As I read David Malouf's An Imaginary Life, the question I attempted to ask myself and this book is what Dr. Sexson told us to explore: Why is this important to our study of classical literature and our lives in the modern world? The story takes place at the end of the known world around the year 0. Why would we, as classical lit students, care? And how would Malouf have been able to dream up enough of what Ovid was feeling during that time to write the novel?
Well, even before I began reading I knew that even if I didn't know explicity why this book was important it would have an impact on me. Maybe, a few months down the road, the importance of the piece would smack me on the head when I least expect it as I have come to expect from Dr. Sexson's classes.
However, the connections and importance of this novel seemed evident right from the very beginning. We can read Ovid and read about transformations into animals, stars, and sounds and take from them a moral or a message, but Malouf contextualizes the idea of transformation even further. In the story, Ovid undergoes a transformation right alongside the Child. The transformation that Ovid speaks of in the story is very similar to the transformation that we as college students undergo as we grow up. We learn how to survive in a foreign world and without the comforts of home; we learn how to relate to people that we never thought we would; we learn to trust other people and ourselves because, without that trust, we would not survive this world. In the story, Ovid undergoes a personal transformation as the result of his relationship with the Child. Everday, we undergo transformations as a result of our relationships with both ourselves and other people.
The reason that An Imaginary Life is important and relevant to our lives is that Malouf tied all the ideas we have been exploring in class back to an emotional and spiritual transformation, which is a transformation that all humans will never stop undergoing their entire lives.