I feel in both of these narrations, the Americans are being taken advantage of due to their own negligence, though on the basis of different things. In Journey into Night, I feel that it revolves around Americans being taken advantage of by the system of travel itself (albeit this can be applied to anyone, but he’s American so that’s where I’ll be focusing). In Trespass, the American is being taken advantage of by another culture, and the lack of understanding of society. I wonder if this has to do with something similar found within American society that leads these two to be taken advantage of.
Sedaris talks about how paying thousands of dollars more gets him stares because of his placement on the plane and the way other passengers and the cabin crew associate with him. What I found interesting is the way he relates to people seeing him in a better part of the plane to seeing regular-looking people step out of a limo. It’s strange the way that we relate wealth and placement on a plane to placement in society and then to importance. Whereas Theroux is being sexually manipulated and then monetarily abused, in part to his own negligence and ignorance.
This plays into the tourist gaze we’ve been discussing so much in class because of the ways in which both of these men are viewing the world, and how their views are altered as their narration continues. At the start of each of their pieces, both authors don’t seem to have a fully fleshed out idea of how they’re viewing the world or at least the lens they’re looking through for their experiences. Though, in the end, both narrators seem to find what they were lacking before. Sedaris, satirically, details the ways in which he understands class and travel, and Theroux understands that he should look for the signs of when he’s being taken advantage of and not to put so much trust in strangers in a foreign land.