The Young Men and the Sea: Sea/Ocean as a Space of Maturation?


Justyna Fruzińska

Department of American Literature, University of Lodz

The sea (or ocean) in American literature and culture is marked by a distinctive ambiguity. On the one hand, and quite expectedly, the sea voyage can be a maturation experience: such is the case of Humphrey Van Weyden, the protagonist of London’s The Sea  Wolf;  such  is  also  the  interpretation  that the Disney Company chooses to present in its animated adaptation of R.L. Stevenson’s Treasure Island. However, it is also a space of the opposite experience: one that accommodates remarkably immature characters. Be it in the person of captain Delano in Melville’s ‘Benito Cereno’, or the eponymous Billy Budd, it is a site welcoming naïve and escapist heroes, those who do not want to or cannot adapt to the demands of land society.

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Published : 2014-05-15

FruzińskaJ. (2014). The Young Men and the Sea: Sea/Ocean as a Space of Maturation?. Review of International American Studies, 7(1). Retrieved from

Justyna Fruzińska
Department of American Literature, University of Lodz  Poland

Justyna Fruzińska holds a Ph.D. in Cultural from the University of Łódź, Poland. An award-winning  poet  herself,  she  specializes  in  literary  translations  from  Hebrew and English into Polish. She was one of the authors of the anthology of poetry Na grani [On the Perch] (SPP OŁ, Łódź 2008). Her debut volume of poetry came out in 2008 under the title Wiesz dobrze czego się boimy [You Know Full Well of What We Are Afraid] stowarzyszenie Literackie im. K.K. Baczyńskiego, Łódź 2008).


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