Chapter 14 | The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym | Edgar Allan Poe | Lit2Go ETC
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket is the only novel by Edgar Allan Poe. there's a lot of interesting stuff going on in this novel, especially in relation to The passage, which is written in diary form, comes right at the end of the. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket Summary and . and the feeling of plummeting and the eventual connection with the earth. Reading Poe's Novel: A Speculative Review of Pym Criticism, , If any novel ever was, Edgar Allan Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is the interpreter's dream-text. of the narrator in the story, and the meaning of the mysteriously implausible ending. The text's relation to its author's world.
Augustus survived because he had befriended one of the mutineers, Dirk Peters, who now regrets his part in the uprising. Peters, Pym, and Augustus hatch a plan to seize control of the ship: Pym, whose presence is unknown to the mutineers, will wait for a storm and then dress in the clothes of a recently dead sailor, masquerading as a ghost.
In the confusion sure to break out among the superstitious sailors, Peters and Augustus, helped by Tiger, will take over the ship again. Everything goes according to plan, and soon the three men are masters of the Grampus: At this point, the dog Tiger disappears from the novel; his unknown fate is a loose end in the narrative. Illustration of the death of Augustus by Albert SternerThe storm increases in force, breaking the mast, tearing the sails and flooding the hold.
All four manage to survive by lashing themselves to the hull. As the storm abates, they find themselves safe for the moment, but without provisions.
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Over the following days, the men face death by starvation and thirst. They sight an erratically moving Dutch ship with a grinning red-capped seaman on deck, nodding in apparent greeting as they approach. Initially delighted with the prospect of deliverance, they quickly become horrified as they are overcome with an awful stench. They soon realize that the apparently cheerful sailor is, in fact, a corpse propped up in the ship's rigging, his "grin" a result of his partially decomposed skull moving as a seagull feeds upon it.
As the ship passes, it becomes clear that all its occupants are rotting corpses. As time passes, with no sign of land or other ships, Parker suggests that one of them should be killed as food for the others. They draw straws, following the custom of the seaand Parker is sacrificed. This gives the others a reprieve, but Augustus soon dies from wounds received when they reclaimed the Grampus, and several more storms batter the already badly damaged ship.
Pym and Peters float on the upturned hull and are close to death when they are rescued by the Jane Guy, a ship out of Liverpool. Pym studies the islands around the Cape of Good Hope, becoming interested in the social structures of penguins, albatrosses, and other sea birds.
Upon his urging, the captain agrees to sail farther south towards the unexplored Antarctic regions. The ship crosses an ice barrier and arrives in open sea, close to the South Pole, albeit with a mild climate.
Here the Jane Guy comes upon a mysterious island called Tsalal, inhabited by a tribe of black, apparently friendly natives led by a chief named Too-Wit. The color white is alien to the island's inhabitants and unnerves them, because nothing of that color exists there. Even the natives' teeth are black. The island is also home to many undiscovered species of flora and fauna. Its water is also different from water elsewhere, being strangely thick and exhibiting multicolored veins.
The natives' relationship with the sailors is initially cordial, so Too-Wit and the captain begin trading. Their friendliness, however, turns out to be a ruse and on the eve of the ship's proposed departure, the natives ambush the crew in a narrow gorge. Everyone except Pym and Peters is slaughtered, and the Jane Guy is overrun and burned by the malevolent tribe. They discover a labyrinth of passages in the hills with strange marks on the walls, and disagree about whether these are the result of artificial or natural causes.
Facing a shortage of food, they make a desperate run and steal a pirogue from the natives, narrowly escaping from the island and taking one of its inhabitants prisoner. The small boat drifts farther south on a current of increasingly warm water, which has become milky white in color.
After several days they encounter a rain of ashes and then observe a huge cataract of fog or mist, which splits open to accommodate their entrance upon approach. The native dies as a huge shrouded white figure appears before them. Here the novel ends abruptly.
A short post-scriptural note, ostensibly written by the book's editors, explains that Pym was killed in an accident and speculates his final two or three chapters were lost with him, though assuring the public the chapters will be restored to the text if found.
