the spiritual nature of Dead Man
Germany/Japan/USA, 1995. Directed by Jim Jarmusch,
written by Jim Jarmusch. Starring Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Lance
Henriksen, Billy Bob Thornton, Iggy Pop, Robert Mitchum.
In English, 121 minutes. Miramax.
preferable not to travel with a dead man." Henri Michaux
that follows is based in great part on the above quote that opens
Jim Jarmusch's 1995 picture Dead Man, as well as on the
movie's title. These elements, as well as the opening scenes,
often embody the concepts, ideas or messages that the filmmaker
wants to get across to the audience, in other words, the movie's
essence. In Dead Man, Michaux's words prompts the viewer
to put aside the logical, straightforward narrative arc and look
at the movie from a deeper, symbolic point of view.
phrase contains two fundamental elements: the idea of voyage and
the reference to death. Everything in Dead Man points toward
the notion of journey. The movie sets in motion with a train ride,
charts the flight of Blake (Johnny Depp), a Cleveland accountant,
from the town of Machine to a Makah village, and ends with a boat
ride. The notion of voyage is the foremost theme in this film,
no matter what level of interpretation is being used. The second
theme is death, present in each step of this journey. In Machine,
there are skulls and bones everywhere, man and animal alike. During
Blake's travels through the country, we see death and desolation,
dead soldiers, burning houses, destroyed settlements, a dead fawn.
Blake himself could be seen as Death, as he brings death to all
around him. All the people who come into contact with him one
way or the other end up dead (Thel, Charlie, the trappers, the
men hunting him, the men at the trading post). Even Blake's companion
and guide, Nobody, dies in the end. Some are killed by the hero,
some are killed by other people, some die by accident, but eventually,
all the people that have something to do with Blake die.
travel, Blake as Death, a death voyage, death as a journey, all
these variations on the two basic themes are present in Dead
Man. The narrative arc recounts the journey taken by the main
character towards his own demise. But the metaphoric quality of
Michaux's sentence suggests a symbolic level of interpretation.
On a more abstract level, the opening quotation could quite literally
portend the story. Dead Man then becomes the story of a
dead man, traveling through Purgatory or some sort of afterlife.
As the narrative shows Blake to be quite alive, death is therefore
of a spiritual nature rather than a physical one, a death through
loss of identity or the loss of the 'essence of being'.
William Blake, believes he is an accountant from Cleveland but
is later on declared to be a famous English poet and painter from
the 19th century. His homonym, William Blake (1757-1827) was a
self-proclaimed prophetic poet whose work revolved mainly around
two elements: the Bible, which "represented for him the Great
Code of Art, the total form of what he called the Divine Vision"
, and what he called his Vision or Intellectual Vision, "a
comprehensive story of how mankind fell into its present condition,
what that condition was, and how mankind was to be freed from
all conditions, particularly from the confining context of nature."
These visions were his spiritual understanding of the world seen
"through the imaginative eye." Trained as an engraver,
he not only wrote poems but illustrated them as well. In his lifetime
he created a mythology of his own, based largely on his own religious
and personal concepts of the "Real Man, the unfallen unity
we had been and must become again." Much of his imagery,
his words and his characters appear in the movie, even though
Dead Man takes place some 50 years after William Blake's
death (the movie being situated in the mid-1870es by Jarmusch
). These elements from William Blake's body of work, as well as
the enigma created by his 'presence' in the movie (again best
understood on a symbolic level), provide fascinating clues to
interpret Jarmusch's movie. To clarify matters, the actual poet
will be refered to only as 'William Blake' or 'the poet', and
his cinematic counterpart as 'Blake', 'the hero', 'Johnny Depp's
character' or 'the main character.'
a narrative point of view, Dead Man might appear as an
absurdist tale. An accountant from Cleveland, Blake, travels to
a caricatured West where he is completely maladjusted. He is made
fun of, shot at, and finally hunted down. His salvation lies in
a strange Native American who calls himself Nobody (Gary Farmer).
