Compare and Contrast

Agnessa Elman

The two works, “Farther Away” and an expert from “Skating into the Antartica,” both give the reader a sense of independence and longing. The way that the writer presents their passages and their own use of diction throughout the stories, deals a lot with the idea of isolation. After reading both pieces I questioned a couple ideas including being trapped mentally and physically and the way that both authors presented their tones to the audience.
We find out from background research that the author of “Skating into the Antartica,” Jenny Diski, faces mental illness. She wrote this non-fiction book through a troubled time and throughout Franzen’s essay, we figure out that his dear friend’s suicide, and ashes, and his homesickness really grow on him. Both writers set on adventures with a lot of baggage, yet see the world in marvelous ways. “The setting was spectacular—sweeping hills, volcanic peak, whitecaps ocean” (Franzen’s description of the island towards the end of the essay.)
Both readers face isolation mentally (with their troubles) and find ways to reckon with it, through writing. Georgia and Masafurea could figuratively be represented as their minds, and the struggles they face with their self-discoveries. Diski does slightly talk about being alone in her essay, and Franzen does as well. Both use their trauma or pain to guide them throughout their journeys, and both can relate to the idea of being trapped emotionally in their minds, and physically on the island and town.
Both writers used a generous amount of figurative language and literary devices, which help the reader imagine their destinations and sights. I personally did like Diski’s literary devices, because it helped give a more intimate dialogue between the reader and herself through the passage. I found her to tend to romanticize her descriptions of landscapes and observations, “the sea as flat as a pancake and blue as the sky,” which at times I found to be extremely phony. Franzen is a lot more honest in his writing and expresses himself more simply. “I hadn’t felt so homesick since, possibly, the last time I’d camped by myself.” I feel as though he did a more productive job at relating his essay to himself, while Diski used her observations to create opinions. I found the way they connected to the readers to be very different as well. Diski used the second person in the writing. She questioned the audience a couple times, with a sarcastic tone and became a little persuasive in her writing when talking about whales. Franzen observed many details on his journey but related the passage to himself so much, at times it felt like a diary entry.
Personally, I was not a big fan of either piece, but I think it gave me an interesting perspective to compare and contrast these two works. I think it was important to see how reality and everyday life (Jenny Diski’s mental illness) might add to ones writing, as well as how personal an author can make trauma in relation to a journey. Comparing their works in reference to being trapped psychically and mentally was an innovative way to look at the texts. Even though both authors gave me a similar idea, flowing the passage with honesty or literary devices, made all the difference.

Reflection 1 on Traveling

Agnessa Elman
12 September 2017
Writing the essay one
Reflection on Travel Writing

To me, I find it extremely fascinating how easy it is to access ways to travel. After hearing on the news about hurricane Irma coming to the Florida coast, I called my family back home and talked to them about their plan to deal with the storm. My mom decided to just buy a ticket to New York and hop on a plane. The easy solution for these types of problems has definitely evolved since 1130BC. Hurricane Irma caused an urgency for evacuation. Even at such a late notice, over 5 million people were informed about evacuating and took action quickly to leave the state. Flight prices dropping and cars that were backed up on the highway with traffic might have lead to someone having an adventure or journey through that stressful process. Opportunities to travel have not always been so simple, and the growth of technology with today’s society has allowed many people to experience their own adventures in a way, even if they are extremely planned out and safer than a spontaneous long trip that was traditional for.
Reading the evolution of travel throughout this story gave me perspective on many ideas that I could relate traveling to. I think technology has shifted the definition of a traveler and has opened the idea that anyone can become a traveler. Travelers started out specifically just for people on a search. Soon subcategories of travelers, “explorers, soldiers, sailors, surveyors, missionaries, merchants, scientists, colonial administrators, diplomats, journalists, artists and many others besides” (page 52) expanded the idea of a traveler. Even as technology improved, the social norms of women also became more flexible, which allowed them to test out traveling and be inspired to feel like a traveler.
I think the importance of technology improving also became empowering in a way because people were able to learn more culturally, emotionally and intellectually and infuse it into their own lives. With new ways to travel, the amount of time needed to get to a place was significantly less than original ways. Time became a useful tool when planning journey’s and it started to focus less on the idea of accomplishments and more on self-discovery and new places.
Small businesses, like hotels, airb&b’s, and landmarks have made traveling a lot more productive. Using technology to substitute writing, has made travel writing continue to motivate many. I think that social media, blogging, videos, and pictures have all allowed the travel writing to live and not be dead.
I think it is important to recognize how technology has played an import role on traveling and travel writing. I feel like I can relate to the impact of technology on travel and society because of hurricane Irma, but also how I write about my experiences of travel on social media. This text made me reflect on travels accessibility and allowed me to question what else there could be in store.