The Ambiguity of Flight

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I know Chapter fifteen deals with flight. I really liked everything that Foster had to say about flight and the characters who posses the ability. However, I was left wondering about the other meaning of the word flight; as in, from something.

I think, especially through the books that we've read so far, this kind of flight has been much more obvious. Whether it was Gatsby and Daisy fleeing from the murder that they committed or the Joads fleeing west. The young woman also attempt to fly from her life and responsibilities.

That said, I don't think that this changes Foster's thesis. Flight still equals freedom, even with the new definition. The Joads think that they are fleeing to a great land where all of their problems can be solved. The young woman thinks that everything will be better if she kills her husband. It seems to me that in much the same way that literal flying frees the characters; so does the act of fleeing. Running from something seems to be just as liberarating as flying. Did Foster mean to present this ambiguity? Probably not, but I can appreciate the double edged side of his statement.

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4 Comments

Andrew Adams said:

I don't think he meant to present this ambiguity, simply because he does it in pretty much every chapter, because obviously literature itself is ambiguous. I talked in my blog about how writers will break the rules just to do it, so I don't like the idea of this book as a whole.

Jennifer Prex said:

I agree with Andrew in the sense that I don't think Foster meant to present this ambiguity. Even though he does write about many different types of flight throughout the chapter, all of them have to do with literally or figuratively leaving the ground or having the possibility of doing so. At the same time, I agree that flight in terms of fleeing part of one's life can provide just as much freedom as airborne flight.

Julianne Banda said:

I also agree. Like Andrew said writing is ambiguous, and I agree with him about not liking the idea of the book as a whole. I agree with you Carlos, when I think of flight in literature I think of freedom and fleeing. Books rarely use flight to represent actually flying unless it's a war type book or the character is going from one place to another, in which they could be feeling from a place. The whole idea of flight could be taken either way, I think it just depends on how you look at it and the context of it.

Alicia Campbell said:

Although I took Foster's chapter to mean literally flying, I can see how flight can be from something. But it makes me consider that flight cannot be freeing in this sense. Characters such as Daisy, the Joads, and Henry may be fleeing from something, but are they really being freed? Are they not left with guilt and other feelings associated with that from which they are fleeing? Especially Henry, who does not always escape to a safe and sound environment, and is forced to abandon his family.

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