It is hard at first to see if Nobody is a blessing or a curse,
what with his incomprehensible babble, his expletives of "Stupid
fucking white man" or his clumsy knife surgery on our main
protagonist. But when the Indian discovers Blake's name, he believes
him to be the English poet, William Blake, whose words he has
admired in the past. This is the starting point of a relationship
between the two men. Nobody's purpose (and the point of the movie)
is to bring Blake west, to the shore and set him out to sea (end
of story). Visibly, Nobody is trying to save the main protagonist,
but in a straightforward narrative perspective, it is hard to
understand how this will help our hero. In fact, Nobody is preparing
Blake for a spiritual voyage. He is doing all this so that Blake's
spirit (or soul from a Judeo-Christian vantage point) can return
to the place where it came from. From this perspective, the hero's
soul is what is at stake. Only after redemption can souls make
it into Heaven (unless being a saint whose soul goes straight
to Heaven). One could view Dead Man as Blake's journey
through Purgatory to a place that Nobody calls "the next
level of worlds" or "the place where all the spirits
come from." William Blake offers an interesting, modern interpretation
(for his time) of the place that the main character is traveling
through in Dead Man. The poet illustrated Dante's Divine
Comedy and its visions of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, and although
he believed in these places, he also thought them to be part of
this world, not the next. William Blake wrote, "these States
Exist now. Man Passes on, but States remain for Ever." Katherine
Raine explains that for the poet, "Dante is the Traveler
who explores the 'States'; progressing, as all Mental Travelers
must, from the cave or grave of the hells of this world (where
spiritual journeys begin) through the circles of purgatory (in
which suffering is rendered tolerable by a realization that it
is not without use in the purification of souls), to the world
of spiritual light. In Blake's terms, he traverses 'the circle
of Destiny', which embraces every possible human experience."
In my opinion,
there isn't a better way to describe Dead Man's universe.
The main character does not realize he is 'dead', lost spiritually,
and does not know that he is traveling through this 'state'. He
has lost his identity, his purpose, and his soul needs purification.
No matter what he does or how hard he tries, Blake cannot influence
his environment, and hence his destiny, until he starts to regain
a spiritual identity. His actions are meaningless; he is like
a feather blown around by the wind, unable to do anything to change
the course of his flight. The entire voyage through this shadowy
world, the real world but a symbolic Purgatory, is an unceasing
fight for Blake's soul. In this case scenario, like all other
inhabitants of this place, Nobody is a 'spirit'. He represents
the spiritual ferryman between two worlds or two 'states', helping
Blake go beyond Purgatory, into Heaven, the world of spiritual
light. The people in Machine and its surroundings are all outcasts
of a sort or another, which could be read as a metaphor for lost
souls. These characters are stuck in this 'state', looking for
a purpose. Some are good, some are bad spirits/lost souls, like
Nobody in the former case and Cole Wilson (Lance Hendriksen) in
the latter. One could read the brilliant white circles surrounding
all of Nobody's recollections from this perspective. This early
filmmaking iris technique suits the old-fashioned era in which
the story takes place. The fact that the color is a brilliant
white, the opposite of the usual dark irises, could indicate memories
of a past life or the idea that Nobody has reached spiritual enlightenment.
Another element that points towards the idea that Nobody is on
a higher spiritual plane appears in the scene in which he and
Blake embark on the canoe ride to the Makah village. As they are
floating down the stream (yet another stage in this spiritual
quest), Nobody can see various elements of his past life: a grown
elk, reflecting the time when he was caught by white men just
as he had trapped a young elk; or a scene of destruction and murder,
the same which he recalls in his white-ringed remembrances.
If one considers Nobody as a ferryman between 'states' of enlightenment
and non-enlightenment, then his words suddenly start to make sense,
as do his actions. His purpose is to bring Blake to the sea and
supply him with a canoe, so the poet can cross the water. Symbolically,
the crossing of the water represents the transmigration of the
soul. Blake is on the last part of his journey to deliverance,
or in Nobody's terms, he is going to meet the Great Spirit. Nobody
prepares the canoe with all the ritual elements for Blake's trip,
and especially with tobacco, an important part of Native American
Much of the dialogue in Dead Man, as well as some symbols,
is not very subtle. Jarmusch seems to make a very deliberate use
of this heavy-handedness. Throughout the movie, details and dialogue
bluntly point toward the idea that Blake is a dead man entering
some hellish afterworld, a hideous spiritual desert. The religious
symbolism is of the 'in-your-face' variety while the characters,
events and the western film genre are made into caricatures. This
contributes to the feeling of a surrealistic world.
