Michelle's blog

October 6th, 2010

journey motif

Posted by michellemartins in Uncategorized

While reading Colon Whitehead’s essay “Brooklyn Bridge” I found myself finding many similarities between this essay and the novel The Grapes of Wrath. I guess the main reason why I kept relating this essay to the Grapes of Wrath was because of the idea of a journey taking place throughout the essay. In the Grapes of Wrath, the Joads leave everything and journey off to California in search of jobs and the novel explains the struggles that they face along the way. The motif of journey is seen throughout The Grapes of Wrath and similarly the journey motif is seen in “Brooklyn Bridge” by Colon Whitehead.

The piece is written so that Whitehead is telling us a story. This story is about the journey that a women is taking across the Brooklyn Bridge. That’s all right? Is this whole essay just about a girl going over a bridge, crossing over from one side and going to the other? At first you may think so, but as you continue to read on you realize that there is more to this story than someone crossing over a bridge; we discover that this journey over the bridge is so much more.

The piece begins with a women getting onto the bridge. She knows where this bridge leads to. We know this right away from the first lines of the essay, “It’s over there, that striated island, cut up carved out and waiting” (99). When the women gets onto the bridge there is a clear destination, which is Manhattan. She gets onto the bridge with a purpose, which is to get to the other side, and get away from the crowd of immigrants which she is a part of. “Her whole history hordes behind her with its unfashionable are code and immigrant spices”(99) “She steps on the bridge to exit” (100).

Throughout her journey she encounters challenges. These challenges include dealing with the unknown and whether or not she should continue on in her journey, “Up here everything is hazy” (102). She is faced with making decisions as to whether or not she will continue going. “Refugees pass her going the other way and she wonders what they know that she doesn’t. Forsaking what she seeks, concrete walkway becomes wooden slats and less assured” (100). In the end the overall journey isn’t about making it to the other side of the bridge, but rather it is about the knowledge obtained during the course of the journey.

The real reason for the journey is to escape reality and think about the future. It’s about looking forward to what’s to come and realizing that there’s going to be changes. In essence it becomes really a journey through time. Being up on that bridge to this women really becomes an opportunity for her to decide what she wants in life. “Years ago, she picked a window and told herself one day she would live behind that window and watch them walk on the bridge like she walks now” (103). The future is unclear to her and this journey provides her with the opportunity of discovering the changes that are to come. “Closer you get to the other side, the slower you walk. On the other side there is no more dreaming. Just solid ground” (108).

Whitehead also includes other smaller journeys within the story of the journey of this one women. “A couple of years ago he stopped in this very spot, shook his fist at the skyline and declared, You can’t break me. Now he has two kids and a corner office” (103). This provides us with an example of a journey where the person has been successful in changing. However Whitehead also provides us with an example of someone who is unable to change and is paused in their journey. “A man pitched a tent here once and was hauled away. He told the police, I renounce all boroughs. You have the right to remain. You have the right to shout to the gods. If you have no philosophy one will be appointed to you” (105).

Through the journey motif, Whitehead is making a statement about making choices and dealing with the future. The future is unclear and mysterious. People are afraid to approach it since it’s so unknown, they’d rather stay where it’s safe, remain where everything is known. However this is not what life is about, we can try to escape reality and avoid change, but in the end as much as we may try to escape our future, we are brought back to reality.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


12 Responses to ' journey motif '

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to ' journey motif '.

  1.    Revitol works great said,

    on August 12th, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I simply wanted to thank you one more time for that amazing web site you have developed here. It is full of useful tips for those who are seriously interested in this specific subject, particularly this very post. You really are all absolutely sweet and thoughtful of others in addition to the fact that reading the blog posts is a wonderful delight in my experience. And that of a generous present! Dan and I really have fun making use of your points in what we should instead do in a month’s time. Our list is a distance long and simply put tips are going to be put to very good use.


  2. on August 13th, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I merely wanted to thank you yet again for your amazing web site you have created here. It’s full of useful tips for those who are really interested in that subject, primarily this very post. Your all so sweet plus thoughtful of others in addition to the fact that reading the blog posts is a superb delight in my experience. And such a generous gift! Mary and I will certainly have enjoyment making use of your ideas in what we need to do next week. Our checklist is a kilometer long and simply put tips is going to be put to beneficial use.


  3. on December 23rd, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Hello, yup this article is really fastidious and I have learned lot of things from
    it regarding blogging. thanks.

  4.    post22545 said,

    on March 19th, 2015 at 6:08 am

    post22545


  5. on September 10th, 2015 at 1:45 am

    how to grow herbs on balcony


  6. on February 2nd, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    puerto rico auto transport


  7. on February 4th, 2016 at 1:54 am

    automobile transport


  8. on June 18th, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    in house cleaning services

    Michelle's blog » journey motif

  9.    seo service said,

    on April 10th, 2017 at 10:56 am

    seo service

    Michelle's blog » journey motif


  10. on November 18th, 2017 at 2:44 am

    TotalPillow หมอนพกพา ยามเดินทาง ท่องเที่ยว ไปต่างประเทศ ไปต่างจังหวัด ใช้ในออฟฟิส ผจญรถติดประจำวัน

    blog topic


  11. on April 5th, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    เลื่อยวงเดือน

    Michelle

  12.    american express said,

    on June 12th, 2020 at 8:44 am

    american express

    Michelle's blog

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

  • Monthly

  • Meta

    • Subscribe to RSS feed
    • The latest comments to all posts in RSS
    • Subscribe to Atom feed
    • Powered by WordPress; state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform.
    • Firefox - Rediscover the web
  • Spam prevention powered by Akismet

    Skip to toolbar