Analysis Of Summer In Saarkand And Shipping Out

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Summer in Samarkand and Shipping Out are both autobiographical essays that use a reflective style to narrate the travelling adventures of the respective authors’ lives. Both Wallace and Batuman colourfully describe the situations they are in and the people they are around, and both relate their experiences with humorous incites and references. The similarities in genre and description and even topic are fairly obvious in these two essays, but the overall tone and detail attention diverge greatly. This divergence is a result of completely different content and purpose between the essays, and although at first the essays appear very similar, a deeper glance reveals a strong contrast between the two. The two areas that are most similar …show more content…
Batuman was not out looking for a happy summer holiday, and the hard work, confusing circumstances, and unpleasant situations that she found herself in culminate in an essay that seems to exist under heavy clouds of unhappiness, unwillingness, unfulfilled dreams, and uncertainty. This is revealed even more so in her rather morbid humour as she throws in barbed comments in the middle of serious incidents. In describing the town of Fergana, Batuman comments on how President Karimov had “recently taken the precaution of placing land mines in Fergana, all along what he said was the Tajik border.” Immediately after this, Batuman adds, “except that nobody knew where exactly the border was, so every few weeks some civilian or other would be blown up by a land mine. Nobody vacationed in Fergana anymore.” Not only does Batuman amuse herself with witty comments that seem out of place, but she also enjoys pulling humour out of the people around her. This almost comes across as a critical venture, since she makes her humour at the expense of others’ looks, clothing choices, and circumstances. However, Wallace went on a holiday for the express purpose of doing nothing but enjoying himself, and his essay cheerfully enjoys life under the blue skies and bright sun in a much lighter, wide-eyed and eager, carefree and happy fashion than Batuman’s does. While he has fun describing his fellow ship-mates, his humour doesn’t border on the dangerous line of disrespect as much as Batuman’s teeters on. In describing the women at his table, Wallace says he likes them all so much because “they laugh really hard at my jokes . . . although they all have this curious way of laughing where they sort of scream before they laugh, so that for one excruciating second you can 't tell whether they 're getting ready to laugh or whether they 're seeing something hideous and screamworthy over

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