In the opening
scene, the train driver, covered in soot, throws coal into the
furnace and flames leap out, like an indication of the hell that
is to come, but also a sign of the purification of the soul, in
other words, a depiction of Purgatory. In the next shot, the train
enters a tunnel, which could be seen symbolically as entering
the next world. Once the train surfaces on the other side, everything
becomes strange. Only trappers -the wildest characters- remain,
the scenery shows death and destruction -of wagons, of villages.
The driver comes up to Blake and the hero experiences the first
of many surreal conversations. He asks Blake if this trip does
not remind him of when he was in the boat, thinking, "Why
is it that the landscape is moving but the boat is still?"
This speech contains two indications. The first is the reference
to the boat, the goal of Blake and Nobody's journey. Nobody speaks
of it as the vessel leading to rebirth (or salvation), the canoe
that crosses the sea to the point where sea and sky meet, or the
mirror (a concept that will be analyzed further on). The big boat
also took Nobody away from his people and brought him back home
-physically or spiritually, we are not sure. Symbolically, the
boat is the vessel that allows the transmigration of the soul.
From this perspective, the train driver is already alluding to
the journey into death and rebirth. Moving west is also a symbol
of rebirth and of renewal, so in that sense, Blake has been moving
towards rebirth since the beginning of the movie -except that
he could very well remain stuck in this 'state' for ever, like
the other beings there.
driver's speech also indicates that what is perceived might not
be real. The landscape is moving but the boat is not. Are things
always what they seem to be? This seems to replicate the dreamlike
state that Blake is in. Is Blake dreaming or is he awake? Is this
reality or not? Is he alive or dead? By pretending that Blake
is alive while constantly alluding to his death, Jarmusch maintains
an ambiguity that contributes to the movie's dream atmosphere.
driver refers to Blake's stop, the town of Machine, as "the
end of the line", Hell, a place where one can trust nobody
and where Blake is "just as likely to find [his] own grave."
Dickinson also speaks along these lines when he tells Blake "The
only job you're going to get here is pushing up daisies through
a pine box." It is almost as if everyone is trying to tell
him that death is the only answer. Nobody is especially blunt
about Blake's 'deadness'. He asks, "Did you kill the white
man who killed you?" to which Blake answers, "I'm not
dead!" as if he needed to assert his state of being. Later,
Nobody sees a skull instead of Blake's face in sacred visions
brought on by peyote. When Nobody finally believes that this white
man is called William Blake, he reiterates, "Then you are
a dead man." Blake says that he does not understand, to which
Nobody answers "But I understand. You were a painter and
a poet and now you are a killer of white men." Blake has
lost the knowledge of who he is, he has lost his identity, his
spiritual life. Nobody assigns him a new identity, that of a killer
of white men, who writes his poetry in blood. As Blake takes on
this identity, he seems to revive and transform. Nobody helps
Blake 'see' on a spiritual level; taking the hero's "looking
glasses" away to help him see more clearly beyond the physical
world and earthly concerns. When the Native American first finds
our hero and cannot get the bullet out of his chest, he mutters
"Cut the heart instead, release the spirit within."
But instead of this, the Indian leads Johnny Depp's character
to the path that will bring his spirit back where it belongs -not
just release, but regeneration.
William Blake's engravings and woodcuts bear a resemblance to
the images in Dead Man, especially his Pastorals of Virgil.
A contemporary of Blake, artist Samuel Palmer said of these, "they
are visions of little dells, and nooks, and corners of Paradise.
) Intense depth, solemnity, and vivid brilliancy only coldly
and partially describe them. There is in all such a mystic and
dreamy glimmer as penetrates and kindles the inmost soul."
This mysticism is also present in the film's settings, with landscapes
that seem to parallel or represent the steps taken in the hero's
spiritual journey. Nobody and Blake go from windy hills down to
the dense, black forest, a symbolically tortuous road on a quest
that first leads them into dense, inscrutable bearings.When
the Indian tells Blake about his life, the pair is traveling through
a vale of shiny white birch trees, perhaps a reflection of the
fact that Nobody is a higher spirit. At the bottom of the valley,
Blake must go through a trial (the trappers) that seems to test
his faith in Nobody as much as his will to fight for his soul.
A pouring of purifying rain follows the successful end to this
test. After this, the tandem pass a river, but it is dried up
-the surroundings are not yet providing the cleansing that Blake
needs. The turning point comes when the Native American goes through
his ritual vision and sees the hero's head as a skull. Fittingly,
the crossroads come at night, as darkness precedes the light of
spirituality. Nobody paints Blake's face into a death mask, a
sort of marking of the character's spiritual journey, and leaves
the main character so that Blake can reach his own vision by himself.
