.

One Response to “An Impressive Amalgamation of Revolutionary Images”

  1. Romantic Fanatic, your post provides an impressive summary of the three authors’ points, but you fail to proceed past the summary to make a noticeably original point in your second paragraph. Your most original idea is the “multidimensional image of the Revolution.” How could this idea be expanded? Can the Revolution really be defined by an individual, or must it be defined by the collective? Try to provide more than just rationale for your image choice and summary of the authors’ points.

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