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Literature 5 Pages

Self Discovery In A Journey: The Kingdom By The Sea

Question


A literary tradition in cross-cultural discourse

Guideline Questions #2

The Kingdom by the Sea

by Paul Theroux

(Pages 131-187)

1.)   Once, publically, Bill Bryson admirably conceded that he was not necessarily an authentic traveller, but a tourist, while alternatively pointing to Paul Theroux as the genuine article.  In The Kingdom by the Sea, Theroux precedes Bryson by fifteen years in circumambulating the British coastline, how would you measure Bryson's comment that Theroux is actually a traveler, in lieu of a tourist?  How does the nature of their journeys differ or overlap?

2.)  In Teignmouth, while bemusedly absorbing a community theatre production, what elements of British cultural and social customs and mores does the American reveal?

3.)  A couple of years ago, in an interview in The Atlantic, Theroux charged that, "if you're a travel writer you have to stick to facts."  How does Theroux attempt to rhetorically express in his writing that he is staying loyal to empirical facts?

4.)  While trampling through Cornwall, how does Theroux describe Cornish hospitality?  What does he say about Cornish nationalism that is reflective of nationalism in general?  What illuminating exchange does Theroux provide of his fellow South African transplants?

5.)  At one point of his journey, Theroux mulls, "to be anonymous and traveling in an interesting place is an intoxication." (Theroux p. 120) What does he mean by this and would you agree?  While at another juncture, he comes to the conclusion, "All travelers are optimists . . . Travel itself was a sort of optimism in action." (Theroux p. 130) Would you agree with this sentiment?

6.)  Eschewing the rich cultural heritage of Britain through its museums and the material vestiges of aristocracy like its castles, how does Theroux employ the Butlin Holiday Camp to undermine myopic stereotypes recycled in previous American travel literature on Britian?

7.) In light of a coherent, homogenous and sanitary vignette of British culture and society reproduced by a long bibliographic list of American travelers documenting their experiences, Theroux breaks down this neatly framed sterile portraiture of Britain by metaphorically alluding his journey as a discovery of nation, culture and its people deeply fragmented.  How does the theme of fractured division play out in his travels thus far?

8.)  What immediate distinction does he learn when entering Wales and like his British counterparts, what does Theroux connect poverty with when entering Wales?  What sentiment does Theroux voice that will be constantly echoed later by Bryson?

9.)  Unlike the Cornish nationalists, how are the Welsh nationalists different?

10.)  What was "the strange encounter" that "took place at the Hotel Harlech"?  Is this evidence of Theroux as a genuine traveler?

11.)  What are the Welsh cultural perceptions of the English?

12.)  The second colleague of his profession that Theroux meets in his Britannic tour is Jan Morris.  What is illuminating and engaging about the meeting of these two professional travel writers recorded in one of their own actual travel book?  What does their discussion fabricate about the concept of Welsh national identity and cultural traits?

Guideline Questions #2

The Kingdom by the Sea

by Paul Theroux

(Pages 131-187)

1.)   Once, publically, Bill Bryson admirably conceded that he was not necessarily an authentic traveller, but a tourist, while alternatively pointing to Paul Theroux as the genuine article.  In The Kingdom by the Sea, Theroux precedes Bryson by fifteen years in circumambulating the British coastline, how would you measure Bryson's comment that Theroux is actually a traveler, in lieu of a tourist?  How does the nature of their journeys differ or overlap?

2.)  In Teignmouth, while bemusedly absorbing a community theatre production, what elements of British cultural and social customs and mores does the American reveal?

3.)  A couple of years ago, in an interview in The Atlantic, Theroux charged that, "if you're a travel writer you have to stick to facts."  How does Theroux attempt to rhetorically express in his writing that he is staying loyal to empirical facts?

4.)  While trampling through Cornwall, how does Theroux describe Cornish hospitality?  What does he say about Cornish nationalism that is reflective of nationalism in general?  What illuminating exchange does Theroux provide of his fellow South African transplants?

5.)  At one point of his journey, Theroux mulls, "to be anonymous and traveling in an interesting place is an intoxication." (Theroux p. 120) What does he mean by this and would you agree?  While at another juncture, he comes to the conclusion, "All travelers are optimists . . . Travel itself was a sort of optimism in action." (Theroux p. 130) Would you agree with this sentiment?

6.)  Eschewing the rich cultural heritage of Britain through its museums and the material vestiges of aristocracy like its castles, how does Theroux employ the Butlin Holiday Camp to undermine myopic stereotypes recycled in previous American travel literature on Britian?

7.) In light of a coherent, homogenous and sanitary vignette of British culture and society reproduced by a long bibliographic list of American travelers documenting their experiences, Theroux breaks down this neatly framed sterile portraiture of Britain by metaphorically alluding his journey as a discovery of nation, culture and its people deeply fragmented.  How does the theme of fractured division play out in his travels thus far?

8.)  What immediate distinction does he learn when entering Wales and like his British counterparts, what does Theroux connect poverty with when entering Wales?  What sentiment does Theroux voice that will be constantly echoed later by Bryson?

9.)  Unlike the Cornish nationalists, how are the Welsh nationalists different?

10.)  What was "the strange encounter" that "took place at the Hotel Harlech"?  Is this evidence of Theroux as a genuine traveler?

11.)  What are the Welsh cultural perceptions of the English?

12.)  The second colleague of his profession that Theroux meets in his Britannic tour is Jan Morris.  What is illuminating and engaging about the meeting of these two professional travel writers recorded in one of their own actual travel book?  What does their discussion fabricate about the concept of Welsh national identity and cultural traits?




Solution

Title: Self Discovery In A Journey: The Kingdom By The Sea
Length: 5 pages (1434 Words)
Style: MLA

Preview

Self Discovery in a Journey: The Kingdom by the Sea

The book is a written account of a journey by the author around Britain. The journey took place in 1982 and lasted for about three months. He started his journey in London and took a train to Margate which is on the English coast. He travels clockwise around the coastline of Britain. He travels by train and reaches Cape Wrath in the north. His journey comes to an end at Southend. He travels in the year of Prince William birth and the Falkland’s war. This paper discusses how this journey enables the author to discover and redefine himself.

The journey taken by the author is a journey of self discovery since the author decides to be different. The author decides not to go to China like everyone else. He also decides not to write about Africa or the Arabs as other authors are doing. The author decides to be different. He, therefore, set foot in Britain after eleven years. He decides to explore the lands he had only heard about such as Begnar Rogis and Porlock. Here, the author can be viewed as trying to explore his desires and curiosities which will eventually lead to self discovery. He had read a lot about Britain in books. Though a lot had been written about Britain, he still wanted to see the place.

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