Self Discovery – The Ultimate Destination for Inner Exploration in Literature

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Self-discovery — The Ultimate Destination for Inner Exploration in Literature

By – Devi Kanchana V, Vol.II, Issue.XXI, October 2016 

The theme of self-discovery is the ultimate achievement in any Literature. The inner journey of the self in Literature reaches the final destination called self-realization. This article deals with the inner exploration of the characters and the changes that occur in their life. Self-realization has to occur at some point in life. It occurs at a young age for some people; during the middle ages for some others and at old age for others. The inner exploration helps a person to identify his true potential to achieve his goal in life. Identity further encourages the self to aspire for the purpose in life. Purpose pushes the person to the reality which is an inevitable fact that the self has to accept and it forces the self to a complete transformation. This is the transfiguration of the soul which in turn provides wisdom for determination and judgement.

Literature is life and humanity. The perception of life is understood by the thoughts and feelings of the characters. The theory focuses on the self and the life of the self. Also, the notion is widened to the society which in turn reaches the people all over the world. Literature is not calculative as Mathematics. It is not filled with equations as in Science. Rather, it is mankind. Thoughts and feelings become the actions of characters. This reveals the true nature of the self. Consequently, the conceptualization of any work is the urge for the power, purpose and the authenticity of life. These notions are the predominant factors that analysed the different periods to state the life of people, society and also about the world.

The journey of self-discovery exposes the moral and monetary discipline of various periods through Literature. It exhibits the physical and psychological dilemmas of people belong to different kinds of societies of all periods. The different genres of Literature reveal the mind and heart of humanity. Values of life are perverted due to economic development. Luxury is seductive for people all over the world. The present generation is in search of identity; it earns more money but values are often murdered. This is due to the circumstances and also due to the power of reasoning that revolutionize the world. The pitiable fact is that values are disregarded for utter selfishness. This can be changed with the transformation of the self which in turn change the society.

The inner exploration is necessary for a better person, life and society. It is vital for individuals to gain strength. People develop healthy and strong mind through their experiences in life. Due to the complicated reasons, experiences and problems, decision-making has become a crucial consideration for people. Literature discusses and describes the circumstances that individuals face and also contributes solutions to the puzzling experiences of life. This article aims at the purpose of self-exploration for life. The goal is to make people think about the life they live; to examine the past and the present and to determine a better future.

Though the scope is extensive, limitations are considered to discuss the various genres of Literature. Psychoanalysis plays an important role in individual’s life as it has become the major problem for people because of the emotional stress they experience in different phases of life. It judges an individual’s behaviour and attitude towards the self and others. It questions whether the transformation is essential for the self. It also asks whether the journey of self-exploration is unavoidable for people. This paper puts forward the reviews of different authors upon the theme of self-discovery. The reviews state that self-discovery endows identity of the self; the wide range of accomplishments and also the limits to live a life of virtue.


Literature reflects the self. The inner exploration of the self exhibits the truth about an individual. Human life is a framework of obligations, goals and accomplishments. Self-discovery is the enlightenment of an individual in the journey of life. According to Aristotle, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Human beings are obsessed with emotions and feelings. These qualities rule over or dominate human mind and heart which in turn close the eyes of consciousness.

Self-discovery occurs at any moment. It transforms an individual into an entirely different person. It becomes the dominant factor and it leads the life of every individual. Literature being the treasure house of knowledge plays an important role in the self-discovery of an individual.

Self-realization is the final destination for a fickle soul. It empowers the mind and heart of human beings and lightens the path to follow; it emerges from within and lit the lamp of consciousness. The ultimate goal of self-realization is to discover the fact about an individual’s life and its relation to the world around them which pushes them to live a life of virtue.

Acceptance and transformation internally are the achievements of self-discovery because an individual is reborn with the inner journey. Success and failure are the two main objectives of any work of literature. A life of reason and perfection begins with self-discovery. It is a dawn on the dark of ignorance; it is a divine light upon the world of fantasy. It is achieved by the characters only through the inner journey.

