The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett

The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett

Length: 1931 words (5.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett

The voyage of the narwhal is a novel by Andrea Barrett, who reveals many aspects of the search for fame and glory, versus search for the truth. When the characters leave for the voyage with the same mission, it is the drive of their different motives for the expedition that separates their destiny on the trip. It was the commander that in blindness of fame led the expedition to tragedy and loss. Through out this novel the author reveals through the characters that the search for the truth is more important than the search of fame and wealth.

Barrett begins the novel with the crew loading the ship for the expedition, to search for the famous British explorer Sir John Franklin and his men, lost in the artic. It was said that any man to find him would have been assured of fame and glory. The expedition's youthful commander, Zachariah Voorhees also called Zeke, is determined to search for the men, lost now for nearly a decade. As being the captain of the merchant ship for years, he now is planning for a voyage through the Arctic and to discover places never seen before. The story is told from an omniscient point of view where different people's personal feelings and thoughts are revealed in many ways.

Erasmus Wells, a middle aged man is the Philadelphia naturalist. He joins the expedition partly because he hopes to make up for the miserable failure on an earlier expedition, then secondly because his sister Lavinia is engaged to marry Zeke, so he serves as a protégé, as he promises. He hopes that in this expedition, he could gather enough information from the regions natural history. He plans this time to bring something home from the trip. In Erasmus' earlier expedition of Wilkes he is not credited with any of his efforts, when Wilkes writes a book and doesn't even mention him there. Erasmus also fails after being engaged to his fiancé when shortly before marriage she dies of a heart disease. He grew up studying plants and animals with three older brothers and a younger sister. His mother passed away short time after the birth of Lavinia, And since being the youngest of three he was left to care for her. After so many failures in his life maybe this expedition was another chance for him to succeed.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett." 07 Dec 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis of the Case of Andrea Yates Essay

- The Andrea Yates murder trial was one of the most highly publicized cases of 2001. Perplexing and complicated, it appealed to the public audience for various reasons. A mother methodically, drowns her five children in the family bathtub after her husband leaves for work. Was this an act of a cold calculating killer, or was this the act of a woman who lost touch with reality. Is this a case of medical neglect, and psychological dysfunctions, or is this a battle of ethics and deviant behavior exploiting medical and legal loop holes....   [tags: murder trial, andrea yate, classical theory]

Research Papers
875 words (2.5 pages)

Andrea Palladio Essay examples

- The Renaissance produced a wealth of great skill and craftsmanship. Describe in detail the work of one of its great artists or architects. Andrea Palladio (1508-80) was one of the most influential figures of Renaissance architecture, who worked in Vicenza in northern Italy as well as in Venice and the surrounding Veneto. Born in Padua, Palladio trained as a stonemason moving to Vicenza in 1524 to continue his training. Giangiorgio Trissino (1478-1550), his patron, introduced him to classical and humanist studies and took him on his first trip to Rome – where he later spent two years studying....   [tags: Andrea Palladio]

Research Papers
944 words (2.7 pages)

The Narwhal Essay example

- One of the most fascinating creatures in the ocean is the narwhal. This arctic whale can be recognized by its single spiraled tusk that extends six to nine feet out of its upper jaw (“Morning Edition”). The scientific name for the narwhal, Monodon monoceros is Latin for “one tooth, one horn”. However, the narwhal actually has two teeth and no horns (“”). In the male narwhal, the left tooth grows into the spiral tusk that is often mistakenly referred to as a “horn”. In rare cases a double-tusk will grow....   [tags: Marine Life]

Research Papers
890 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Rhetorical Analysis Of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, married to poet Robert Browning, was a very prominent poet during the Victorian Era. Although she has written countless love poems, she had “established herself as a woman who was never afraid to express her views on contemporary social and political issues, a position which often marked her out as unconventional and combative” (Avery). Her fearless attitude poured through her poems, and as a result she influences people across the world, most famously Emily Dickinson, who idolized Browning and her achievements (“Elizabeth Barrett Browning”)....   [tags: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning]

Research Papers
1123 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Charles Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle

- Charles Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle A modern reader might be surprised to find that travel writings of the 18th century, books intended for the general public, featured specific scientific terms and precise descriptions of landmarks, species and resources. But how did it happen that “sentiment, imagination, and the graces have been banished” (Voltaire, Letter to Cideville) from 18th century literature. In her article “Science, planetary consciousness, interiors” author Mary Louise Pratt argues that the change in travel writing in the 18th century promoted a new type of planetary consciousness, thus triggering a shift in European colonial policies....   [tags: Charles Darwin Voyage of the Beagle]

Research Papers
1901 words (5.4 pages)

