Monday, April 28, 2014

Many Narratives in a Narrative

One significant difference between The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and the other adventure narratives we have read is the main agents level of unpreparedness.  In other stories we have read the main agents knowingly engage in activities they understand to be dangerous. Mountain climbers know the danger associated with mountains and arctic expeditions understand there is risk of getting stranded.  Considering this knowledge the adventurers can adequately prepare.  On the other hand, Augustus and Pym seem highly unprepared.            Augustus and Pym are armchair adventurers who devise a plan to go out on a whaling ship.  However, despite their knowledge of adventures they do not seem to consider the risks. As a result of the mutiny and subsequent events Augustus, Pym, Peters, and Parker are left truly ill equipped for survival in the ocean.  In other stories the crews have had sufficient supplies to last their journey or offer the adventurers a good chance of survival.  On the other hand, those aboard the Grampus are so desperate for food that they turn to cannibalism and sacrifice Parker.            This story also differs from many other adventure narratives in that it details many adventures that are part of a larger adventure rather than a single-minded adventure.  In vertical adventures the goal is to reach the summit. In the arctic adventures we have read the goal of the characters was to escape and survive.  In this narrative Pym’s goal changes numerous times.  First Pym is a stowaway, then he is trying to retake a ship, then he attempts to sail through storms.  All of these adventures have an isolated feel but also contribute to the overall narrative. The narrative could easily have ended when the Jane Guy rescues Pym and Peters however Poe chose to continue and extend the narrative.  

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