Critical Thinking Literature Paper on Invisible Cities: Despina

Invisible Cities: Despina

Despina is one of the imaginary cities described by Italo Calvino in his novel titled “Invisible Cities.” It is grouped under the category of desire. The character in the story called Polo describes the city as being accessible in two ways: by camel or by sea. The person arriving in the city riding on a camel sees the city resembling a ship from a distance and tends to think to himself of all the joys that sailing might bring him. The sailor sees the city in the horizon resembling the humps of a camel that is in motion, and cannot help but think of  all the goodies that camel merchants provide, things that one has no access to in the sea. Apart from describing the desires that make persons see things in a biased way, Calvino also alludes to perception

Different persons perceive things differently depending on their backgrounds and present circumstances. Despina is just a city and Polo, the narrator, explains that both the desert traveller and the sailor do recognize that. Their circumstances cause them to think differently about how the town appears. The traveller by camel perceives the town as a ship that is about to save him from the desert that he has endured for long.  The sailor on the other hand is dying to leave the ‘ocean desert’ for the city that he perceives as a camel that will lead him to an oasis of fresh water and beautiful palaces, where girls will dance for him barefooted. Each seems to admire and wish to be in the situation of the other even though both of them are not satisfied or happy about their present situation. The line of thought adopted by each of the travellers regarding the city is therefore as a result of differences in perception. The city might in real life represent the different perceptions of things that people have.