Andrea Yates and the Drowning of Her Kids Essay

- Andrea Yates and the Drowning of Her Kids How does a perfectly normal woman, living in a typical suburban neighborhood wind up in jail on charges of murdering her five children. On June20, 2001, Rusty Yates receives a call from his wife Andrea to return home from work. He learns that his wife of eight years has systematically drowned each of his five children in the family bath tub. She is arrested in Texas on charges of capitol murder and is convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Andrea Yates was born in Houston, Texas on July 2, 1964....   [tags: Andrea Yates Mental Disorders Murder Essays]

Free Essays
882 words (2.5 pages)

Robert Browning’s Andrea del Sarto Essay

- Robert Browning’s Andrea del Sarto Lucrezia del Sarto (To My Dear Husband) My dear husband, put away your plate of bread Or, pray you, hand it to the dogs; the sun Has but an hour to make its mid-way trek, And here sit you etching pewter with crust, And smearing cheese and jam with lazy thumbs. Ah, yes. Kiss me so. Then kiss me better To smother my lips. Your artlessness is What makes me smile so, dear, and not your kiss. No, I will speak. And should you be so kind As to listen, you’ll find me plainly spoken....   [tags: Andrea del Sarto]

Research Papers
1634 words (4.7 pages)

Essay on Magical and Realistic Elements in The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship

- Magical and Realistic Elements in The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship   Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in a small Colombian town in 1928 and has written many short stories and novels over the years. One of his short stories, "The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship", published in 1972, is in a book called A Hammock Beneath the Mangoes that was published in 1991. This was an interesting story and had many magical and realistic elements.   The main magical element in this story would be the ghost ship, but many others exist, too....   [tags: Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship]

Research Papers
1105 words (3.2 pages)

Mental Endurance in Endurance Shackleton's Incredible Voyage Essay

- Mental Endurance in Alfred Lansing's Endurance Shackleton's Incredible Voyage In Endurance Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing recounts the tale of one of the greatest successes of the Twentieth Century. Ironically, Lansing's detailed account of the 1915 Trans-Antarctic Expedition illuminates the stark reality that Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition did not fulfill its goal. In fact, the expedition never even set foot upon the continent that they had intended to cross. The outstanding success of that motley crew of adventurers was in their ability to endure the harsh Antarctic climate....   [tags: Endurance Shackleton's Incredible Voyage]

Research Papers
1574 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on Andrea

- The myth of Andrea`s first love is a story of the things anger causes a person to do and the power it gives someone. As one of many of the daughters of Zeus and Hera, Andrea was young, beautiful and wealthy. She lived on Mount Olympus with her maid in a beautiful palace made of gold and exquisite carvings which was given as a gift from Hestia. There was never anything that made her special from her many other brothers and sisters. She didn’t have a hundred hands, powers or talents. Zeus thought she may be mortal like his other 32 children who became leaders of different states of Greece....   [tags: Creative Writing Essays]

Research Papers
1087 words (3.1 pages)

Related Searches

Once they leave for the voyage it will be the women who stay at home, and only dream and imagine what an expedition to the arctic would be like. Alexandra, Lavinia's friend is now staying at the Well's house to keep Lavinia company, while Erasmus was gone. As the women can only dream the things that Erasmus and Zeke now experience; although they themselves are longing for some glory or recognition. In this part of the novel the author expresses through the characters that the women didn't have much rights because they were counted lower than men and one could have little chance to earn the glory and fame as much as men did. As she read a book from one of the Franklin voyages to Lavinia she herself felt sort of "locked up" while the adventurous explorers traveled through the seas. Lavinia too, could only imagine herself there, on the ship with Zeke. She would give anything to be there.

The author reveals more and more about Zeke's hungry ambition for fame and glory. Zeke's goal as Erasmus discovers to his cost, is not just to find the Franklin party but be the man who did. He being the commander he was in charge of everything. Now they sailed further through the arctic. There was glaciers every where. Zeke so far guided the ship with captain Tyler. Everyone has been dependent on his knowledge of the maps. Some of the previous whaling men remembered these grounds from when they went with the whaling vessels. But as they drew nearer they were amazed at the scenes of enormous ice bergs and at the nature in here. They were to make their way through some land passages pulling the ship and between the ice burgs squeezing between, and head up to King William Land, where it is believed that Franklin Ships had gotten lost. The men were already getting tired and worked out by the days work in the below freezing temperature. Although Zeke lifted their spirits by telling them, stories about Franklin's men and their adventures, it was the hope of future success that kept them going from day to day. Some times they stopped at some places, to hunt, gather specimen or study the landscapes.

