Part III: Analysis
Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities proved to be the most challenging, yet most interesting book I have yet had to read in my time here at Loyola. It’s safe to say that I do not fully understand the book, nor do I think anyone entirely could, but that is why I find it so intriguing. A perfect introduction to travel literature, Calvino has proven to me that his story is as rigorous as the journeys both Polo and Khan embarked on – whether physically or mentally. Everyone is going to take something different out of this novel, as it intentionally pushes you forward, trying to take everything in, in hopes of slowly piecing together the past. With heavy emphasis on cyclical patterns, the reader never knows where one enters a city or where one can escape. Although life presents infinite opportunities, our time in the cycle is limited and we must act while we can. Invisible Cities successfully hides numerous life lessons, each requiring multiple journeys (re-reads) to discover. Marco Polo inspires the reader to get out and see the world. To see yourself. To see where you came from, and to never know where you’ll end up next. You can do anything you want; all you need is the ability to dream.
I’ll wrap this up with my favorite quote from the novel. Marco Polo states, “‘if you want to know how much darkness there is around you, you must sharpen your eyes, peering at the faint lights in the distance” (59). Forming slits with your eyes, a shadow falls upon the peripheral and focused is placed upon the brightness straight ahead. Only we have the power to bring darkness into our outlook. The light – the hidden gem among the darkness may shuffle our feet, beginning our journey towards what we see when we shut our eyes all the way. A lifetime of dreams.