A Modern Adaptation of Sarah Kemble Knight’s Journey by Angela Delphenich and Justine Gomes

Sarah Kemble Knight’s journey is the first recorded link in a chain that has stretched from the eighteenth century well into the twenty-first century. By creating a modern adaptation of her journal, the similarities that bind seemingly dissimilar moments of time become plainly visible. Our modern American woman, Sarah Upright, sets out on a twenty-first century journey that is an equivalent to Madam Knight’s two hundred mile voyage. As Sarah struggles with her own prejudices in an unfamiliar culture, she incorporates mockery and humor into a blog for friends back home. Like Madam Knight, the blog establishes a hierarchy of the written over the oral with an anthropological gaze. This hierarchy allows her to maintain a sense of control and composure over her experiences, but also offers a repose, enabling Upright to shield her sensibilities.

In order to exhibit the similarities between Madam Knight and Sarah Upright, we have selected scenes of eating, traveling, and cultural differences, adapting the events into a plausible modern equivalent. This adaptation has revealed a hypothetical continuity of experience that spans centuries. These modernized encounters elicit a believable set of reactions which link our modern Upright to the pre-colonial Knight. Moments of fear, disgust, and relief reveal that many social issues eclipse time and place. Although the terrain has changed and the American woman has a broadened sphere from which to operate, this adaptation portrays that differences in culture, class, and gender remain constant.

In preparation for the creative writing process, we  read class notes, listened to our audio recording of the lecture on Madam Knight, and reread the text out loud. From there, we outlined our format, selected the necessary scenes to be included, and paid particularly close attention to word choice. Wanting to call attention to significant words, we strategically used capitalization and italics. By doing this, we created additional stress on the most important themes. Additionally, we chose to write two poems. This allowed us to mimic Madam Knight’s form and to demonstrate a private moment that prose could not relate.

We stayed true to the plot throughout the adaptation, but for one minor change. We decided to alter the ring scene on page ninety-one. In modern American culture, we believe that it is more likely for a middle aged business woman to demonstrate her class through materialistic representation. We also wanted to exemplify Sarah Upright’s control of communication by having her take a ring from her purse and place it onto her finger as a symbol of the “delicate white hand;” thus, converging class, race, and gender into one moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Live Journal of Ms. Sarah Upright

 

Blog #1: The Journey to a Land of Another Kind

At about eleven o’clock in the evening, I began my journey from New York to Mumbai, India. Being about sixteen hours in length, Sleep, in all her quiet beauty, became crucial; in that I was to go inspect a nearby sugar plantation for Cargill.

However, here I am; sitting in my luxurious first class seat as I begin my blog. At a time when I expected to sleep, I never intended to be writing this early in my journey. However, I can get no sleep, because of the ceaseless noise of the boisterous others in the row in front of my own, Who are entered into a riveting debate concerning the name of the Mistress of the former President, Bill Clinton. One said her name to be Monica Lebowski, while another simultaneously replied with the question: “How big was she?” Their inebriated Antagonist said no–It was Monica Leblowmi, as he laughed with a wicked roar and pounded on his beverage tray. The noise produced such a sound that I jumped in my seat on impulse. Forcing my tongue to remain tied, I was kept in my suddenly hard seat, as they continually kept calling for mo’ Captain Mo’. With much deliberation, I concluded that they were asking for the alcoholic beverage of rum as they sang, “Yo ho a pirate’s life for me.” And, yes, I must agree that they were indeed pirates, stealing hours of my sleep with their amusingly deprived souls. As the lascivious oil fueled their fire of belligerency, I fell to my old way of composing my resentments, in the following manner:

Captain Morgan, how I despise you!

Although I trade your maker, it’s tru

The sweet Beast confounds the Others–

Yet, I caress my talk with the plant as I with lovers.

Tonight I can stomach no mo’

About the wild oats they will sow.

My only, poor request, Rum,

Is to be taken out of thy evening Chum

They being withdrawn of thy Potent Cash,

‘Fore it gives me an anxious Rash!

With only thirty minutes passing, and still unable to close the eyes of my violated mind, nor shut out the thundering madness of these Boys, I signaled the waitress, Whom illustrated gratitude in being rescued from harassment. Here, having called for something to eat, the woman brought me a rectangular, semi-warm tin of what they call “food.” I was silently, yet thoroughly petrified in disgust. Dumping a long, strange form of bread onto my dish, that quite frankly looked more like the aftermath of dinner in the food disposal. Forced to battle with the tough, gritty Bread that gave great pain to me tensed mouth, I attempted to swallow the foreign ration. I, being hungry, got a little down; but my stomach soon rebelled against my necessity to consume sustenance, and what Mystery of a food I  swallowed served my lack of appetite for the whole day after.

After this increasingly displeasing portion of the flight, I began wishing even more for the stillness of Their tongues. Not knowing how my desires took effect, the row in front of me soon ended their abrasive conversation; and so, At Last! Good night, my Friends!