The note further explains that Peters is alive in Illinois but cannot be interviewed at present. The editors then compare the shapes of the labyrinth and the wall marks noted by Pym to Arabian and Egyptian letters and hieroglyphs with meanings of "Shaded", "White", and "Region to the South". Reynolds was a heavy influence on Poe's novel. In order to present the tale as an authentic exploration, Poe used a number of the travel journals that proliferated at the time he was writing the novel.
Poe probably read this history in an book by R. Thomas, Remarkable Events and Remarkable Shipwrecks, from which he quotes verbatim. This theory, which he presented as early aswas taken seriously throughout the nineteenth century.
Found in a Bottle ",  based partly on Symmes' Theory of the Concentric Spheres, published in Found in a Bottle" is similar to Poe's novel in setting, characterization, and some elements of plot. Allan wrote, "Edgar says Pa say something for me, say I was not afraid of the sea. Scholar Scott Peeples wrote that it is "at once a mock nonfictional exploration narrative, adventure saga, bildungsromanhoaxlargely plagiarized travelogue, and spiritual allegory " and "one of the most elusive major texts of American literature.
Hutchisson writes that the plot both "soars to new heights of fictional ingenuity and descends to new lows of silliness and absurdity". For example, Pym notes that breaking a bottle while trapped in the hold saved his life because the sound alerted Augustus to his presence while searching.
However, Pym notes that Augustus did not tell him this until "many years elapsed", even though Augustus is dead eight chapters later. Novelist John Barth notes, for example, that the midway point of the novel occurs when Pym reaches the equatorthe midway point of the globe.
Found in a Bottle", Pym is undertaking this trip on purpose. A bright spot to the southward is the sure forerunner of the change, and vessels are thus enabled to take the proper precautions. It was about six in the morning when the blow came on with a white squall, and, as usual, from the northward. By eight it had increased very much, and brought down upon us one of the most tremendous seas I had then ever beheld.
Every thing had been made as snug as possible, but the schooner laboured excessively, and gave evidence of her bad qualities as a seaboat, pitching her forecastle under at every plunge and with the greatest difficulty struggling up from one wave before she was buried in another.
Just before sunset the bright spot for which we had been on the look-out made its appearance in the southwest, and in an hour afterward we perceived the little headsail we carried flapping listlessly against the mast. In two minutes more, in spite of every preparation, we were hurled on our beam-ends, as if by magic, and a perfect wilderness of foam made a clear breach over us as we lay.
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe
The blow from the southwest, however, luckily proved to be nothing more than a squall, and we had the good fortune to right the vessel without the loss of a spar. A heavy cross sea gave us great trouble for a few hours after this, but toward morning we found ourselves in nearly as good condition as before the gale.
Captain Guy considered that he had made an escape little less than miraculous.
On the thirteenth of October we came in sight of Prince Edward's Island, in latitude 46 degrees 53' S. Two days afterward we found ourselves near Possession Island, and presently passed the islands of Crozet, in latitude 42 degrees 59' S. On the eighteenth we made Kerguelen's or Desolation Island, in the Southern Indian Ocean, and came to anchor in Christmas Harbour, having four fathoms of water.
This island, or rather group of islands, bears southeast from the Cape of Good Hope, and is distant therefrom nearly eight hundred leagues. It was first discovered inby the Baron de Kergulen, or Kerguelen, a Frenchman, who, thinking the land to form a portion of an extensive southern continent carried home information to that effect, which produced much excitement at the time. The government, taking the matter up, sent the baron back in the following year for the purpose of giving his new discovery a critical examination, when the mistake was discovered.
InCaptain Cook fell in with the same group, and gave to the principal one the name of Desolation Island, a title which it certainly well deserves. Upon approaching the land, however, the navigator might be induced to suppose otherwise, as the sides of most of the hills, from September to March, are clothed with very brilliant verdure.
This deceitful appearance is caused by a small plant resembling saxifrage, which is abundant, growing in large patches on a species of crumbling moss. Besides this plant there is scarcely a sign of vegetation on the island, if we except some coarse rank grass near the harbor, some lichen, and a shrub which bears resemblance to a cabbage shooting into seed, and which has a bitter and acrid taste.
