Ship Fever – Soroche

I found Soroche to be an interesting story, one that in many ways resembles The Behavior of Hawkweeds. Both stories revolve around female characters who live in the shadows of their husbands and who come from modest immigrant backgrounds. In the case of Zaga, her background is vastly different from that of her husband, and as his wife, she gets to experience things that she had never imagined. Nevertheless, life is not exactly smooth sailing. Zaga finds it difficult to build a relationship with both her step-children and husband’s friends, and she is constantly having to live in the shadow of Joel’s former-wife. Meanwhile, her new lifestyle alienates her from her biological family, and it is evident that she feels alone, especially when Joel passes away. 

Andrea Barrett draws a parallel between Jemmy Button and Zaga. Jemmy is the native of Tierra del Fuega taken on the Beagle with Darwin. He is taken away from his family and transformed, in many ways, into an entirely different person.  When Jemmy is returned, he is not accepted initially and is mistreated and abused for a good while. Zaga experiences the same treatment when she squanders her inherited fortune after Joel’s death and attempts to rebuild a relationship with her family. Although she is not physically abused, she is not accepted with open arms. Nevertheless, both Zaga and Jemmy admit to being happier when they return to their roots.

Jemmy’s story, however, slightly differs from that of Zaga. Zaga chose her destiny; Jemmy did not. And realizing this, Zaga has deep regrets. Still, it seemed that she was beginning to accept that her past with Joel was something that she could not change and that being with her family and returning to her roots would bring her with some peace. Nonetheless, Zaga has trouble with the fact that she was never able to have a child of her own. And now that she is too old and her siblings all have children, Zaga has a void that may never be filled.

                                                                                                         – Stephen O’Connell


~ by oconneds on February 18, 2008.

One Response to “Ship Fever – Soroche”

  1. Your blog entries certainly are literary. You never seem to express an opinion of your own or range beyond interpreting the reading. Far be it from me, though, to discourage a budding literary critic.

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