The concept of foreign or foreigner in story writing does not merely mean one person living abroad away from home. The idea of alien or foreigner in comprehends the tone of narrators when they tell the story of characters whose surroundings including objects are unfamiliar.
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Being foreigner or in foreign means that the character is actually in a state of understanding things and people around who are not familiar.
Another way of understanding the meaning of being overseas is to understand the state of a person when he or she is staying in a place where things become automatically unfamiliar.
Even though a person is living in the same country and the same region, but there comes a time when a person undergoes the feeling of becoming unfamiliar.
This paper aims to discuss how the two famous authors namely Edgar Allan Poe and Ernst Hemingway tries to use the concept of foreign and foreigner in their short stories.
The two stories which had been selected for the analysis are Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe and Indian Camp by Ernst Hemingway.
The concept of foreign had been the basic tone of most of the narrators when it comes to illustrating a story through words. There had been many authors and story writers who had been using the tone foreign or characters who more acted as foreigners in the course of the stories.
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The foreigners had an association with the characters in a way that led to a stronger meaning of the overall story. The two famous authors in this regard are Edgar Allan Poe and Ernst Hemingway.
Many other famous authors and story writers could also be listed but for more evident examples of usage of the concept of foreign and foreigner.
Ernst Hemingway is a famous writer who had employed the tone of foreigner more often in his characters. Several stories such as Indian Camp, End of Something and Cross-country Snow, etc. are some of the stories in which we can find the concept of foreign and foreigner more evidently.
The author had used the concept of foreign in different dimensions. For instance, the projection of the character of Nick in the story The Indian Camp illustrates objects around him to be new to him. The author had shown Nick unfamiliar with the way life is.
The story illustrates the event of child birth which Nick experienced along with his father who did the delivery of the baby. The character had been shown to come across with facts about life in the course of the story.
Nick was unfamiliar with the fact that a woman undergoes such a pain when she gives birth to a child. Development of Nick’s understanding of the concept of childbirth helps us in understanding the tone of being foreign.
“I’m sorry I brought you along; Nickie,” said his father, all his post-operative exhilaration gone. “It was an awful mess to put you through. Do ladies always have such a hard time having babies?” Nick asked (Hemingway, 1977, p. 18).
The narration of the story had been done in a way that the character Nick becomes aware of the fact that humans need to understand their roles and should be aware of the ways that could be taken to go through challenges.
A person will be defeated at the moment when he avoids understanding the reality of life. The author had made use of the tone of being foreign in the course of the story when he comes across the operation procedure of the pregnant woman as well as when father suicides in a new country.
The author had set the scene in India that automatically takes the reader to a trance where things are far more different from what one would expect in western societies. The author had indirectly elaborated the differences of societies with the usage of being a foreigner to another country.
By introducing the instants of being in foreign locations, the author tries to compare and contrast between different places and people.
With the usage of a foreign country in the story, the author elaborates that the people in the foreign country did not have significant information regarding childbirth. Such a claim presents the foreigners and foreign locations to be inferior.
Such an inclusion by the author gives a new dimension to the story. The usage of ’foreign’ and ‘foreigner’ automatically gives a transition in the story.
Similar usage of foreigner tone had been observed in the stories by Edgar Allan Poe. The book The Gold Bug and Other Tales includes short stories by Edgar Allan Poe.
If we pick out different characters from each of the stories by Alan Edgar Poe, then we can come across many examples and stylistics of tone of foreign.
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The author has a habit of projecting his characters in situations where they often meet persons and situations that are not actually what they wanted to be with. A similar example could be taken from the short story Ligeia.
The story narrator tells the story of the woman Ligeia with a tone of being foreign. The narrator tries to elaborate on the ways through which he got to know about Ligeia.
The instant in the story that indicates the usage of foreign tone is when the narrator finds the way to tries to tell the readers about the woman Ligeia.
The narrator had been projecting to narrate the personality of Ligeia, but he is unsure and unfamiliar with the past of Ligeia.
That’s the very instant in the story that expounds us about the uncertainty of a person. Such an example from the story helps us in understanding the tone of being foreign about something.
The author had further used the tone of being foreign with the fact that the narrator tries to move to another place which is far away from his actual position. The transition to another place works as a constituent to make the effects of narration stronger and enhanced.
Edgar Alan Poe is famous for the usage of narrators in his stories. Thus most of the stylistics of the story writing would be visible with by an avid analysis of the narrator. Therefore understanding foreign and foreigner can be easy by focusing the narrator.
The narrator had been projected to move to Abbey in England where nothing remains the same for him. Everything in his environment changes that work as a source of new happenings in his life.
After moving to Abbey, the narrator gets married to another woman who is a foreigner to the narrator. He does not understand why he was with a new person. The narrator shows us a person who tries to run away from the reality and memories of Ligeia he loved the most.
“The riddle, so far, was now unriddled…..Of my country and my family, I have little to say. Ill usage and length of years have…..” (Poe, 1991, p. 4)
Thus from the story analysis of Ligeia, we come across the fact that there is two way through which the author Edgar Allan Poe tries to expound the concept of foreign and foreigner.
Moreover, the concept of foreign and foreigner comes in understanding with compare and contrast of the two women in the stories.
The new lady is Anglo-Saxon while Ligeia was a dark haired woman from the Rhine. Thus two different regions had been presented with a distinction in the course of the story.
Similar encounters had been noted in other stories by Edgar Allan Poe such as in the stories the black Cat, Hop-Frog, The Oval Portrait, etc.
Similar usage of foreign and foreigner had been done by other authors such as Herman Melville in his famous novel Moby dick. The usage of foreign and foreigner had helped the author to provide a distinction between religions as it is one of the most used themes of the novel.
Another example of usage of the concept of foreign and foreigner is evident in the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost.
The poet had shown the main subject of the poem to be unfamiliar with the woods; he reaches one snowy evening. The unfamiliarity with such a place compels him to ask certain questions in the course of the poem.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow (Frost, 2002, p. 167).
Through the analysis of the above two stories, it comes to our understanding that the concept of foreign and foreigner works as an imperative transition in the stories.
The foreign locations such as India in Indian camp and England in Ligeia had provided transitions in the story as the inclusion of such foreign county had been done to make the message of the story stronger.
The usage of the concept of foreign helps the characters of the stories to either understand their surroundings through which they are often unfamiliar.
Frost, R. (2002). Robert Frost’s Poems. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Hemingway, E. (1977). In Our Time. Columbia: Bruccoli Clark Books.
Poe, E. (1991). The Gold-bug and other Tales. New York: Courier Dover Publications.