Elizabeth Bowen: To the North

(2232 words)

Elizabeth Bowen’s fourth novel, To the North (1932), is a tragedy; pulled by the “cold pole’s first magnetism”, its characters speed ever closer to the violent impact of their deaths (Bowen 238). The novel reiterates the purposeful direction of tragic fate through the speed of modern transport – cars, trains, aeroplanes – as well as signage and advertising, social mobility, and the passing of time. Bowen contrasts this, however, with the theme of straying. This notion is ‘performed’ in several ways – by, for example, stray people and animals, travel (the search for stra(y)ngeness), and straying from home. It is most clearly demonstrated in the text by aimlessness, a resistance to fate and direction. To …

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Gildersleeve, Jessica. "To the North". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 April 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=23546, accessed 30 September 2016.]