How does the author effectively describe the rural condition in "At Hiruharama" by Penelope Fitzgerald?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Fitzgerald employs a handful of ways in order to convey the rural condition in the narrative.  The first would be the mere idea that the use of racing pigeons has to be used in order to convey items that need to be communicated.  Tanner has to use the racing pigeons in order to get the doctor.  This helps to enhance the feel of the rural condition as an isolated one.  Along these lines, the fact that Tanner and Kitty settle in Hiruharama is reflective of the rural isolation that is so intrinsic to the story.  The quiet and sparse condition of the place helps to enhance its rural state of being.  At the same time, the norms of the rural setting can be seen in Brinkman's arrival.  The fact that he comes over, self- inviting, and nearly demands food is a part of the ethos of the rural setting in which since human interaction is minimal, one has to entertain the rare time an individual arrives.  Brinkman would not have been able to do this in an urban setting, and is able to do so in a rural one.  It is in these elements that Fitzgerald is able to describe the rural condition in an effective manner, one that enables the narrative to be so intrinsic to the rural isolation.  This setting is vital to understanding the themes of the narrative, something that would have been lost had the narrative taken place in an urban setting.

ayeshabaig1998 | Student

the rural condition is shown through

  • pigeons
  • religious book with a part of nature
  • no proper maternity room, clinic or hospital
  • the way the brinkman arrived
  • and water from the well. 
anjali989 | Student

Fitzgerald describes the rural conditions through many ways especially  through the use of informal language and through his humorous cameos.the rural setting is firstly and most importantly described through the isolation of hiruharama itself and he does without spoiling the readers interest.the fact that the family who had been living in the abandoned house due to "the loneliness" and because "it was such a poor country" is rather given in a mild matter of fact manner making the sparsity of the land sound more like a comical short coming than a major the setting itself another noticeable feature isn't the water from the a matter of fact only villages have wells.also points out the scarcity of water and shows the dryness of the place.the second most description is lack of good clinic.the setting of the clinic and the sorry description of the maternity room portrays this idea.the doctor, a cameo, contributes to the humor in the story.he's shown as a doctor who relies on experience but he hardly gets any experience due to less deaths.he says that "by the time I arrive ,I'm not needed" shows that he is not that of a Good medic. Ad the fact that he is the only doctor available in that area again points out that it is after all the countryside.the third most noticeable description is using pigeons as means of shows how not modernized the place is.brinkman, a self invited guest who visits the tanners  twice a year to  hear a woman's voice.his mode of transport again points out the lack of modernization and the sate of the country side .another striking emphasis is that the simplicity of tanners and kitty's life also points out the rural condition.the rural setting is important because it strengthen kittys and tanners relationships.the writers informal tone also contributes to rather rural conditions as well a s humor.

the entire story is narrated I with compassion and humor. this also makes the tale of a simple family interesting,engaging and light hearted.