The Beach Literary Analysis Paper

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  • Topic: Utopia, Travel, Traveler
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The Beach by Alex Garland Analysis Paper
There are some travelers who see a “paradise” as their final destination; however, it may end up to be exactly opposite of what a paradise should be. This can be seen in Alex Garland’s The Beach. The novel is about several backpackers, Richard, Francoise, and Etienne, who come together and travel to an island community, their paradise, within Thailand. Ultimately, the story portrays the idea of a utopia-like society taking a turn for the worst and becoming a dystopia, something that the backpackers would not have expected. Throughout the story, the theme of a utopia turning into a dystopia could be seen through symbolism such as the “cancer” of traveling and the destruction that it brings.

“I had ambiguous feelings about the difference between tourists and travellers- the problem being that the more I travelled, the smaller the differences became. But the one difference I could still latch on to was that tourists went on holidays while travellers did something else. They travelled.” (Beach 96.) The narrator and main character of the novel, Richard, makes it clear that he is a traveler. He takes pride in it and believes that traveling is a valuable experience. To contradict this idea, Richard meets a mysterious Scottish man in a hotel who believes that traveling is a cancer and only brings destruction. The man –also known as Daffy- elaborates on his belief by saying traveling is like “‘Living with death. Time-limits on everything you enjoy. Sitting on a beautiful beach, waiting for a … time-limit to come up. Affecting the way you look at the sand and the sunsets and the way you taste the rice. Then moving on and waiting for it to happen all over again. For eleven years!’” (Beach 302.) In short, Daffy is saying that for eleven years, he lived on that beach, and it was like living with death. He also says that a “cure” is unimaginable because bad events would start to occur.

Richard, Etienne, and Francoise’s ideal...
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