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Maiden Voyage Essay

The given passage taken from Denton Welch’s Maiden Voyage starts with a clear and concise statement that brings focus on mainly three details, the first being that the writer is a lively and independent foreigner or in other words, an extrovert, the second and third being that the time is morning and there are two more characters, Mr Butler and Mr Roote involved respectively. Mr Butler clearly warns the writer that ‘foreigners are not welcome here’ and he should preferably stay out of the locals’ way. This tells us that the Chinese prefer being isolated and like mixing amongst themselves. This statement is quite ironic because Mr Butler himself seems as if he is of English origin. No outgoing traveller would like hearing this and naturally the writer doesn’t like being confined between the four walls of the room when he could be doing several other outdoor activities.

The writer also uses strong emotional language such as ‘hated’, ‘fiercely’ and ‘brooding’ to reinforce this. The symbolism of the ‘moth eaten ball and the old tennis racket’ informs the reader that hardly anyone uses the sports equipment. The incredibly rebellious writer vents outs his anger by striking these old worn out balls fiercely against the stable doors. It is this lack of excitement that leads the stubborn writer to trouble. He decides to take matters to his own hands and foolishly escapes out in the country side. Whilst this escape from drudgery is happening, Mr Butler and Mr Roote are so deeply engrossed in their own conversation that they fail to realize that the writer is running away. To the reader, this clearly suggests that they are content not to look outside their own world and have not moved on from this morning’s conversation whereas the writer on the other hand has.

The writer uses mysterious and exotic language to describe the country. The still silence, the hot sand, the ‘stunted bushes’ left the writer overwhelmed maybe because he was used to an entirely different landscape. The grass is tall, tall enough for a person to hide and was also described as ‘rank’ maybe because it had a stench to it and also, the fact that it was as ‘sharp as knives’ made it even more hard as well as dangerous to walk on. ‘The soles of my shoes began to burn’ suggests that temperatures were high, high enough to leave the writer dehydrated and exhausted. The reader is left behind with an image similar to that of that of a dream, a hot dream.


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