The hero finds this vision when he finds the fawn. The dead fawn
seems to symbolize himself; a poor, defenseless animal, shot in
the neck or upper torso. This idea of innocence is also present
in William Blake's poetry, as we will see further in the discussion.
Blake approaches the animal, touches the partially dried blood
seeping out of the wound, then feels the blood of his own wound.
He has reached realization that he is dead and, curling up against
the fawn, one could almost believe he is weeping over his own
passing. He repeats Nobody's gesture and paints his face with
the animal's blood. The mix of bloods shows his integration of
this part of him, the dead, innocent part. Blake regains strength
as he starts to reclaim his identity. He embraces this new self
by killing the two marshals with unwavering accuracy (which was
not amongst the skills of Blake as we knew him in Machine, when
he shot Charlie completely by accident). Before he shoots he proclaims
who he is, William Blake, the poet who writes his poetry in blood.
His quest continues through the forest and he starts ascending
again, through burned trees, death and desolation. After finding
the fawn in the valley, he joins with Nobody again and they travel
through majestic redwood trees, symbols of the knowledge the hero
has just acquired or representations of an more ancient wisdom.
To get to the Makah village, Nobody and Blake must travel on the
river, a sort of cleansing crossing to another level. The Native
American sees his past there, while the hero's life slips away
as his blood flows into the water, another purification before
he reaches the light of spirituality. At the same time, he is
losing his strength again, another sign that he is ending this
phase of his journey. The totem at the entrance of the Makah village
is like the gate to another world. The cleansing continues; as
Blake begins his trip on the sea, rain starts drizzling on him.
As Nobody puts it, "it is time for you to go back where you
came from, where all the spirits come from and where they all
return." This use of water is reflected in William Blake's
original work as well. The mythology of this epic poet, constructed
over the years, draws heavily on the Bible in which water is continuously
used as a symbol of life.
visual construction of the movie creates and enhances the surrealistic
atmosphere. Jarmusch begins with short shots fading in and out
against a dark screen, generating a dreamlike ambiance that evokes
an altered state of consciousness. Little by little, the flashes
grow longer, the dark screen less frequent. The images begin to
blend into a visual thread, as if the traveler was entering a
new world that was slowly taking shape around him. Blake is following
the same pattern, waking and falling asleep, the images entering
and leaving his consciousness as he is awakening to the afterlife.
His environment is becoming odder and odder, the characters surrounding
him stranger (to say the least), the end of the line an outlandish
and frightening place; the stage is set for some sort of supernatural
realm. Blake wakes up after the tunnel, shortly before "the
end of the line", another sign that he is awakening to the
afterlife. Throughout the movie, the visual construction follows
this pattern: the scenes always fade to black and stay that way
for a while, creating a string of vignettes analogous to mind
pictures instead of steady stream of consciousness. This construction
parallels Blake's perception of events, as he continues to fade
in and out of consciousness throughout the movie, his moments
of awareness becoming shorter as he nears the end of his travel
through the afterlife. The idea of vignettes is not very distant
from William Blake's own views. Kathleen Raine writes of this,
"[William Blake's] work, as he believed, represents 'portions
of eternity' seen in imaginative vision," these fragments
being illustrated in the movie by Jarmusch's vignettes. Blake
himself speaks of "ever Existent Images" (
collective archetypal world whose reality is more credible in
our century than it was in his own." Again, we encounter
the idea of the afterlife as being more real than life itself.
And the black screens separating the different moments of the
story almost punctuate the movie, as the white space between stanzas
does a poem.
The way Dead
Man is constructed also reflects the central theme around
which the story revolves. This theme is that of the mirror. Nobody
tells Blake that he will bring him "to the bridge made of
waters, to the mirror. There you will be taken to the next level
where your spirit belongs (
) to the place where the sea
meets the sky." In order to be reborn, Blake must go through
the mirror. As if to underline this, the entire movie is built
as a mirror, the first part of Blake's experience being reflected
by the second part. The pivotal moment is when Blake accepts Nobody's
view of what is happening to him: he is Blake the poet, he is
a killer of white men, he must get to the shore and take the boat,
basically, he accepts that he is dead in some symbolic, spiritual
sense. The brief interval in which Blake is alone is the moment
of truth, when he acknowledges who and what he is, and what he
must do. The two poles of Blake's journey are the villages: the
bad, white town of Machine and its amorality, and on the other
hand, the Native American village, a place of hope on the brink
of the sea, the cleansing spiritual harbor leading to a better
world. The film opposes profit and power to spirituality, industrialization
to nature. Blake will cross both places in a parallel fashion.
