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Commentary on DentonWelch - Maiden Voyage (1943).

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Introduction

Commentary Denton Welch - Maiden Voyage (1943) The excerpt in question, from Denton Welch's prose piece "Maiden Voyage," acquaints us with a stubborn boy imprisoned on Chinese land. Being a foreigner it is established that this land is both mysterious and strange in his eyes. From this lack of belonging arises a desire for him to do something, and decides to explore the country side, but only further distress awaits him. The language that is used is both vivid and intense, and a great deal of description is used by Welch to articulate the harshness of the land which surrounds the speaker. Description and emotion in Welch's writing does not cease at merely that of the land, but continues further to enlighten us as to what the speaker is feeling, and how his surroundings affect him. It is established from the very first line, "Foreigners are not very popular here... So I don't think you ought to go out alone," that the speaker is foreign to his surrounding land. ...read more.

Middle

Everything is foreign to him, the "stunted bushes" speaking a language of their own, squeaking and grating "linguistically." Not only is description used affectively to portray the mood and emotion of the speaker but alliteration is also used. "Stunted bushes which squeaked," "Harsh spears of grass stuck." The repeated "S" sound can be likened to that of the sound of the wind. The exotic nature of the words chosen, adds to our perception of the writers surrounding and we to feel the desire to find shade and seek refuge from the harsh surrounds, as the "soles of my [his] shoes burn." The idea of the speaker's "imprisonment" is further exemplified and witnessed in this paragraph. Across the "sandy plain" he sees the city wall's which stand up like cliffs. These surrounding cliff's along with the use of the strong and captive word, "bastions" reminds us of his initial imprisonment and the reason behind his walk into the country side. The "Turrets and bastions" were "ruined" and "crumbling" reminding us of the speaker's new found freedom. ...read more.

Conclusion

"I found myself between high banks," like prison wall's, once again trapped. Freedom is no longer his, and is at mercy of his surrounds, influencing his every decision. As he ran for the city walls, everything around him seems dangerous and horrific, looking for an escape. As he run's he is continuously haunted by the buzzing of the insects, most probably the buzzing of the flies, which once surrounded "it," intent on not running past the head again. Desperation had set in and he knew himself there was no escape now, no doubt haunted by Mr Butler's words from that morning. "Foreigners are not very popular here." It seems that not even a day has elapsed in this excerpt from Denton Welch's, Maiden Voyage, yet so much occurs. Although bored, and unamused at the start he was still safe, engaging in conversation with Mr Butler. The country which was once silent, and in an early-afternoon torpor is by the end tinged by horror. The emotion of the speaker, and the environment that surrounds him is illustrated beautifully by the author and one can almost feel and experience what the speaker is by merely reading. ...read more.

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