The important concept of self-discovery is transformation. This is the basic idea that drives the journey of self-exploration. It is wrapped up with notions of power, purpose and authenticity. Literary works bring to light all theories that enable the inner journey of human beings. The key concepts provoke the characters to identify their self, life and the world around them. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the inner journey to gain power. “To be or not to be” is the question that eats him eagerly through the entire play. Hamlet is torn between pressure and expectation as his primary duty is to acquire the power of Denmark. He has to avenge his father’s death, but reality is entirely different. The soliloquies in the drama expose the inner journey of Hamlet. The perception of power is achieved by Hamlet only in the end.

Charlotte Bronte’s novel “Jane Eyre” is the inner journey of life. The novel portrays the experiences of Jane Eyre and unfolds the purpose of life not only for Jane Eyre but also for the readers. Jane Eyre’s expedition unveils knowledge and wisdom that are essential for the journey of life. Shashi Deshpande’s “Dark Holds No Terrors” discloses the authenticity of life. The protagonist Saru alarmed by her husband Manu went to her father’s house. The news of her husband’s arrival inflicted anxiety upon her, but her consciousness of real life overpowered her fear.

Consequently, the concepts evolved in literature unveils a person’s true potential. It encourages the person to follow the path of honesty and morality. Values of life are the concepts of self-discovery. According to the proverb “Art is long but life is short,” long living literature renews the short lifespan of humans.

Humans are fugitives in the world today. The journey of life is not an achievement unless we find the true self that prevails dormant within. According to Rainer Maria Rilke, “The only journey is the one within.” This is the journey that unmasks the consciousness and brings to light the consciousness. When awareness ensues humans turn sanguine about life and its challenges.

“I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready and which have gone a little further down our particular path than we have yet gone ourselves.” ———- E.M. Forster

The narration of thoughts and feelings of the characters contributes to the self-discovery of the readers. Authors employ various techniques to portray the characters. The most admired and famous style is the ‘stream of consciousness’ technique. It is defined as the flow of thoughts in the minds of characters. The reminiscences from the past into the present flows like a stream and it reveals the self-reflection of the characters. This method sheds light on the plot of the novel, which in turn sheds light in the minds of the readers. Reading the thoughts and feelings of the characters escorts the readers internally to the thoughts and feelings of the self.

Life in current world deals with success and failure. There is no mutual understanding between people in personal and professional life. Money is the prominent factor that drives human life. The race for money pushes people into a puddle. The only way to come out of the puddle is the stimulation of the consciousness. It transfigures the mind to the path of virtue. It revolutionizes the mind to realize the self and the real world. It aims not only for success but also for the journey that changes life into something unique.

The predominant goal of self-discovery is to create self-awareness. Self-realization is a remedy to all the vices within the self and the world. It boosts the confidence to face the reality; it motivates the characters to take correct decisions. It enables to confront the emotional and intellectual challenges of the self and the world.

The dilemmas and experiences of life reconstruct the mind, thoughts and feelings of the character. Accordingly, characters should possess virtuous thoughts and feelings. The goal of self-discovery is to bring a drastic change within the self which in turn revolutionize a crucial change in the society and the world.

The prominent purpose is to ignite the obligations that everyone has to rebuild the self, society, and the world. Upbraiding others can be eradicated entirely with the knowledge of responsibilities. Duties appear as challenges during perverse periods. Self-discovery excludes the qualms that control the emotions. It unveils the true abilities. It imparts the love for humanity. It consolidates the mutual understanding among people. The voyage of self-exploration scrutinize the skills for determination. It helps to select genuine pathway and encourages in strong determination. Apparently, choosing ethical values and determined approach brings victory to the self, society and the world.

Consequently, an individual’s thoughts and feelings are Literature. Literature is the mirror and the window. As a mirror, it reflects the self and as a window, it exposes the lives of other people. It empowers the concealed powers. This is the voyage that purifies the mind and feelings, awakens the consciousness and facilitate the way to attain perfection.

The different genres of Literature play an important role in arousing the consciousness of the self. The awakening discloses the genuine nature of the characters. It is a reflection on the mirror. It provokes the characters to follow the psychological path which in turn ignites the inner journey. It augments the conversion of the self. The regenerated thoughts and feelings are beyond the scope of knowledge. It reaches the greater altitude called wisdom.

