Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Rites of Passage - post II

This is quickly becoming a book about class with the narrator to blame for several problems connected with it.

The first problem is that by effectively blackmailing the captain into talking to him by dropping his connections the ship’s captain feels undermined. As a result in an attempt to reassert his authority the captain demolishes the parson. In a scene of drunken breakdown the parson disgraces himself and then takes to his bunk and will not move – even to use the facilities.

On the other front the lieutenant who has risen up from the ranks from the a common sailor is offended when it is pointed out to him that you can never leave your past behind. That comment clearly rankles and there is a scene later on when the narrator is confronted with a need to explain and justify the remark.

The book runs along smoothly but you cannot make up your mind quite what category this falls into. Is it a comedy? It certainly has its comic moments. Is it a social commentary on the British class system at the time of the Empire and within touching distance of the era of Nelson? It does display the sort of people travelling to discover a new life.

Maybe the ambition of Golding will become clearer in the next couple of day’s reading.

More tomorrow…

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