Sunday, April 6, 2014

What 'White Death' Seems to be Missing

In the Land of White Death is kind of like the Touching the Void of horizontal narratives, because it begins right in the middle of the action and doesn’t detail all of the preparations before the beginning of the voyage. Although I appreciated this (we’ve talked a lot in class about how that is less interesting than the action of the actual expedition) I think we do miss out on a few important details, like the personal motivations behind the expedition. While in this novel the overall purpose is mentioned, which is to search for whaling and sealing grounds, we miss out a lot on the main character’s personal goals and reasons for going on this voyage. While the reader is thrown right into the middle of the action, two years after the voyage began and right on the eve of the Albanov’s team’s departure from the ship, we receive a very two-dimensional portrayal of both the narrator and the other characters. They appear to be mere placeholders, because even though they represent a person, there really is no description of them individually at all. Although we read the novel from Albanov’s point of view, we get very little sense of his personality through his objective narration. While this novel is a quick and to-the-point read, it is also hard to connect and feel an emotional attachment to any of the characters.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with this and think it's a great point to bring up! We get SUCH a small glimpse into Albanov's point of view and personality and, it could be argued, that we actually get NONE of this. What do you think this does to the book? Does it take away something or, maybe more importantly, what does it add that we don't get this insight into his individuality? I think it depersonalizes the story, leaving readers a little less engaged in the text. However, I don't necessarily think this is a negative thing. Instead, it encourages the readers to dive into other aspects of the text and get their analysis somewhere other than this missing voice and/or information.