Paula I Arraiza

The Solitude of Traveling

Edward Hopper, Morning Sun (1952)

Progymn: Impersonation

 “His figures look as though they’re far from home, they’re in search of work, sex, or company, adrift in transient places. And, yet, they seem to hint that there might be something consoling, glamorous, sexy, even, in traveling alone. Far from home, in the road to nowhere in particular” (de Bottom 30:49)

It’s the first time in my entire life I’ve had the courage to go somewhere by myself. The road took me to this big, wide, city where I don’t know a soul. It’s all so new and different, so exciting yet nerve-wracking. I look outside the window as a slideshow of old memories replays in my mind. All of my friends, family, and happiest moments echo inside of my head as I sit on a bed inside a nearly empty hotel room. I left everything I knew behind for a quick break from reality, wanting to get in touch with myself. I ended up somewhere where no one knew my name. I’ve been alone with my thoughts for the first time in forever, making me feel as if I don’t know myself anymore. I’m not the same person I was a few days ago and will never be her again. In a city full of strangers, it feels like I am the biggest stranger of them all. I came here with one goal, and that is to find myself. I’ve barely even been here, and I have already discovered more about myself than I had during my entire life. As the hours pass while I look out into hundreds of skyscrapers, I slowly begin to understand myself. I realize there is no way I’ll go back home being the same person I left.


I decided to do an impersonation of the woman in Hopper’s paintings, based on de Bottom’s description of his style of painting. I tried to capture what I felt when looking at the image and made a story to go along with it. When looking at the woman in the painting, it feels as if she’s staring out into the city with hope and excitement, yet there is still a sense of nostalgia involved in the picture. These feelings evoked by the image inspired me to write a short description from her point of view, basically writing what I feel like she would be thinking as staring outside that window.



5 replies on “The Solitude of Traveling”

I love that you impersonated a painting. That is just so creative. I think it is nice that you put in the explanation, but I got what you were doing without it! Especially with the painting in at the top. I would only say maybe put the picture at the bottom so it makes the reader come full circle and a title at the top that hits to what your writing about. But, regardless, I really like what you did.

I really like your angle in this, and your use of the image is excellent. I like how you took such a unique path at tackling this progym, and you also seem to tie in description and narrative, almost like ekphrasis. The imagery and background you create in your impersonation is really good, and it connects well to several of the themes that de Botton talks about. For one, de Botton talked a lot about how travel alone can be lonely and also very intriguing, and you use his example and the narrative to touch on these really well. This is the first time I’ve seen someone tackle a progym in this way and I think its really good.

I really enjoy this! I haven’t read every blog post our classmates have done but this one is my favorite that I have read. It seems like you’ve combined what Cohn wrote about in reference to visual rhetoric and what we learned from de Botton in his documentary. I’m not sure if it was intentional but putting the picture that you talk about first gives us, the reader, the ability to make our own conjectures about how we feel about it and then you give us a bit of your thoughts on it which I felt was excellently done. Honestly, I had some of the same thoughts you did in regard to how you analyzed Hopper’s work. I do wonder one thing though, was your story something you pulled from your own life or just something you made up? It seemed full of depth and just got me thinking. Anyway, fantastic job I loved reading it!

Thank you so much, Phillip! Since the definition of an impersonation said it was imitating someone else, I tried to not pull from my own experiences. Instead, I tried to create some sort of character that I felt went along with the feelings the painting evoked as well as de Bottom’s description of Hopper’s style.

This is truly one of the most interesting blog posts I have seen from our class so far. Deciding to take a picture and putting yourself in that person’s position and becoming them is such an interesting rhetoric technique and worked really well. I also enjoyed your explanation behind why you did it as it really gave me an insight into your thought process.

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