Monday, April 28, 2014

Poe's Armchair Adventurers and the Sea's Appeal

Armchair adventurers are mentioned in the first sentence of the preface. Arthur Pym says: "several gentlemen... were... urging it upon me, as a duty, to give my narrative to the public. I thought that this was very interesting because it suggests that people's adventures are received as gifts to the public, which I would not agree is a fact. Arthur Pym goes onto admit that he is not a good writer and thus the task of writing the narrative fell on Poe. It is interesting that Poe felt it important to construct this scenario behind the narrative. In some ways, it seems to be meant to acknowledge the reader. I am eager to see where class discussion about this goes tomorrow.

On another note- I am always fascinated with people's seemingly instinctive categorization of the sea as a romantic and appealing place. I thought that Arthur's urge to be at sea after his harrowing experience with Augustus the evening of the party, was interesting. I suppose this gets at what we've been asking all semester: why sail? I think that reasons to sail include the desire to live on the ocean, on a 24 hour schedule. The striking difference of life at sea as compared to on land allows many people to formulate new perspectives. Beyond that, it often allows for peaceful, solitary nights on watch, under gorgeous stars while the boat rocks you back and forth. However, as we know and as Arthur has experienced, this is not consistently the case. There is a lot of suffering involved for those few magical moments. As far as I have read, Arthur has yet to even experience one....

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