Synonyms and Antonyms
Why so many? For the last month or so, I have been giving serious consideration to the synonyms and antonyms within the poem. There are many for such a short peom. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample:
• Just(meaning “right”)/Nigh(meaning “left”)
• Put(as in “push”)/Drawing(as in “pull”)
• Far/Nigh(meaning “near”)
That list, while not exhaustive, leaves few significant words in the poem that don’t have either a similar or opposite word match. Is this coincidence? I don’t think so, it seems more like a theme to me. I’m not entirely sure what to do with this theme, but I have an idea.
Before I get to that idea, I’d like to mention something else. Many have noticed and there are some comments that have been discussed but I’ll bring it up again. Mr. Fenn has a penchant for mirrors and/or reflections. There have been numerous pictures provided by Mr. Fenn that show either his reflection in a mirror, or they are mentioned in a scrapbook and there is even the story Mirror on My Wall in Too Far To Walk . While I can’t say for certain, I am inclined to think that Mirrors/Reflections and Synonyms/Antonyms are related. How so you ask? I’ll explain.
You see, a mirror does something unique when it shows your reflection. The reflection it shows, while looking identical, actually reverses the object. If you are right-handed, your reflection is left-handed. Is your hair parted on the left? Theirs is parted on the right. So in other words a mirror is capable of showing both your identical “Synonym” and your opposite “Antonym” at the same time! It’s you, but it’s “opposite” you. I find that fascinating. If we are all “good” then we all have an “evil” twin in the mirror!
Given the above, lets get back to that idea I mentioned earlier. What to do with our theme and how does it apply to the poem? Perhaps, not at all, but maybe, like this. In the 6th stanza there is the line “If you are brave and in the wood”. I’m going to focus on “…in the wood”. That phrase is akin to the common idiom “We’re not out of the woods yet!” which implies the speaker is still in danger or jeopardy. Logically then it follows that if you are “out of the woods” then you are no longer in danger. If I were to apply my theme at this point the opposite to “out of the woods” is “in the wood.” Logically then “in the wood” implies danger or jeopardy and maybe this is why we need to be brave. Perhaps the chest and treasure lie in a location that many would consider risky at first glance.
But “No, no!” you say. Mr. Fenn has stated the chest is not in a dangerous place (MW:6Q w/FF:Over 5Y of TTOTC;Question #6). He also goes on to state that anyplace can become dangerous. And I submit that his idea of “dangerous” is far different than what someone who is not familiar with mountains and the rivers has for “dangerous.”
I am not the person that asked the most recent Featured Question on the Mysterious Writings website where Mr. Fenn was asked about safe places, but his response and implication that no place is truly safe and his previous admonishments that excursions into the mountains requires prudence lends credence to my understanding of “…brave and in the wood”.
I have tried to not alter the poem, and only use what I found in the poem to try and understand a line. I feel there are other interesting connections to discover using this theme of Mirrors/Reflections and Synonyms/Antonyms and will keep looking and thinking.