Goin' Souf

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"Writers may use such symbols as they stand, as well as adapt other conventional concepts or events to give them personal or exclusive meanings, For example, the voyage as a symbol of self-discovery is a motif in such books as The Odyssey, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Heart of Darkness." (Hamilton 86)

I'm pretty sure this is the 8 millionth time I've heard something about a trip being a symbol for self-discovery. In How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Foster says on page 3, in bold, "The real reason for a quest is always self-knowledge." I remember hearing that when characters go south, it's a symbol of searching within themselves, but I forgot the source. Hence the title.

I get the point by now. Go back home.

6 Comments

Foster touches on the significance of going south.

I wonder if the "going south" image also stands for literature written in Australia or South Africa (or anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere)...

Jessie Farine said:

I thought it was Foster, but I didn't want to assume and then be wrong.

I wonder what going north would symbolize... the opposite of searching within? Something completely different?

Greta Carroll said:

Jessie, I feel your pain, that idea has certainly been drilled into our heads. But that is an interesting question, what would going north mean? However, I would say it means the same thing. As long as the character is going somewhere, he or she is on a quest. In an earlier blog, I talked about how whether the character was going south or some other direction, we as the reader still need to pay attention for self-growth. If you want to check it out, here it is: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/GretaCarroll/2008/02/going_south_the_double_whammy.html

Stephanie Wytovich said:

I think that you make an interesting point Jesse. If south is self-discovery, can north be losing ones-self? I know that I've read a few books for characters have gone North to lose themselves and hide from others, normally leading to the insanity factor, but hey everything stands for something in literature so maybe that can be a possibility, but then again, but its not, haha.

Angela Palumbo said:

Good connection Jessie. I thought about this too when I read these lines. Honestly though, I like the way that Foster said it better. It was wetter (haha. i mean not as dry).

Erica Gearhart said:

These are great questions. I wonder if what Dr. Jerz mentioned applies to going north as well. I think that it really depends on what part of the world the literature is being written in. When I think of south, I think of a warm climate, vacations, etc., but Anarctica is also in the south and this is definitely not a warm vacation spot, or a place where I would want to go for self reflection.

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Erica Gearhart on Goin' Souf: These are great questions. I
Angela Palumbo on Goin' Souf: Good connection Jessie. I tho
Stephanie Wytovich on Goin' Souf: I think that you make an inter
Greta Carroll on Goin' Souf: Jessie, I feel your pain, that
Jessie Farine on Goin' Souf: I thought it was Foster, but I
Dennis G. Jerz on Goin' Souf: Foster touches on the signific