Phillip Wade Wilson

Comparison Between Journey into Night and Trespass

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. 

5 replies on “Comparison Between Journey into Night and Trespass”

This is a great comparison. I like the similarity that both narrators come to a new conclusion on how they are perceiving the situation that they are in. It would be interesting if you dived deeper into how those conclusions differ. Is one more excepting of the people around them and the other more cautious? I think both narrators uncover the deeper interconnections of the culture their in: the culture of Malawi/the culture of an airplane. I also think it is important to highlight how situational both of these experiences are even though they are somewhat common situations.

I like your comparison here, as I do agree that these two readings are similar in a way and that both authors seem to learn something important from their experiences. I also agree that both have something to do with the tourist, and particularly the American’s, naivete. Something else that perhaps you could add is whether the two authors uncovered that they didn’t know the cultures that they came into contact with as well as they had thought. Did they maybe assume that they were similar to or familiar enough with the culture to avoid exploitation? Just an idea, though I think your writing on the two pieces does reveal a lot of good thoughts.

I really enjoyed your thoughts on comparing our last two readings. I agree that in both, Americans are being manipulated through the means of travel. Sedaris decides to fly first class and be more boujee in his travel, while Theroux has a very interesting experience in getting sexually manipulated in Zambia. Typically, travel is a way to make people closer to each other, but both readings make this appear to be quite hard. Americans tend to be quite naive when it comes to travel, allowing them to be taken advantage of more easily and also making them quite unaware of their traveling ways.

You did a great job connecting the two readings, finding how the two similarly reflect on the tourist’s gaze. You briefly mentioned in the beginning, when talking about Trespass, how someone is taken advantage of due to their lack of understanding of another culture. Do you believe this also connects to the reading we did previously on how the difference in between cultures can illuminate someone about their own culture? At the end of the reading the author admitted that he felt more American after his experience.

This is a really great comparison to the different situations that transpired in the readings, and I noticed what you pointed out, I never fully thought it through until now. When Thorea was being taken advantage of sexually, I didn’t look too much on that side since he had taken refuge, but now that you pointed out the importance of what had happened to him. But I think the situations of these articles can be viewed differently depending on the angle. The different angles are a little more obvious in the passage about the airport, and the culture shock that comes with monetary value and respect. With other instances of culture and how people perceive, one question I’m pondering is if it is always easy to see the different angles on different societies we have read about?

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