Free Essay

”Flotsam and Jetsam” by Allan Bissett, 2012.

In: English and Literature

Submitted By frederikkeremo
Words 1001
Pages 5
Everyone loves a vacation, a time where you can get away from the everyday stress, lay back and really relax. But in some places this relaxation is ruined, not because of bad weather or illness, but because of the natives thrusting for your money. We all hate the feeling of the na-tives pulling us towards them when passing a restaurant or trying to sell us something, only seeing us as a money machine. This is the problem the main character “Kate” a Scottish girl on vacation on Zanzibar, faces in Allan Bissett’s short story “Flotsam and Jetsam” 2012.

The narrative point of view in the Short story “Flotsam and Jetsam” is in 3ird person narrative with a limited non-omniscient point of view. The story follows the main character “Kate” and her vacation on Zanzibar, her thoughts are not written down, but there is use of hesitation in what she is saying and direct written of her feelings, that makes it feel like we are reading her thoughts “Just reading it made her the sort of dizzy teenagers feel when first in love.” “She opened her mouth then closed it, scanning his intensions.” A limited narrator can be very unre-liable because the reader only sees the situation from one perspective instead of more, and it is difficult to be aware of all the important events.

The story takes place in the physical setting of Zanzibar, but this story isn’t only referring to Zanzibar but all other Eastern places that depend on tourist and their money. At the beginning of this short story the setting is described very Beautiful “Kate shielded her eyes to gaze at the, the boats conjuring scenes from fantasy novels of her youth.” In this specific example it is al-most described as a fairy-tail. But the further you read the more ugly and unpleasant the set-ting becomes “It was only when her eyes caught the hawkers patrolling back and forth, target-ing tourists, that grit entered the idyll.” Here the people of Zanzibar are starting to annoy and change the way she sees Zanzibar. Throughout the story the setting is described very welcom-ing “The hotel gates had opened to her as though it were preordained from birth, uniformed Zanzibarians bowing as she’d entered.” But still it seems as though Kate doesn’t feel welcome “After all, she was the intruder here.” This can be to the fact that her life is very different from the people of Zanzibar and that she feels she is a bother to them.

Gerda: an acquaintance of Kate’s, had said before Kate leaving “They don’t like white people in Africa, Kate.” This has made Kate want to prove Gerda wrong, therefor she is very open minded towards the African people at first. But when she finds out all the people being friend-ly to her just want her money, telling her to come scuba diving and that they have a so called “very good price” for her, it start to irritate her “she hadn’t even stopped by the sixth, instead waved him away and headed towards the sanctuary of a beach restaurant.” And just when she thinks she had found a safe place from the spectacle “Its major selling point was that when hawkers approached, the owner would growl at the in Kiswahili and they’d troop moodily away.” And a real friendly African: “Mustapha” the owner of the restaurant. She is proven wrong “My cousin run snorkelling tour. Very good price. You like?”

A key point and theme for this text is the economical difference between the western and eastern part of the world. Kate sees Zanzibar as a country filled with poverty and hunger, but Mustapha means that Zanzibar is very rich compared to other African countries “But not Zan-zibar. We have tourist. We have island.” This example clearly shows how different the idea of poverty is, In Scotland and the rest of the western world, poverty is seen in amount of materi-al goods, as for Zanzibar it is seen as the opportunities and human conditions such as clean drinking water, a roof over your head and job opportunities. This is very difficult for someone like Kate who comes from the western part of the world.

“Flotsam and Jetsam” which is the title of the short story, doesn’t refer to pollution due to en-vironmental matters, but refers to pollution due to economic matters. The people of Zanzibar are polluted by the thought of money that we western people bring when on vacation. The fact that they are trying to be nice, and giving a “very good price” is an act. Many people who have travelled to these parts of the world know that this price isn’t god for a common resident in that country, and most of the times it is possible to bargain the price down to half they were offering.

This story shows well what lack of money can do to a nation, how it poisons the peoples minds making them do all sorts of embarrassing and un human things such as begging and irritating a lot of people. But it’s not only having no money that can interfere with people. Having a lot of money and then coming to at country where everything is inexpensive to us makes people greedy. If we on the first day eat for 5$ and we the next day have to eat for 8$ we find this high-priced compared to what we had the day before, when in these countries one shouldn’t think of what the money is worth to themselves but what its worth to the peo-ple in need, 3$ is a very small amount for someone in the western world, but for a person in need that 3$ extra is a weeks pay. This story is all about what money has brought to this world and what a problem and how ugly people get it is just like ”Flotsam and Jetsam”.

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