The Ships surgeon Dr. Boerhaave, turned out to be a naturist himself. As Erasmus soon found out he was better educated then him. He said that at one point he had the two jobs on a ship, the surgeon and ship naturist. But he admitted that it was a relief to have one job to focus on better. As they both became friends things on the ship got harder and harder. Soon they found contact with one of the Esquimaux tribes whom they traded needles and knives for a dozen sledge dogs. Erasmus with the help of Dr. Boerhaave, collected some specimen which he preserved securely. They collected plants that he's never seen before. He would jot notes in his journal describing the life and beautiful scenery in here. Everyone was trying to record this piece of their life. Every one would somehow long to be recognized for this hardship that they went through.

As they move through the frozen lands, the sledge dogs slowly died out, even the commander's personal pet which he adopted as a baby. So now they are forced to pull the ship themselves. Finally when they have reached the other side they ship further until they discover an Esquimaux tribe. Joe who is the ship's only interpreter knows their language. They come in contact with them and are treated friendly. Commander Voorhees demands information about any ships that they might have seen. The Esquimaux at first deny seeing any ships. Then after another visit to them, when they offered gifts to them they confessed that their hunters spotted a boat once but the men were dead in it, they clamed that it drowned and nothing is left anymore. They brought out some relics that they took from there. Later the men traded the Esquimaux knives, needles and other things for fresh meat.

The relationship between Zeke and Erasmus slowly splits as you go further through the novel. The Barrett uses different techniques to express how their motives are different from each other. Erasmus is somehow looking for evidence to piece together the natural history of the arctic. Zeke on the other hand is looking for any evidence of the Franklin men. But himself he can't sleep when he hears any news of the Franklin. He is aspired by the fame and glory after he finds Franklin men, that soon that's all he cares about.
In pursuit of personal glory he is more than willing to sacrifice the ship and the crew. Although other characters disagree with commander Voorhees, they soon start to despise him. In here is where the conflict soon begins. The characters soon realize Zeke's selfishness and very little can put up with him anymore. After they recover some of the relics of Franklin boat they now plan to leave before they get caught in the winter. On one of the exploration trips that they were on, one of the crew members gets really sick, and after a while he dies. After this the men even more want to go home.

Therefore nothing would stop Zeke's ambition to search for the open polar sea, which could bring him so much fame and fortune. Now he announces that they were to go further south and hopefully plot some land before they go home. They were to search farther and extend the map, and then before the winter they would leave. Unfortunately the weather got worse and worse as they went further. On day they went out to try to hunt something and another crew member falls through the broken ice and drowns. This shows even more that the more they try to reach something such as fame for selfish purposes the worse it gets the worse it gets. The crew is already tired and only complains about Zeke's fault. But to the expeditions gain they discover new places and they name them. Finally when they head home, they find their way blocked by a dense mass of ice that has floated in since they entered the basin. The crew worried they don't have enough supplies to last the whole winter.

Through the many things that happen during the novel, the moral in some ways is always pointing to the main theme of the book. Possibly if they would not have taken this part of the trip and went home without the fame, but just with the discoveries they made maybe then they wouldn't lose the Franklin artifacts later in the story, and wouldn't get separated with Zeke like they had. On one of the trips the group with Zeke go with the Esquimaux hunters to their village to get help for their crew which majority is sick from lack of vitamins. When they gladly helped and gave fresh meat to the group, their member Joe who is the interpreter abandons them and leaves for Green Land. And on the way back the ice cracks and Dr. Boerhaave slips under. And yet again when Zeke wants to leave to explore the coast while the ship is in ice, no one comes with him this time.

The author uses characterization to express the main idea through the novel. Zeke's ambition characterizes him as an energetic, courageous, but also "meanspirited deviousness."(160) This shows that he is striving for his goal and do anything to complete it, he is going after his long waited dreams. However that he is mean spirited shows that he cares more about himself than anyone else. However Erasmus is somewhat the opposite. He is described by his "dithering indecision" but he is kind hearted. In many cases it is showed that he cares more about other people and focuses on finding the truth rather than striving for fame and glory. It is important how the author characterizes people because in this novel through the character's own feelings or thoughts the story is revealed. Omniscient point of view adds more detail and a wider range of views. The story is told from different sets of eyes.
Now the author creates a certain type of irony. When Zeke doesn't come back by the certain time appointed, they plan the trip to leave. The crew is short on supplies and would never last through another winter. By this time the ice was supposed to melt but never did, so they must make the journey on foot. After hard weeks they make it to the Baffin Bay where they sight a whaling vessel. The men think the voyage was a loss, because they lost the Franklin artifacts, they lost the ship, and now with Zeke gone they lost their wages. Some go with the seal hunters to make up for the wages lost on the expedition. But Erasmus now lost all hope for any recognition, he failed again. His sister can't even look in his face anymore. He just tried to save the crew, but failed to Zeke.
Return to