In this passage from Maiden Voyage, Denton Welch portrays a situation in which an adolescent’s rebelliousness has detrimental consequences. Through the use of various literary techniques, he seems to suggest that unfamiliarity with one’s surroundings can subsequently lead to horrifying events. With a deeper analysis of the extract, it can also be inferred that the author is showing the contrast between the orderliness of the developed world and the chaotic nature of the developing world.
Characterization is significant in showing that the narrator’s rebelliousness led to the conflict. By immediately describing the narrator with phrases such as “They would never want to do what I wanted to do,” the boy is seen as stubborn, suggesting a possible reason why he “could stand it no longer” and left to explore the Chinese city. It is because of the fact that he has such a rebellious trait and disobeyed the warnings of others, that the reader suspects that something bad will happen to him. Foreshadowing plays an essential role in setting an ominous mood and creating suspense in the reader, to emphasize the terror that the narrator feels towards his new surroundings. The first line of the passage, “Foreigners are not very popular here,” informs the reader that the narrator is from abroad, and therefore has to be careful about going into the city. By disobeying orders to not “go out alone,” the reader once again expects that something might go wrong, but since it is written in such a subtle way, it does not take away the suspense which is built up over the course of the passage. Imagery further accentuates this feeling of possible catastrophe as the Welch’s vivid descriptions throughout the passage articulate the harshness of the land that surrounds the narrator. From the very beginning of the passage, the speaker’s reference to “a European villa and a line of poplars” which signifies order and beauty, seems to contrast with the Chinese city that lies outside. The...
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