Knowledge enriches life of the self and society. Wisdom endows judgement with respect to the facts. Assessment of self and society is possible with wisdom. Literature empowers thoughts and feelings of humans with knowledge. The psychological journey of the self-imparts wisdom to lead a life of virtue. Enthralling life holds manifold enigmas.

Experiences empower people. Psychoanalysis of the self-digs into the depth of unconscious awareness. As literature is the mirror, it reflects the thoughts and feelings of the self; it is also the window through which we see others’ life. The reflection in the mirror is not always the desired one. The ungraceful reflection enables to contemplate upon the intellectuality and wisdom.

Observation of the life of others through the window stimulates the quest for wisdom. Wisdom is the realization of truth. Judgement is achieved by wisdom. Knowledge should be accompanied by wisdom. Life is futile without wisdom. The vast literature is the study of knowledge and wisdom. The range of the study of literature and the themes of literature is limitless. The scope is beyond what is expected. Exploration is not expectation. Though the scope is of wide range, the study of a particular theme unfolds the mysterious journey of miraculous lives.

Everything in the world has its own limitations. “Patience has its own limits. Take it too far, and it’s cowardice” —– George Jackson.

Sky is the limit for aspiration. Accomplishing aims and aspirations has become the priority of life. But realizing the limits of the self, society and the world, it must be reconsidered for the better life of the people. The journey of self-discovery exposes the bitter truth that limits and restrictions pacifies people to accept reality. Shashi Deshpande’s novels “Dark Holds No Terrors” and Roots and Shadows” depicts the traditional norms and beliefs of people. It portrays the restraints imposed upon women. The protagonists Saru and Indu protests the limits and choose their lives. Eventually, self-discovery persuades them to accept real life.

Authenticity fulfils the quest for self-discovery and it answers the questions about limitations enforced upon women. Shakespeare’s Hamlet deals with acquiring power internally and externally. Hamlet lacks inner strength which is vital for judgement. Subsequently, Hamlet is in ambiguous situations and is bewildered in considering an appropriate decision. Hamlet achieved power only at the end. Hamlet is well-read and knowledgeable. The limitations in Hamlet are confined to attain inner power which in turn can secure the power of Denmark.

Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” describes the purpose of life. It illustrates the journey of Jane Eyre at three different stages of life. The novel is confined to the purpose of life. It is implied by the portrayal of Jane Eyre. Literature itself is endowed with limitations for exploration. The voyage of self-discovery is endless. Limitations are set to accomplish a significant goal which is the ground for the journey of self-discovery.

The theme of inner exploration in Literature is the topic of this article. This article deals with the journey of self-discovery to achieve power, purpose and authenticity in life. Shakespeare’s Hamlet illustrates power. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre reveals the purpose of life through the journey of the self along with the journey of her life. Acceptance of reality is described through the inner journey of the protagonist Saru in Dark Holds No Terrors by Shashi Deshpande.

The research article “Women in the novels of Shashi Deshpande: An introduction” by Bala Suman discusses women’s quest for identity in a male-dominated society. The author puts forth the fact that the women discovered themselves and accepted the reality after all the sufferings they faced in their life.

According to Paul A. Jorgensen in “Lear’s self-discovery,” Hamlet is a thinker who focuses on the object rather than the posture of thought. It is well-noted in situations such as revenge, morality, suicide, action, honor and guilt. Additionally, Hamlet reflects the ideas such as human nature, lust and self-realization.

Christina J. Inge examines the society in which an economically dependent woman suffers and speaks about the reality envisioned by her. The critic Maggie Berg puts forth the view that Jane Eyre exhibits a society where self-identity was discovered by new and different ways.

Every human being’s way of life is strongly related to their thought process. Literature helps in righteous and positive thought process which enables self-realization in individuals’ to attain perfection and to live a successful life which can be achieved only through the amalgamation of mind and heart.




“Women in the Novels of Shashi Deshpande: An Introduction. “Ed. Suman Bala. New Delhi:Khosla, 2001.

Paul A. Jorgensen, Lear’s Self-discovery (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967).

The Oswald Review: An International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Criticism in the Discipline of English: Volume 1 Fall 1999. (Article 2)

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