Главная > Реферат >Остальные работы
Islands As A Narration Of A Young Boys Initiation Into The World Essay, Research Paper
A. Hemon s Islands is the narrative of a young boys initiation into the adult
world. The boy travels to a place he has never been before, far away from all the
comforts of his childhood home. The island is full of secrets about the adult world and
the terrible things that can happen within it. While away, he learns shocking lessons
about the world in which he lives, mainly from his Uncle Julius, who tells scary stories
that he thinks the boy should know about. The boy is unprotected from everything on
the island and everything it contains. Through this unprotected environment, he learns
things about the adult world that are not learned anywhere else.
In the car on the way to the coast, the boy almost loses his voice by singing
communist songs the entire journey. (129) By his singing songs about mournful
mothers looking through graves for their dead sons and the revolution the boy
demonstrates his naivity. He is, after all, just a young boy. His limited life experience is
shown in his singing such songs, without understanding the full meanings and
connotations that those songs carry. The boys innocence is emphasized here, as these
are adult songs and it is only, generally, children who sing on car journeys until their
voices are gone.
Even before boarding the boat, the boy begins to notice how ugly age and
adulthood can be. He notices the gnarled knees , the spreading sweat stains on their
shirts and sagging wrinkles of fat on their thighs. (129) At one point, he sees one of
the Germans, an old, bony man get down on his knees and then vomit over the pier
edge. The boy sees this, but still relates it back to something he understands. The vomit
hit the surface and then dispersed in different directions, like children running away to
hide from the seeker. (130) Again, by relating something so grotesque to something so
childlike and innocent, the boy reminds the reader that he is still just a young child, not
yet ready to deal with this kind of adult vision.
Once boarded on the boat and sailing to Mljet, the boy loses his hat. It is not just
a hat though, it is his hat that shielded him from the grown-ups and the adult way of
life. If he wanted to look at them properly, he had to raise his head. The hat was a
round straw hat with all the seven dwarfs painted on it. (129) When the gust of
waylaying wind snatches the hat off the boys head and tosses it into the sea, the boy is
no longer shielded by childrens fairy tales of princesses and dwarfs, and is symbolically
no longer protected from the adult world. He cries himself to sleep. When he awakens,
he has arrived at Mljet, and is exposed to the Island, and what it contains, including
adult fairy tales, in the form of scary stories.
Upon the island, away from everything familiar to him, the boy is laid bare to not
only the reality of a harsh, thicket covered island, but also his Uncle Julius, who seems
to enjoy telling the young boy scary stories of the island. The first story Uncle Julius
tells the boy is about some crazed mongooses that were brought on to the island to get
rid of the snakes. The snakes were killing chicken and dogs, but then the mongooses
killed all the snakes and began to kill the chicken and dogs themselves. Uncle Julius tells
the boy that it s all one pest after another, like revolutions. Life is nothing if not a
succession of evils. (131) This story shows the boy how even supposedley good
things can turn bad . People who were once childhood friends to the boy may later
become his enemies and of this he must be cautioned.
The second story told to the boy is about Uncle Julius s grandfather. His family
brought beekeeping to the Bosnia, and were respected. The story ends with his
grandfather dying of dysentry. People used to die of that all the time. They d just shit
themselves to death. (133) This harsh realization that even respected, intelligent
people can die in undignified ways is another step into the adult world. As a child, the
boy feels like everyone lives forever, but as he is initiated into the adult world, he
realizes how life is not endless and in the end, we all end up the same; dead and
un-protected from anything that makes us anything more than any other dying
Uncle Julius next tells the boy a story of the Arkangelsk camp, where if you
were repeatedly late or missed several days of school with no excuse, you would get six
months to three years in a camp. (134) Uncle Julius continues the story about a boy
called Vanyka who was sent to one of these camps and tortured and moved from camp
to camp, until one day he escaped and killed another escapee, so he would have food.
