Monday, March 31, 2014

A Naturalist Narrator

I enjoyed hearing this story through Erasmus’s eyes, but I wondered about the lives of the women left behind, and I think that was Barnett’s intention. The women must stay at home and wait for exploration to happen without them, and it is a shame that we do not get to hear their perspective more because the story is mainly told through Erasmus’s eyes. Erasmus says, “If I drew that scene I’d show everything happening at once…But when I describe it in words one thing follows another and everything’s shaped by my single pair of eyes, my single voice.” It is interesting that Erasmus notes his own bias and then goes on to reflect on the variety of perspectives inherent in this artic exploration. “I wish I could show it as if through a fan of eyes. Widening out from my single perspective to several viewpoints, then many, so the whole picture might appeal and not just my version of it.” Erasmus, as a naturalist, presents a certain view of the world. He is able to see beauty in disaster and appreciate the world around him. The characters in the novel reflect real characters we have read about this semester and their different perspectives on adventure.

1 comment:

  1. I was also drawn towards the parts narrated by Alexandra. Barrett includes many armchair adventures. There is the mass of people who read all the publications and watch Kane's funeral procession. There are Erasmus' brothers and the families of the crew members who have more information direct from people on the voyage. Then you have Alexandra and Copernicus who learn even more and then choose to become involved in the adventure that is Erasmus' life. Barrett seems to not view any of the levels of armchair adventurers in a negative light. The largest difference I see portrayed is their interest in being a part of adventure and in seeking the truth. In particular Lavinia is portrayed as a woman waiting for her lover to return to her while Alexandra is portrayed as a woman waiting to hear all about the exploration.