Monday, February 9, 2015

The Voyage of the Dawn Trader

Dana Stubel
Dr. Ellis
EN 385
9 February 2015
The Glass Half Full vs. The Glass Half Empty
            Throughout C.S. Lewis’ novel, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the reader finds how a person’s perspective can affect one’s travel experience. This phenomenon is mostly seen in the contrast of perspectives of Eustace and the Pevensies. While the Pevensies are eager to embark on their magical journey, Eustace is much more apprehensive, which leads to the characters having much different interpretations of the magical lands they visit.
            The different mindsets of Eustace and the Pevensies are evident even before they are whisked away on their voyage. Eustace is characterized as whiny, bossy, and judgmental, while Lucy and Edmund are open-minded and imaginative. These characteristics entirely change the way the travellers perceive the trip. When the three cousins are taken aboard Prince Caspian’s ship, Lucy “felt quite sure they were in for a lovely time” (17). Lucy and Edmund are thrilled to be back with their old friends and to take on any adventure that comes their way. Meanwhile, Eustace “would be pleased with nothing,” and continuously complains about the boat, his sickness, and the other travellers (30). The reader can get a first hand account of Eustace’s pessimistic perspective through his diary entries. Instead of embracing the fantastical journey that he is on, he complains about the lodging, the food, and the people because of his spoiled upbringing and fussy temperament. Meanwhile, Lucy and Edmund are experiencing the same conditions, yet paint an entirely different picture. Lucy and Edmund describe the Dawn Treader as a “beauty of her kind, her lines perfect, her colors pure, and every spar and pin lovingly made”, while Eustace “kept on boasting about liners and motorboats and aeroplanes and submarines” (30). This comparison shows that travellers may be experiencing the same thing, but have completely different interpretations based on their perspectives. If a traveller, such as Eustace, goes into a foreign place with preconceived negativity, he or she will not enjoy the experiences. However, if he or she eventually sheds the negativity, like when Eustace sheds his dragon skin, he or she may be able to take on a new optimistic mindset and change the way one looks at travel.

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