Document Type

Journal Article


Journeys provide the principal narrative structure for literary works as diverse as the Odyssey, Gulliver’s Travels and brief lyrics like Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” whilst also symbolizing aspiration, a quest for truth, or an individual’s progress from cradle to grave. Some literary journeys take the form of pilgrimages, with characters seeking enlightenment or redemption, as in John Bunyan’s great allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress. Journeys also feature largely in much colonial and postcolonial writing. Early colonists usually traveled great distances from their country of origin to what some hoped might prove a Promised Land, though, for many, their birth country remained a lost Eden where they longed to return. Generations later their descendants, while no longer identifying with the mother country, have often felt impelled to visit it, if not as a pilgrimage to the “center,” then as a rite of passage; and for antipodeans, “the tyranny of distance” has frequently provided further impetus for overseas travel.