SFU English 101: The Innocent Traveller

Thursday, April 07, 2005

End Paragraph

I think that the end paragraph is an example of foreshadowing as well as eludes furthermore towards the general theme of the novel.

“And the wind was blowing, too, among the great undiscovered pine trees in the yet unnamed place far away where some day Topaz Edgeworth would live and die.” (page 39)

It is marking her place within eternity. This sentence in particular reminded me of the lecture, where we discussed about how Topaz was this little point on the curtain of time. It also touched on the young Vancouver:

“In this place Topaz would some day write and receive many letters, but no one could yet send letters there. This place was still silent and almost unknown.” (Page 39)

This made me feel as though we the readers are embarking on the discovery of the early history of Vancouver, which is what in the end this book paints a portrait of. Again with the foreshadowing.


Letters and Blogs

Speaking of blogs, I’ve always viewed a blog sort of like a virtual letter for all to read. It just so happens that at the end of this chapter Topaz writes a letter home. Like a blog, Topaz is casual with her writing and is more a stream of consciousness.


Blog/Un-blog like qualities

Blog like qualities:

-“The Innocent Traveller” like blogs tells the stories of people and what happens in their day-to-day lives, acting like a “diary” or journal.
-Short and concise and easy to comprehend.
-Both contain the feelings of the individuals. And allow the reader to relate and experience what the characters experience.
-Chapters in a book like "The Dark House and the Detested Wife" are just like posts such as this one, "blog/Un-blog like qualities" in a blog.

Un-blog like qualities:

-One of the qualities that separate Ethel Wilson from blogs is that in her writing she includes the qualities of fiction. For example she has allusion, and such detailed imagery in the novel, whereas most blogs do not include such detail because for the most part they are just “diaries” or “journals”.
-One of the major differences that I noticed between blogs and “fiction” is what I like to call a two-way street in which blogs operate on a two way street and the traditional qualities of fiction, such as “The Innocent Traveller” are a one-way street. What I mean about a two-way street is that an author and a reader can interact and discuss the piece of writing. Whereas when it is just a quality of fiction like the “The Innocent Traveller” the reader can only read and not have the opportunity to converse, like blogs.
-“The Innocent Traveller” is a published piece of literature, whereas blogs are not and they do not have to be edited and critiqued.
-It has a specific structure such as paragraphs, this can be both a similarity and a difference, but blogs can have no structure just words one after another.


General Analysis

Ethel Wilson writes this book to show us reality. Even though her work is classified as fiction it is true; true to the nature of reality, true to human experience. Her work resembles the multiplicity and complexity of the real world.
Fiction and blogs are alike because facts can be made up. Writers of fiction and bloggers alike can manufacture facts to fill in the gaps of their knowledge; this is excatly what some bloggers do. However, unlike bloggers, writers of fiction can produce facts at will they can can produce them to fit a coherent plan. Often times blogs jump from one topic to the next without being coherent; whereas, fictional stories are always coherent.
Each character in "The Innocent Traveller" represents an individual and their individual experiences. This book particularly demonstrates that human expereinces, whatever they are and whereever they occur, are intrinsically important and interesting. These experiences help connect and attach the reader to the characters in the story. In this book the characters have mulitple personality traits; therefore, resembling real people.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Other comments

A.) Some additional quotes that I especially liked from this chapter:

a. “…there was something timeless in the air. All beauty has blown about this place that Papa and I have so long desired to see”(32). This was early in the chapter when Emily and her father went to Greece. This isn’t a significant quote but what I found interesting is that obviously Emily was a young girl at this time, and yet she had a way of putting things like the air is timeless. This is just one example that children were actually intelligent and more advanced then children today, as what was discussed in lecture. Another example of this that I also found interesting (but maybe not relevant) was at the end of the chapter when Emily had established her school for young ladies when Topaz was writing to her parents. She wrote telling them about what she was reading in class which consisted of Charles Dickens’ “Child’s History”, Homer’s “Iliad”, and Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. And then I remembered a past lecture about how children then learned much more complex concepts younger than the children today. I found this quite surprising and stunning, because it wasn’t until literature 12 that Milton’s “Paradise lost” was covered, and even then it was difficult to grasp. It is also clear that Topaz was young at this point and not the age a high school student would be today because of her petty fight with Eliza and how she hit her, but also the way she spelt “amewsing” in which she uses it twice, I think it is supposed to be amusing, but I am not a 100%, I couldn’t find “amewsing” in the dictionary though. I think that Wilson does this to show how young Topaz is.

