The way Conrad and Wharton shape our response to their novellas.
A fundamental difference between the two novellas is the different worlds in which their story is set. Wharton uses the appropriate name of, ‘Starkfield’ where Ethan’s barren farm is situated. This already disheartening name of the town builds up the atmosphere of the bleak life which Ethan lives. This is heightened in comparison to Freya who lives in prosperity and relaxes in exquisite tropical islands with picturesque waters. Jasper and Freya have a chance to escape with the ‘Bonito’ but Ethan and Mattie have nothing. Conrad sets his world in, “a particularly calm and cloudless spot as a rule.” He portrays the idyllic place ...view middle of the document...
However Jasper has his head in the clouds and is not down to earth about the situation. When Conrad talks about Jasper he becomes very poetical,
“Jasper had gone straight to the balustrade. The sky was full of stars, and in the blue velvety night the cove below had a denser blackness, in which the riding-lights of the brig and of the gunboat glimmered redly, like suspended sparks,”
He uses this colourful style to show Jasper’s character in a dreamlike world. When his brig is destroyed and he is away from Freya he makes no attempt to get back to her and becomes a wasted man. When Freya’s father goes to Jasper, after the brig was destroyed, and tries to get Jasper to come to her jasper is described as, “eyes sunk an inch into his head; nothing but skin on the bones of his face, a skeleton in white clothes.”Conrad shapes are response to jasper’s outcome by describing him in this way, showing he is no longer the captain loved by a beautiful girl any more. Jasper becomes a ghost of himself and has no care in the world. Even when given the chance he does not go back. By contrast, Ethan would almost definitely have done anything to be with Mattie.
Conrad’s Freya, named after a goddess, is described when first introduced to the reader:
“The oval of her face was perfect; and within that fascinating frame the most happy disposing of line and feature, with an admirable complexion, gave an impression of health, strength, and what I might call unconscious self-confidence”
Conrad makes a grand, theatrical female than the compares to simple Mattie which Wharton presents as a timid and vulnerable girl. However they deal with their situations very differently and they are brought up very differently. Mattie is very poor and is a maid in Ethan’s house. She is very young but Ethan falls in love with this energetic girl. Mattie loves Ethan and only wants to have a simple life with the person she loves; she feels that Ethan and she could never really live together away from everyone and that she could not live without him. So Mattie decides she wants to die with him than never be with him again. They talk about sledging into an elm tree and Mattie says she wants to do it,” so ‘t we’d never have to leave each other anymore.”Wharton shows how strong their love is and that the thought of leaving each other is devastating. However Freya falls in love with a handsome man with an impressive brig. But when the brig is destroyed and their escape is ruined she does not try to get to Jasper, she just wastes away and gives up and the doctors say she had anaemia but the narrator really knows that is not true. He says to Old Nelson, “don’t you see she died because if it.” She had a dream in her head to run away with Jasper on the ‘bonito,’ Jasper’s brig, but this is destroyed and she cannot handle it. Freya could have gone to find Jasper to be with him but decided against it, so she just wasted away in the end because of being separated from Jasper and the...