They Who Use Their Imaginations
Similar to the first half of They Who Do Not Grieve, Figiel continues to interweave the histories of several generations: working to remove the confining elements of time. By doing this, Figiel is able to show us that the past, present, and future actually all exist within the same frame; she is suggesting that history defies the dimensions of time. Through this rather nebulous depiction of time, Figiel allows the characters within her text the ability to travel through their histories. In addition, these characters are given the opportunity to travel along side and even through the other characters that exist within different generations. On page 173, Figiel allows her narrator to distinguish herself from her mother—establishing herself as a “separate entity”. However, despite their physical separation, “the invisible cord [is] still there”(173). Here Figiel demonstrates that dealing with the past may not always be easy, nor desired, but that it must be confronted. More specifically, she believes that an individual’s past—an individual’s history-- is also equally their present. This “invisible cord” serves as a reminder that-- whether we like it or not—we are tied and even rooted in our history.
I also found it interesting that Figiel puts emphasis on the relationship between imagination and reality. Similar to the other authors we have studied this semester (i.e. Wendt, Lewis, etc.) Figiel believes in the power of imagination. More specifically, we see this through her character Panapa. In his story, he explains: “my life was nothing…it wasn’t what I expected out of life. So I dreamt. I had dream that I would come to this country. That I would find a job. That I would live a different life from the life in store for me…It’s been a little rough…It hasn’t been a joyride at all. But still… I’m in my dream. And I hope…that my children will dream another kind of dream”(208). In this moment, Figiel demonstrates that dreams have the potential to become realities. Similarly, on the last page of the text Figiel writes: “That’s what draws her to continue. To move forward…To live in all the confusion of the present, knowing that there are still dreams to be dreamt”(270). I think that Figiel is also speaking to her audience here. She is encouraging her reader to embrace the complexity of their history regardless of if it is restrictive or burdensome. According to Figiel, it is the individual that is in control of their imagination and once they dream it, that dream becomes their reality, their future.