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"Not Wanted On The Voyage" By Timothy Findley.

3123 words - 12 pages

The post-modern novel Not Wanted On The Voyage by Timothy Findley employ's phallic symbols and denounces them. The author has chosen to do this because it is an effective way of explaining the masculine power demonstrated in the novel, specifically, the treatment of the symbols. One example that will be explored is the horn of the Unicorn and how it is totally misused in a gruesome and explicit scene. The symbols are employed by the author specifically to be abused. These symbols in our society are considered sacred and unique and ordinarily would not be abused which is why Dr Noyes' actions carry a more substantial meaning.

The authors use of phallic symbols was used for two reasons. Firstly, by employing these along with a biblical story and allowing some of these symbols to interact with the world in mythical ways just ads to the post-modern idea that the past is just a collection of stories. The author is making the statement that his story is just as plausible as the biblical tale of the ark. The second and more important reason for which symbolism is used is as a means of portraying the male characters, specifically Dr Noyes. Throughout the novel, it is made clear as to which gender is dominant and expressed many times; "We are all governed by an Edict. We are the last of the human race. We are all in service here, to that fact. And your service is to Japeth Noyes."(page 270 Findley). Another instance is when blame is placed on Emma for Japeth's imperfections.

The mistreatment of the symbols specifically the unicorn horn are actions to demonstrate masculine power in the novel. Modern society cherishes these symbols and recalls them in many happy and glorious narratives. The mistreatment of such cherished symbols is such a sinister action that it is not intended to destroy the symbol but to make a statement that insures fear and respect. Dr. Noyes believes that these actions are necessary to maintain order and hierarchy during the voyage.

The most consequential act of destruction and abuse is shown on 263 and 264 where Dr Noyes rapes Emma with the unicorn's horn. To do this he had to remove the horn and in the process killed it, and then

It is easy to see how Timothy Findley uses biblical material in Not Wanted on the Voyage; the biblical Flood (Genesis 6-9) provides the framework for the entire novel. However, Findley has twisted characters and elements within this frame to such an extent that the meaning of the story has ultimately changed. So while we can easily see that he has used the framework of the Genesis flood, the reason and significance behind this use cannot be understood unless we discover what the new story means. We can come to this discovery by examining the changes he has made to the original tale, and their effect on the message of the novel.
The first discrepancy that readers notice between Findley's story and that of Genesis 6-9, is the remarkable characterizations of Yaweh and Noah. In the Bible, we...

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