b. This next quote is when Edmund realizes that basically he doesn’t know his wife and how he feels that she is a cold person and she has no feelings towards him, and this is when all the tension becomes apparent. “One day he came into his wife’s room. She was sitting in front of her mirror, brushing her long hair with slow sweet strokes. Edmund was impelled to go to her and place his hands upon her shoulders. Over her head she looked into the mirror and their eyes met there. His wife became motionless and in the mirror he saw the indifferent sweet expression of her face grow defensive and become almost the face of an enemy. He took his hands roughly from her shoulders and said angrily, still watching her immobile face in the mirror, “what made me fool enough to marry a woman like you! I’d as soon live with one of your damned Greek statues!”(34)”. Personally I think this is an excellent piece of writing, I am intrigued how the portrayal of Emily changes in her mood. First she is calm and collective while she just brushes her hair and then when their eyes met it was like a switch of personalities and she became his enemy not his wife.


"A Plan"

I just want to expand on the two previous posts from Daisy and Jessica, and Emily’s role as a woman, wife and mother. One of the following conclusions that I came up with is that after Emily’s marriage failed she had to sit back and evaluate her life, and do it in a short amount of time because she had a child that depended on her. And she was doubtful about the future and asked herself “What will you do? What can you do? What is there that you know how to do?” And what helped her decide on something was thinking back to her childhood and how her father taught her how to read and how it had such an impact on her life and for the better. Then she realized she wanted to do something with this wonderful knowledge, and she had such a passion for it she wanted others to experience and have the same passion for it. At that moment she decided she would and she could do that through teaching, and she could teach things such as sums, classics, French, history, geography and manners. Personally I think that this school (as good idea it is) establishment was a scapegoat so to speak, to get her mind off of Edmund and to show him she doesn’t need him so she states, “I can do this. I shall be strong. I do not need Edmund. I don’t want him. I can live without him very much better- if I can live.”(36) I agree with Daisy and that she is basically trying to convince her self that she can survive without not just Edmund but any man. With this one point I think that I now know why this novel is a postmodern novel. This was a new way of thinking for women, to be independent from men. At that time it was common for a woman to get married, have children and a job or career was out of the question, only the male would work. And people were shunned if they even thought of divorce possibly due to religious reason and the fact that it was not common. So naturally when Emily and Edmund where in their first stages of separation, she was embarrassed and ashamed and didn’t want anyone to find out. This is clearly illustrated, “Emily was deeply humiliated, yet she was unable to do anything. She kept a silence which was both proud and stupid, because she did not know what to say, or what to do … Emily could not bear to show their estrangement to their acquaintance…”(34) Wilson makes topics such as divorce an open issue and says hey, look what good has come from this, this strong woman did make it without a man and did it when she thought she couldn’t and when she was at her weakest low.

One final quote that I looked at was when Emily just came up with the idea of the school and she was trying to convince her self that she could survive, “I am a strong woman… I can do this. I am not afraid. Fanny. Darling. You will have little girls to play with and learn with. We shall be more happy then we have been. I am not afraid anymore. Yes-oh, I am afraid- no, no I am not afraid…”(36) first of all this is the first time in the chapter that she acknowledges her child and becomes a mother, but secondly Wilson used this style of writing in the chapter. Where she breaks up the writing. Earlier in the chapter, as I have stated in a previous post about the “Roar. Crash. Withdraw…” and then she talks about the veil. Well that happens in this to where she is saying she will survive and then she talks about her child and then back again to that she can survive. These are just some observations and once again input is welcome.


