Penelope Fitzgerald

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How does Fitzgerald describe the rural condition in "At Hiruharama"?

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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.

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