To further express the idea that The Child is finally back within his natural environment is the short sentence, “The Child is there”. This is extremely important as it highlights that Ovid now understands the social restraints put on the Child when in Tomis. Ovid realizes that you cannot force oneself to change their culture to suit the needs for others. For he is a wild boy. Throughout the novel, animalistic and humanness and distinctions between the two become a topic of conversation and thought, especially with regard to the Child’s belonging in part to both the animal world (being apparently raised by wolves) and the human world. While Ovid is convinced that the Child is indeed human. However, the boundaries between Ovid and the Child, which they both recognize and acknowledge, are what draws them together, and allows each to learn from the other. And this final passage of the novel represents the end of this learning cycle.
Ovid now understands that the boy is now back into his comfort zone, “I might call to him … to call to him might miss the whole fullness of this moment … the fullness is the Childs moving away from me”. Thus, through his relationship with The Child, Ovid becomes aware of the fact that to become connected to The Child he must come into a greater relationship with the natural environment. This ideal is fulfilled in passage of the novel, where both Ovid and The Child are frequently described as being ‘there’. Hence presenting the capacity of the natural environment to supply unity and insignificance of human boundaries.
And it is these animalistic instincts that are resented yet again through the image o the water in the stream. “The stream shakes out its light … climbs … then balances”. It is these verbs that accentuate how much of an animal The Child is, yet has so many human characteristics. It portrays the freedom the wild boy finally feels – there are no boundaries, no constraints.
The final section of this prose consists of Ovid asking himself a series of rhetorical questions, “(he) stoops to gather – what? … has he already forgotten all purpose”. This summarizes a key theme within the novel – metamorphoses. Once Ovid met the Child, he tried to teach him human ways and mannerism. Yet in the end it was Ovid who was transformed. From a man dependent on human civilization to a man the can live the natural world totally dependent on the environment, “the living and edible snails that are no longer to my life”. Hence, the irony of it all is that the Child taught him these concepts.
Malouf concludes the novel with eh image of the wild boy walking on the water’s light. This illustrates the growth of the boy for every step he takes is a new stage in his life, “he takes the first step off it, moving slowly away now into the deepest distance”. The Child has now developed :slowly” from one stage to the next, “above the earth, above the water, on air”. Thus showing the learning cycles that The Child had, from the constraints put on him in Tomis to the freedom he feels back in his won environment. Whilst Ovid has completed his learning cycle, The Child is just beginning his.
The final paragraph of this passage is the repeated paradoxical statement. It portrays the since the poet has been in this new natural environment he is “immeasurably, unbearably happy”. These two strong adjectives impact the reader in understanding the freedom and satisfaction nature can provide humans. Moreover, it shows the development of Ovid, “I am three years old. I am sixty. I am six”.
By this stark contrast between the age barriers it highlights the physical, and mental journey that Ovid has come one. For now he feels “I am there”. He feels that he has finally reached the place of where he is meant to be, “the point on the earth’s surface where I disappear” – it’s the place where he could never find in all his wanderings, in all his dreams. There was no place like this in his imagination. The true feelings of Ovid are finally expressed in these final three words. This short sentence is intended to illustrate the eventual utopia of belonging and achievement.
Thus, this final section of Malouf’s An Imaginary Life examined the end result for not only the change in The Child, but also the metamorphoses Ovid has undergone. It illustrates the poet’s new outlook on life and the natural environment through the descriptive imagery. Also illustrating the natural animalistic instincts The Child has through the diction and verbs. Hence, expressing that Ovid has ironically completed his learning, for he wanted to transform the wild boy. A key theme – the interrelationship man and his environment – this is depicted through Ovid’s new reliance, not only human civilization but rather nature. Ovid has completed a journey of self0disrovery, leaning how to establish an existence based on the natural world, entering a partly unrealistic and imaginary way of life.