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The Celestial Omnibus

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    A Personal Reality Through Faith

    You can do anything you put your mind to, and with no risk comes no reward; two phrases that summarize faith and imagination, the basis of short story entitled The Celestial Omnibus. The Celestial Omnibus by E.M. Forster is about the freeing of ones soul through faith and imagination and though the combination of these the forming of reality. Though seen by some, it is not meant to be taken as a religious text at all, a boys imagination is tested,but not just tested, tested by faith. The story unfolds with a young boy’s curiosity of a street sigh near his house pointing towards a dead end alley stating “To Heaven”. The boy is teased by his mother and father for his curiosity in a street sign located so closely to his house that points up a dead in alley. His parents tell the street sign was placed there as a joke and had no real meaning. The boy lets his curiosity and imagination capture the best of him one early morning and he ignores his parents advice that the alley is a joke with no truth behind its advertisement. He finds himself in the alley searching for what is explained in writhing on the alley wall as an “Omnibus.” The omnibus is stated to leave and return at “sunrise and susnset” with return tickets “which may only be obtained of the driver.” The boys strong imagination brought him to the crossroads of the omnibus. He first observed the sign stating “To Heaven” and allows his imagination to wonder. Why was it there? What did it mean? Was it true? That was not a question, it had to be true, and that faith made his imagination and curiosity, a Celestial reality. This Omnibus, or multi passenger vehicle, also defined as a book holding many novels published separately under one title; moves in silents and seems to only be conjured and understood through faith. Exactly what the boy believes is exactly what he sees his faith brings his thoughts to life.

    Though the boys parents laugh at his curiosity in the alley, his soul actually brings what most people can’t fathom to life. The story goes on to explain the boys adventure filled omnibus ride, pulled by horse and driven by a kind face man covered in a cloak; the omnibus neither made noise nor came form any direction it just showed up in a cloud of fog. Upon first ride on the mysterious omnibus the boy seems uneasy as he forgets his purse and wonders if he will be able to purchase another ticket from the driver. The driver Sir Thomas Browne was born in 1605 and passed away in 1682. He was a 17th century philosopher with countless writings and works in fields of medicine, religion and science and is considered in some circles as one of the most original writers in the english language. Why was he driving the bus? What did he have to do with this boys imagination? The boy is a poetry writer and reader, he is familiar with all the standout authors of his past and present. The boy creates the whole scene by faithfully imagining and making it his reality. It seems that though the rules of the omnibus are very strict Sir Thomas Browne respects the boy and has compassion towards him. This may be because the boys faith is sensed by the driver. In a long complicated rant Sir Thomas explains to the boy why he doesn’t need to pay earthly money to receive a return ticket, but the tone in which he talks is very somber and kind. The boys trust, faith and imagination earn him a complimentary ticket back to his known reality . Through his one day journey on the omnibus the boy is reminded of his family in which he left behind for the day, knowing they will mis him for breakfast and lunch he continues on his one day journey. This shows the boys sense of independence and inner strength. He understands he may need see his parents again but he trust the driver will keep his word and return him at sunset, perfect examples of faith and trust. Through the fog and over a rainbow the omnibus, boy and driver explore another world. A world full of imagination, a world only the boy could completely understand. Sir Thomas the boy, and the horse drawn omnibus traverse a rainbow used as a bridge connected to the climax of the boys imagination. Passing rivers and shouting out “You down in the water” to on lookers connected to the climactic approaching entrance that is suddenly flashed back to the boy being scolded by his mother for explaining his exciting day. Poetry is big part of this boys life as his mother instructs him to bring his poetry books to show his father in the aid of explaining his imaginative nonsense, that an omnibus flew him over a rainbow that very day. Following a dinner party the boys father wants him to explain his non sense to his close friend Mr. Bons who is a poetry connoisseur.

    The man laughs at first but after a show of tears he understands the passion in the boys story. Though Mr. Bons didn’t have full faith he takes a curios step and follows the boy to the ominous omnibus station located down the dead end alley near his house. Mr. Bons was now sharing in a the boys imagination with blind faith. He knows the characters in the boys head but he couldn’t keep up with its settings. Mr. Bons didn’t have the combination of faith and imagination needed to connect to an eternal breakthrough of a reality created through faith. Mr. Bons recognizes the driver of the boys second omnibus ride and is awestricken. This man is not alive anymore, or is he? Through the boys imagination what ever he wants to be alive is filled with life. The omnibus , Mr. Bons, Driver and all three horses traveled the fog of the boys imagination but when it came the bridge of faith which was the rainbow, Mr. Bons could not bring himself to cross it.

    The boy is greeted by the great Achilles on the other side of the rainbow. Achilles in greek mythology is a great hero known to be strong, courageous, and loyal. He was the mightiest of the Greeks who fought in the Trojan War, and was the hero of author Homer’s Iliad. He greets the boys at the gates of his imaginative climax but denies Mr. Bons because of his lack of faith and courage. Mr. Bons doesn’t get to complete the great quest through the boys imagination and is dropped from the omnibus that gallops over the magical rainbow bridge to his death. Faith and imagination kept the young boy alive through his created reality. The alley was but a portal, a door, a passageway through what the boy undoubtedly believed was fact. His belief in a world unimaginable by the average person so strong and complete that he created his paradise. Through the influence of poetry the charters in his created reality were great authors such as Sir Thomas Browne, and mythical heroes like Achilles. This short story points nowhere near any kind of religious argument, all sighs point towards the acceleration of self through faith, and imagination combining to create ones reality. The boy knew there was more to life than what he was experiencing and he stepped out on faith and made a change. He made his paradise by himself, it was his own personal journey Mr. Bons was not prepared for and his parents were not willing to accept, the boy became a legend, the boy became the definition of success.

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    The Celestial Omnibus. (2017, Apr 25). Retrieved from

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