Points for a Compass Rose is held together by a system of associations and images, rather than by logical or narrative development. Although this method involves the reader in sudden shifts in subject, time, and character, it is essential to Connell’s central concern, which is the confused human response to uncertain times. He asks toward the end of the work, “Do human events exceed human understanding?” In a sense, this book is his attempt at an answer to that question.
The first cluster of themes found throughout the work concern travel and exploration; it is a topic announced even in the book’s title, with its reference to maps and navigation. Connell announces his intention early: “Listen. I’ve decided to take a trip,” and he urges his readers to accompany him:
I don’t plan to returnaltogether ignorant, and you’re welcome to join me.So what do you say? Come along. Let’s traveltogether.God our suzerain has a duty to protect His vassals;but with Him or without we’ll go back and forthalong the dusty ways choosing all knowledgeas our provenance. Interspersing fact with lore,interpreting experience in terms of moral...
(The entire section is 1412 words.)
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