39 pages 1 hour read

Gaston Bachelard

The Poetics of Space

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1957

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Chapters 3-5Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 3 Summary and Analysis: “Drawers, Chests, and Wardrobes”

At the beginning of this chapter, Bachelard draws a distinction between image and metaphor, the latter of which he claims cannot be viewed through any type of phenomenological lens. He speaks out strongly against metaphor, claiming it is a perpetuation of deceit. He does not find it useful to look at a house or the spaces within it through the lens of what they might represent metaphorically. Instead, he chooses to focus entirely on image.

Bachelard asserts that image is born of imagination, and he suggests that image is an occurrence that can only be attributed to being and consciousness. A drawer is conjured in the imagination, and the image of the drawer is placed in a house through the expression of that creative thought. It then engages in the cycle Bachelard refers to earlier in the book; the drawer feeds and is fed by the creative mind. Bachelard asks the reader to consider the image of the drawer and to reject it as a metaphor for categorizing things. The drawer is an example of what Bachelard calls “images of secrecy” (99). Like chests and wardrobes, drawers conjure intimacy, small spaces for daydreaming that are not open to everyone.