This story of cannibalism intigues the boy and he shows his interest in the adult world
with the question, So what happened to him? (136) With this interest in something so
hideous and, perhaps, the worst crime a human being could commit, the boy is
becoming an adult, or at least envisioning adulthood.
The fourth scary story of adulthood is about Pirates on the island. Uncle Julius
tells the boy that the lakes they are boating in used to be a pirate haven in the sixteenth
century. (140) He tells of torture and ghostsand children hung on meat hooks because
their parents wouldn t pay the ransom. Uncle Julius tells the boy that the pirate haven,
now a hotel, was also a nunnery where they thought the nuns were really withches, and
then a German prison. This effects the boy, in that he is physically in a place, where
torture and debauchery happened. It is not just a story to the boy. Things are becoming
real to him. The adult world is becoming real.
In Uncle Julius s final story, he talks of the oldest man in the world who has
been reduced to the behaving like a child again. And the teacher told us that the old
man cried all the time, ate only liquid foods, and couldn t bear being seperated from his
favourite toy. (141) Uncle Julius continues in this and tells the boy that all is for
naught. This tells the boy that life is not worth anything and anything he may
accomplish will all be turned to this anyway, so what is the point in any of it . You
might just as well stop, for nothing will change. (141)
Perhaps this is the strongest picture of adulthood and is the most severe for the
boy so far. When the boy is just that, a young boy of pure childlike qualities, there is
hope of what is to come. Every child thinks about what they want to be when they re
grown up and living their lives as happy adults, but what Uncle Julius is saying is that
it is not worth even bothering with and that adulthood brings nothing more to a persons
life than childhood does in the end . The boy is now coming to terms with the
realization of adulthood and all that comes with it.
Although Uncle Julius tells all these horrific stories to the young boy, he does give
the boy one lesson in living. He tells the boy that to survive in this adult, scary, world,
he must blend in. He does this through taking the boy to the beehives. Uncle Julius tells
the boy not to fidget so the bees won t sting him. I d be frightened by the possibility of
being stung, even though he told me that the bees would not attack me if I pretended not
to exist. (139) This lesson in non-existing is what Uncle Julius teaches him through the
In conclusion, A. Hemons Islands narrates a young boys initiation into an adult
world through a series of events, namely the stories Uncle Julius tells him. These stories
teach the bot that the adult world is treacherous, evil and that people within it eat their own
kind in order to survive. At the end of the story, the boy returns home and finds the plants
all withered and the cat, not having been fed for week, was emancipated and nearly mad
with hunger. (142) The cat will not come to the boy when he calls to her, and looks at him
with irreversible hatred.
The boy can never go back to the pureness of being a child again. The irreversible
hatred the cat has, is as irreversible as Uncle Julius s stories and the boys initiation into
the adult world. Nothing can change what the boy experienced while away on the island of
- ... tell his story. A young white girl becomes the narrator of cliff’s excerpt. By ... first day of school was not as simple as packing of lunch and walking ... to the strategic location of the islands. The influx of people is politically ...
- ... 49]. In addition, the narrator not only talks to but ... be a white, male, heterosexual, young, educated, middle class, etc. ... no space for a young lesbian in the early ... visualizing the overlapping islands as Lingis’ "continuity of convexities and concavities" ...
- ... . “No. They’re not as bad as that. It was an accident ... . Very similar to the tropical islands of the Pacific. It is very ... scrawny. He’s a rebellious and chaotic young boy, which I find hard to ... knows about many things. The narrator of the story would be Ralph ...
- ... a pervasive presence in the lives of young people in urban communities in ... and third person narration that Malinowski instituted as the model of ethnographic literature ... elements of a society’s practices (such as headhunting in the Trobriand Islands or ...
- ... felt like a stranger in the islands. She and her husband moved ... Wittman’s theatrical production. The psychodrama of young Maxine’s linguistic struggle is concretely ... American history. The narrator of China Men identifies herself as a family historian with ...