Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thoughts on Bachelard's Chapters 2 & 3

Chapter 2: House and Universe

Throughout the chapter, Bachelard makes some interesting references. One being on page 49 when talking about the way that people long for the “poor house” with its simplicity and “bold outlines.” This is something that I have always felt but never really read or seen it brought up anywhere. It is true though, that for some reason the old, poor houses are the more interesting and the old paintings and prints of them strike our imaginations so much more than a newly built house. I believe the reason for this is the fact that the old house stirs up stories in us. Our imagination starts to run wild with thoughts of the people that live/have lived in the house and what their lives are/were like. If it is an old abandoned house with things left behind, we are especially intrigued because we can really start to piece together a story and an image of what the people were like who lived there. It is a comforting environment to be in because there is a certain warmth you can feel in an old house that has been loved already and sheltered people with every day lives similar to ours.

Chapter 3: Drawers, Chests and Wardrobes

When describing a hiding place, Bachelard quotes Milosz, “A wardrobe is filled with the mute tumult of memories.” When thinking about a wardrobe or a drawer – somewhere that you “put” things – I get the visualization of special and important belongings that are usually for your enjoyment. These are memories and belongings that you do not want everyone to see. They are closer to your heart and mind than everything else. If someone else is going to experience these things, then you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable. These memories that we hide in our “wardrobes” may be ones that are painful or they are just so important to us that we don’t want to reveal them. He also talks about the wardrobe not having a lock because locks invite thieves. This is interesting to think about because when a person has a wall or guard up resembling their own wardrobe for their secrets and memories, usually there is no way to see that or tell it is there until you try to get past it. There is not visual way of knowing that there is a blocked territory there - and if there were a way of knowing then people might not ever try to get through the barrier and know the intimacy of another person.

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