The villages are very similar to each other. A long road runs
through the middle of each village, and as Blake treads on it,
he passes people who stare at him. Both roads are littered with
animal skulls and bones, both display people engaged in various
activities (women cooking, men skinning furs, etc.) At the very
end, closing the street, there is the central totem in the Makah
village, contrasted with the Metalworks factory in Machine. But
there is a change in Blake: he arrived alone, disoriented but
sturdy in Machine, and the camera followed him. In the Native
community, he is brought in, still disoriented but unable to walk,
by a friend, Nobody, and the camera pulls back in front of him.
In the beginning, Blake believes he knows who he is; he is strong
and sure of himself. When things deteriorate and events keep taking
a turn for the worse, the hero's confidence in what he knows wears
away and he becomes weaker. Once he accepts the identity given
to him by Nobody, when the Native American paints his face, he
regains purpose and strength. But eventually, the painting on
his face fades away as he nears the end of his journey and he
becomes weak again, as if each passage from one 'level' to the
next involved a loss of energy.
entrance to Metalworks only brought hate and fury, the giant totem
in the Makah village brings forth help that will give him life
-life after death. Similarly, the very beginning of the movie
is mirrored by its ending. The train trip becomes a boat ride;
as Blake arrived he is now leaving, alone, losing and regaining
consciousness, the images waxing and waning. The shootout between
Cole and Nobody mirrors the senseless murdering of the buffalos
from the train.
The voyage itself is double, seen first through the eyes of Blake
and Nobody, then through the eyes of Blake's pursuers. The relationship
between Blake and Nobody and the links between the three mercenaries
seem to be opposite reflections of each other as well. While Blake
and Nobody develop a bond of respect and appreciation, the bounty
hunters kill each other, even eating one another, unable to put
their skills together for a common goal. It is the opposition
of selflessness and egotism. Cole Wilson and Blake also seem to
be a sort of antithesis of one another, two parts of the same
image. Wilson is a murderer with no conscience or morality, Blake
an innocent, too meek to survive in this world. Blake kills by
mistake, but in the end his shooting skills become very accurate,
whereas Wilson is the best shooter in the West as he starts out,
but he misses Nobody when he first shoots at him on the shore
at the end of the movie. Both Cole Wilson and our hero are shot
in the left shoulder during this voyage, one by a Native arrow,
the other by a white man's bullet. Finally, Blake accepts Nobody's
painting ritual as well as his spiritual beliefs, thus embracing
his own spirituality, whereas Wilson refuses any sacred symbolism
(when he sees the head of the dead Marshall in the fire with its
crown of wood, he mutters "Goddamn religious icon" and
destroys it). There is no redemption for Wilson.
Blake also complete each other and reflect characteristics of
the other. Blake starts his voyage as the ultimate white city
boy, and ends it as a Native American, his face painted, in Makah
garb on a boat that will take him on a trip that is part of Indian
spiritual beliefs. Nobody is a Native American that was taken
away from his people and made into an Englishman. He speaks perfect
English, better than any other character in the movie and he recites
William Blake's poetry. Although they wear clothes appropriate
to their cultural belonging during most of the movie, Blake's
face is painted (like an Indian's) while Nobody's face is not.
They complete each other and reflect signs of the other's culture.
Ultimately, that is the most significant meaning of the mirror.
To go through the mirror is to accept oneself, one's reflection.
But we are all human beings, we are all the same; to accept the
others is to accept oneself. It is the ultimate understanding.
In this afterlife, as in life, white man thought the Native American
was less human, different, dangerous. Blake finds salvation through
acceptation of the other. Here the afterlife replicates the world
of the living, as it is but a mirror of how we live.
Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to Endless Night
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light
God appears and God is Light
To those poor souls who dwell in Night
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day."
of William Blake recited by Nobody in the film show how the poet
believed that faith could save even lost souls. To me, these lines
perfectly embody Dead Man's world. The opposition between
sweet delight and endless night reflect the spirits that make
it towards redemption versus the ones that are stuck in Machine.