Qualities of fiction

Some other quotes that I have found that I think are important and deserve recognition (I apologize in advance there is a lot to read, I was feeling inspired.):

A.) These are some quotes that I think are qualities of fiction:

a. One example of imagery and setting is “Many an evening she saw the Grecian islands melting away, mauve and pink and purple and a dying gray, into the darkening sea… At this moment the colours of the Mediterranean slid from steel-blue into sapphire into indigo into purple into bronze…” (31). This quote is from the beginning of the chapter when Emily was a young girl and her and her father went to Greece. I found the imagery profound and it puts such a beautiful image into mind that I personally didn’t realize until reading it again.

b.Some examples of allusion, Quality of fiction:
i. “Emily was romantic. The death of lord Byron in Greece, not two decades before, has warmed the hard-headed and romantic and freedom-loving English people to the land where he died”(32).
ii. “The full sight of the pale honey coloured pillars of the Parthenon sent us into a dream that went back to Pericles and the great days of Athens, and to Socrates and to Plato who must have walked on this very hill and up the wide steps which look so level and yet to have a hidden architectural perfection.”(32). These two examples are of course all examples of allusion because we all know whom Byron, Pericles, Socrates and Plato, which make this a quality of fiction. We tend not to talk about these people in our everyday conversations, unless in class.

c. This one particular quote that I found I thought was definitely a quality of fiction due to the fact that we don’t talk this way in everyday situations. “The wind blew in from the sea and the waves assailed the stone with rhythm. The rhythm. Roar. Crash. Withdraw slowly. Roar. Crash. Withdraw. She dropped the veil over her face, slackened her steps, and with assurance of solitude within and without, felt herself relax. Roar went the waves, crash, withdraw.”(35) And then Emily begins to talk about Edmund and she continues, “Solitude and wind would free her thoughts.” (36) First I didn’t know what to think of this section what did the broken up sentences mean and why is there so much emphasis on roar, crash and withdraw slowly. Then I thought about way back about one of my English twelve words, juxtaposition, which from memory, don’t know if I am totally correct but it is when two events that can be related/similar happen at the same time, which in this case is the wind and/or waves are related and reflect the way Emily was feeling at that point in time. And Ethel Wilson shows Emily coming to a reality that her husband left her and she has to realize and accept it. I think that Wilson does this through the emphasis on these three particular lines. At first they each have their own sentence “Roar. Crash. Withdraw slowly…” and then she has a general statement and the same words, and even states that she is relaxing, then Wilson continues with the same three lines “Roar went the waves, crash, withdraw”, to me it sounds like she is coming to a conclusion of her reality and the writing reflects that, first it was like a slap in the face and now it is much subtle not just the wind/waves but reality. I could be totally wrong, but it is just a guess I would love to hear what everyone else thinks about this particular quote.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

RE: Quotations

Interesting point Daisy :)

I tend to agree with your idea of Emily convincing herself that she can survive on her own. At the turn of the century how many husbands left their wives? Couples got married younger as a whole opposed to nowadays and they stayed together rather than the divorces we see all over the place (a stat I saw in a magazine was that 60% of marrages in the present will end in divorce). I don't think that Emily's situation was common therefore she would probably a lot of pressure. From what I understand of that era, women ran the house hold and men made the money. For Emily to no longer have a source of income must have been quite traumatizing (aside from the emotional distress of a spouse abandonment).


Sunday, March 13, 2005


Hello!! Since we haven't gotten anything posted yet, I thought I should post some quotations I found meaningful in this chapter; maybe our discussion can follow from that~We all know from the start of the chapter, that "Mr.Porter had left Mrs.Porter(p31)"...So a deserted wife our Emily is, yet how can a woman like this, "helpless and proud(p33)" be willing to admit that she is scared and helpless???Anyway that's just what I think.. The following are two qoutations I found.."[...]if I can prevent myself from being afraid [...](p35)""I can do this. I shall be strong. I do not need Edmund. I don't want him. I can live with out him very much better - If I can live. (p36)"#comment: I believe everything Emily says means the direct opposite, e.g. I do not need Edmund means I need him, I shall be strong is Emily questioning herself, "Can I be strong" etc. She's convincing herself that she can live without Edmund, and that the situation she is trapped in is just perfectly in the way she wanted it.. However, this all ends when reality forces her to see the big question -- "CAN SHE SURVIVE?"Daisy

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Chosen Topic: Chapter 5

We chose Chapter 5: The Dark House and The Detested Wife.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


We created our blog! Our Team is:

Jessica Ramsay
Daisy Chen
Connie Melsted
Tejinder Gill