The face of the country is hilly, although none of the hills can be called lofty. Their tops are perpetually covered with snow. There are several harbors, of which Christmas Harbour is the most convenient. It is the first to be met with on the northeast side of the island after passing Cape Francois, which forms the northern shore, and, by its peculiar shape, serves to distinguish the harbour.
Its projecting point terminates in a high rock, through which is a large hole, forming a natural arch. The entrance is in latitude 48 degrees 40' S. Passing in here, good anchorage may be found under the shelter of several small islands, which form a sufficient protection from all easterly winds. Proceeding on eastwardly from this anchorage you come to Wasp Bay, at the head of the harbour.
This is a small basin, completely landlocked, into which you can go with four fathoms, and find anchorage in from ten to three, hard clay bottom. A ship might lie here with her best bower ahead all the year round without risk. To the westward, at the head of Wasp Bay, is a small stream of excellent water, easily procured. Some seal of the fur and hair species are still to be found on Kerguelen's Island, and sea elephants abound.
The feathered tribes are discovered in great numbers. Penguins are very plenty, and of these there are four different kinds.La narración de Arthur Gordon Pym (Edgar Allan Poe) - Reseña
The royal penguin, so called from its size and beautiful plumage, is the largest. The upper part of the body is usually gray, sometimes of a lilac tint; the under portion of the purest white imaginable.
The head is of a glossy and most brilliant black, the feet also. The chief beauty of plumage, however, consists in two broad stripes of a gold color, which pass along from the head to the breast. The bill is long, and either pink or bright scarlet.
These birds walk erect; with a stately carriage. They carry their heads high with their wings drooping like two arms, and, as their tails project from their body in a line with the legs, the resemblance to a human figure is very striking, and would be apt to deceive the spectator at a casual glance or in the gloom of the evening.
The royal penguins which we met with on Kerguelen's Land were rather larger than a goose. The other kinds are the macaroni, the jackass, and the rookery penguin. These are much smaller, less beautiful in plumage, and different in other respects. Besides the penguin many other birds are here to be found, among which may be mentioned sea-hens, blue peterels, teal, ducks, Port Egmont hens, shags, Cape pigeons, the nelly, sea swallows, terns, sea gulls, Mother Carey's chickens, Mother Carey's geese, or the great peterel, and, lastly, the albatross.
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
The great peterel is as large as the common albatross, and is carnivorous. It is frequently called the break-bones, or osprey peterel.
They are not at all shy, and, when properly cooked, are palatable food. In flying they sometimes sail very close to the surface of the water, with the wings expanded, without appearing to move them in the least degree, or make any exertion with them whatever.
The albatross is one of the largest and fiercest of the South Sea birds.
It is of the gull species, and takes its prey on the wing, never coming on land except for the purpose of breeding. Between this bird and the penguin the most singular friendship exists. Their nests are constructed with great uniformity upon a plan concerted between the two species—that of the albatross being placed in the centre of a little square formed by the nests of four penguins. Navigators have agreed in calling an assemblage of such encampments a rookery. These rookeries have been often described, but as my readers may not all have seen these descriptions, and as I shall have occasion hereafter to speak of the penguin and albatross, it will not be amiss to say something here of their mode of building and living.
When the season for incubation arrives, the birds assemble in vast numbers, and for some days appear to be deliberating upon the proper course to be pursued. At length they proceed to action.
A level piece of ground is selected, of suitable extent, usually comprising three or four acres, and situated as near the sea as possible, being still beyond its reach. The spot is chosen with reference to its evenness of surface, and that is preferred which is the least encumbered with stones. This matter being arranged, the birds proceed, with one accord, and actuated apparently by one mind, to trace out, with mathematical accuracy, either a square or other parallelogram, as may best suit the nature of the ground, and of just sufficient size to accommodate easily all the birds assembled, and no more—in this particular seeming determined upon preventing the access of future stragglers who have not participated in the labor of the encampment.
One side of the place thus marked out runs parallel with the water's edge, and is left open for ingress or egress. Having defined the limits of the rookery, the colony now begin to clear it of every species of rubbish, picking up stone by stone, and carrying them outside of the lines, and close by them, so as to form a wall on the three inland sides. Just within this wall a perfectly level and smooth walk is formed, from six to eight feet wide, and extending around the encampment—thus serving the purpose of a general promenade.