An essay regarding an aspect of Jim's metamorphosis (the character of J.G. Ballard's novel Empire of the Sun)

Essay by NrgticHigh School, 12th gradeA-, March 2004

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"As defined by the board of studies, inner journey relates to journey of the mind and spirit." This particular aspect of journey deals with the exploration of the self in terms of growth, development, and inspirational experiences. J.G. Ballard conveys that the protagonist of the novel "empire of the sun" embarks upon a inner journey of maturity.

The novel, opening from the eve of the Japanese attack on pearl harbour on December 7th, 1941, focuses on the story of Jim, an eleven year old British boy who lives with his upper-class family in Shanghai. When he is separated from his family after the Japanese take over Shanghai, he is forced to cope relying solely on himself. Through the interpretation of the novels content, we come to realise J.G. Ballard's message regarding inner journey. Empire of the sun presents one of the many aspects of inner journey, that is, that in times of crisis our maturity and mentality develops.

One of the many scenes in which Jim's newly found maturity is conveyed is in the scene of the Hiroshima bombing. J.G. Ballard writes; "The light was a premonition of his death, the sight of his small soul joining the larger soul of the dying world." In this scene, Ballard uses the technique of symbolism to communicate his message. The white light is an atomic bomb exploding in Japan. At Jim's present location which is China, he can see the blinding white light quite visibly. However, Jim's ability to perceive the light as a premonition of his death conveys his maturity.

In addition to this, J.G. Ballard also expresses an aspect of Jim's maturity as conflicting interests regarding religion. For example, in the earliest commencement of his inner journey, Jim claimed himself to be a "professed atheist." During his physical journey...