Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 344
Here are some quotes from Chatwin's In Patagonia:
- "My interest in Patagonia survived the loss of the skin; for the Cold War woke in me a passion for geography" (3). The author's interest in exploring Patagonia came from the animal skin his grandmother inherited from Captain Charley Milward, her cousin. Though his mother threw this skin away, Chatwin's interest in exploring Patagonia, the origin of the skin, survived and was stoked by the geographic divisiveness of the Cold War.
- "The history of Buenos Aires is written in its telephone directory. Pompey Romanov, Emilio Rommel, Crespina D.Z. de Rose, Ladislao Radziwill, and Elizabeta Marta Callman de Rothschild—five names taken at random from among the Rs, told a story of exile, disillusion, and anxiety behind the lace curtains" (4). Chatwin's book examines the multicultural history of Argentina and its complexity as a society. Behind its fancy veneer, represented by lace curtains, Argentina seethes with problems and contradictions.
- "An Indian eyed the mountaineers and came over to pick a quarrel. He was very drunk. I sat back and watched the history of South America in miniature. The boy from Buenos Aires took his insults for half an hour, then he stood up, exploded and pointed the Indian back to his seat" (51). While on a train, the author witnesses an interaction that he considers representative of all South American history, in which the Indians tried to defend themselves but were eventually subjugated by Europeans.
- “We talked late into the night, arguing whether or not we, too, have journeys mapped out in our central nervous systems; it seemed the only way to account for our insane restlessness" (86). Chatwin speaks with an ornithologist in Patagonia about the roots of his restlessness. He feels that it is part of his being.
- "Patagonia!' he cried. 'She is a hard mistress. She casts her spell. An enchantress! She folds you in her arms and never lets go" (29). The author cannot free himself, as many people in Patagonia cannot, from the seductions of the land, though it is at times a harsh place.
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