As in the poem, Johnny Depp's character is led to believe a lie.
But Blake, with the help of Nobody, sees the light, sees that
there is more than physical life. He will be able to leave the
night for the day, leave the afterlife for a rebirth of his soul.
This fits perfectly with what is know of the great poet. William
Blake believed in something deeper than Hell for the sinful and
Heaven for the virtuous. His philosophy of life encompassed ideas
that reached the wisdom of Buddhism: "
I do not consider
either the Just or the Wicked to be in a Supreme State, but to
be every one of them States of the Sleep which the soul may fall
into in its deadly dreams of Good and Evil when it leaves Paradise
following the Serpent." Blake is indeed asleep, mislead,
unaware of the darkness he has lost himself in until Nobody brings
him back to the light.
Much of William
Blake's imagery can be found in Dead Man. Thel, the girl
that unwillingly gets Blake shot, clearly derives from the poet's
"Book of Thel." Blake's voyage in the movie can be interpreted
as a passage not only from dark to light, death to rebirth, but
also as the passage from innocence to experience. William Blake's
early body of work is entitled "Songs of Innocence"
and "Songs of Experience", and indeed, Blake does go
from one to the other in the film. The Oxford Anthology of English
Literature states, "The root meaning of innocence is 'harmlessness',
the derived meanings 'guiltlessness' and 'freedom from sin'. But
[William] Blake uses the word to mean 'inexperience' as well."
Blake arrives as an innocent, well-intentioned young man but ends
up "writing his poetry in blood." He loses his freedom
from sin as well as his inexperience. He cradles the fawn, symbol
of his lost innocence, in his arms, mourning the passage to this
new state of being. But William Blake sees innocence and experience
as "states of the soul through which we pass, neither is
a finality, both are necessary, and neither is wholly preferable
to the other." The passages of Blake's poetry that are recited
by Nobody (and reproduced above) come from a collection of poems
entitled "Auguries of Innocence." Once more, the Anthology
explains this title as meaning "omens or divinations, that
is, tokens of the state of Innocence." Blake's innocence
is shown in his inexperience, how maladjusted he is to this world,
or to the state of experience. He has to undergo the stages leading
to experience, managing on his own, thinking and acting for himself,
and accepting his new identity and shedding the old one, the dead
Blake. Thel, as the Anthology contends, is also "an image
of Innocence unwilling to carry herself over into the world of
Experience." This is why she dies in Machine, an innocent
unable to reach this other state. Like the fawn, she gets shot.
Innocence must be set aside, killed in a way, in order to attain
the state of experience. Ultimately, going through these states
of innocence and experience could be what brings human beings
through the "States of Destiny" to enlightenment. Another
of William Blake's epic poems, "The Marriage of Heaven and
Hell" shows us how the poet sets Heaven and Hell as two opposites
that can be reconciled. He writes that Heaven and Hell are born
together, which is the world that Jarmusch depicts. Hell is Machine
and its surroundings, but in it one finds the seeds of Heaven.
Heaven for that matter is not far away, "where the sea meets
the sky" or one could say on the other side of purification
There is much
violence in William Blake's prophetic poems, poems that Nobody
qualifies in the movie as "powerful words, they spoke to
me." The movie also displays violence, some expressed in
a similar manner, some differently. William Blake writes of flames
and graves, wails and explosions, which is mostly rendered in
the movie by guns and violence between men. But more importantly,
William Blake's poetry is about beauty. Even though Jarmusch shows
us death, destruction and malevolence, this is outweighed by the
spiritual nature of Blake's quest, the purity of his, Nobody's
and Thel's intents, and the beauty of the surroundings. Above
all, Jim Jarmusch manages to convey a spiritual message, as well
as bring hope and beauty to a body of work dealing mainly with
death and desolation. In this, he truly pays homage to William
a World in a Grain of Sand,
And heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour."
- The Oxford
Anthology of English Literature, Volume II. Edited by Frank Kermode
and John Hollander (General Editors), Harold Bloom, Martin Price,
J.B. Trapp, Lionel Trilling. Oxford University Press: New York,
Raine, "William Blake." Thames and Hudson Ed, London:
Rosenbaum, "Dead Man". BFI Modern Classics.