Real-life reservoirs as inspiration for literary works


Reservoirs, also known as artificial lakes, have been a major source of inspiration for literary works in Literature for centuries. These water bodies, designed to capture and store water for human use, have not only proven to be essential in meeting our practical needs, but have also sparked the imagination of many creative minds. From the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations to modern-day literature, reservoirs have been a recurring theme, showcasing their significance and influence in human life.

One of the earliest examples of reservoirs inspiring literary works can be found in the Greek mythology of Narcissus. According to the legend, Narcissus was a handsome young man who was cursed by the goddess Nemesis to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. This pool, believed to be a natural reservoir, symbolizes the alluring and deceptive nature of human desires. The literary interpretation of this story highlights how the mesmerizing and hypnotic characteristics of reservoirs can be used to portray human emotions and traits.

Furthermore, reservoirs have been used as a literary device to symbolize power and control. In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, the titular character’s obsession with power is represented by his plan to create an artificial reservoir, which would enable him to control the natural flow of water. This use of a reservoir as a representation of political domination not only adds depth to the plot but also highlights the crucial role these water bodies play in shaping society.

Apart from being a symbol, reservoirs have also been a source of inspiration for diverse literary genres. In his widely acclaimed novel, “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, Gabriel Garcia Marquez draws upon his childhood memories of the indigenous people of Colombia, who built small reservoirs in the mountains to collect rainwater. These reservoirs serve as a metaphor for the enduring struggle of the Colombian people against the harsh elements of nature. Marquez’s use of reservoirs to depict resistance and resilience reinforces their real-life significance and power to evoke emotions.

However, the influence of reservoirs in literature is not limited to symbolism or metaphors. In J.R.R Tolkien’s legendary work, “The Lord of the Rings”, the iconic scenery of the Argonath, also known as the Pillars of the Kings, showcases the breathtaking beauty and grandeur of a man-made artificial reservoir. The monumental structure, built to control the flow of water, symbolizes the connection between human ingenuity and nature’s raw power. Tolkien’s inspired use of a reservoir as the backbone of this fictional world is a testament to the mesmerizing and awe-inspiring impact of these water bodies.

In addition to being a literary element, reservoirs have also played a significant role in shaping the genre of travel writing. Well-known writers such as Mark Twain and Jack London have described their travels along the Mississippi River and the Yukon River respectively, both of which have been dammed to create large reservoirs. The detailed descriptions of these water bodies in their writings not only showcase the writers’ appreciation for the beauty and magnitude of reservoirs but also highlight their impact on the surrounding landscapes and communities.

In conclusion, real-life reservoirs have served as a rich source of inspiration for literary works throughout history. From symbolizing human emotions to representing power and control, reservoirs have been used as a narrative tool to add depth and meaning to literature. With their enigmatic and timeless nature, reservoirs continue to fascinate and inspire writers, making them an integral part of the literary landscape. As such, their influence will continue to shape and enrich the literary world for generations to come.