Blog #2: My First Night’s Stay

After finally arriving at my hotel yesterday afternoon, I was greeted by the concierge, Whom led me to my comfortable, private abode, where I slept the day away until the late evening. Being in dire need to quench my thirst and wet my lips, I headed down to the hotel bar to find a plethora of people; Some of which I observed were guests of the hotel, while others were most definitely from another World.  The Females in particular…

As I entered the Bar, I found myself immersed in the ambiance of debauchery. Although the Indian women were completely enveloped in their expensive garments of silk and other fine fabrics, their hands, eyes, and mouths neglected every form of silence. Placing myself at the prime location at the front of the Bar, I was able to gaze at the happenings around me. Thinking that Asian women were private in their doings, I became appalled by the full mouth’d creatures who entertained our fellow travelers. These creatures whispered with such a degree of audibility that all the Bar had as full of hearing as any prospective client.

Within the half hour, after I was Myself looked upon as a spectacle, I became Interrogated by a young lady who I shortly understood to be like the others– a prostitute. Not finding any reason why she would even think to converse with me, I retained my composure as she asked, in so many words of her native tongue: Are you new in the field? My eyes began to take on a confused and widening stare, as she continued with her silly questions and thoughts, ending with: I never see white women in the bar at this time a night. After she shut her profusely shitting mouth, I told her she treated me very Rudely, and I did not think it my duty to answer her unmannerly Questions. Subsequently, I put my hand inside of my purse, and I slipped my diamond ring that the journey over had forced me to take off of my swollen hand. As I pulled out and insinuated that I was in fact staying at the hotel, she took note of the ring ornamented upon my delicate, white hand. The conversation soon ceased, and I hastily went to the privacy of my own room, attending to these transactions of my day.

My dear friends, in which I long for, I trust that you understand the horrific experience that my journey has disturbed me with; I had no idea that Prostitution was thriving business invading high end hotels where escorts are desired; Little did I know that Mumbai has the largest sex industry in all of Asia.

 

 

 

Blog #3: In the Depths of the Wilderness

 

I sit in the cold dark as I write to all of you. I feel like I am in another World yet unexplored: a World of Danger, Depth, and Isolation. I am Alone in a Strange Land. A Land where Nature has the Upper hand, rather than the Creatures that attempt to coexist with the Wild.

At the beginning of the day (the Longest of my Existence), I set out on a clear mission. I was to travel outside of Mumbai to the much more Uncivilized area of Maharashtra, where there is a belt of the most prosperous Sugar Plantations. This is what I was hired to do: to negotiate with those People. I was sure conflicts would arise since they don’t regularly have a CEO visit the plantations more than every couple of years, but I’m good at what I do and felt ready to handle adversity.  I did not, however, intend to meet with adversity before my arrival on the plantation. Cargill hired what they called: a Proficient driver; and that was the least bit true.

As I made my way to meet with the Sugar distributers on a very cold and windy day, we began the drive, stopping only for the restroom and food. All the while, I Observed towns situated on a Navigable river with indifferent Buildings and people who became increasingly unrefined. After gratifying our appetites, I inquired after the Town and manners of the people. This was a considerable town, and filled as they say with wealthy people–who have a spacious meeting house and good Buildings. But the Inhabitants are Unruly in their talk, and find discrepancies within the smallest of pebbles, speaking with their spiritual (and apparently) Political Leader, who (they say) is a very worthy man. Back on the road, I aimlessly sat watching the abundance of cows and insignificant Towns pass me by, taking everything in (that I could) to translate to my fellow reader.

Being then well Recruited and fit for business, I discovered the persons I was concerned with, and hoped that I might finish quickly and immediately return to Mumbai and, finally, New York.  Hoping to tire my patience, they delayed any form of communicative action, as if confused in all of my Womanhood. I had learned early on that the commodities industry was male dominated, but never had I met such opposition as I did here. They barely made eye contact and insisted on talking over any points of interest I had noticed. I was strongly Resolute to stay and see an End of the matter, so I employed a tactic that has benefited me in the past. I lowered my voice slightly and checked my mannerisms to mimic those around me. Within the following hour, they began to accept my criticisms and agreed to go through with the distribution of the Edible goods. I was able to revert to my usual mannerisms and felt I had Composed myself well.

When we had rode about an hour, we came into a thick swamp, which by Reason of a great fog and the quickly setting sun, startled me. The Driver seemed unresponsive: I presumed that he had encountered a thousand of these exact natural Disasters. However, lacking a Universal Knowledge in the woods, I found him to be less than pleasant when Answering all my inquiries which were not a few.  It had been raining profusely over these last few days, and I cannot express The concern of mind this moment set me in: no thoughts but those of a dangerous Flood could entertain my Imagination. I was Tormented with the blackest Ideas of my Approaching fate–Sometimes seeing myself drowning, at other times seeing Myself on a Desolate and winding Trail becoming forever lost to My World.  I even envisioned  Myself as exactly what I became: a Sopping Wet pile of Clothes. Miraculously, my driver made a sudden turn Directed towards the small Inn of a nearby Village. I approached tears and thanked him despite my anger as I stepped into the inn. Not wanting to divulge my state of being to any strangers, I walked straight to my room and could think of nothing else but to plug in my laptop and dispel my fears.

 

 

A Private Moment’s Reflection.

An arduous journey indeed, as of yet,

I have felt no personal comforts given heed.

As I lie here recoiled in a moments repose,

I rehash the events as my memory unfolds.

Stranded, alone, confronted, and accosted,

I forged strength, but my tongue almost lost it.

Quietly I starve, although I pay.

Anxiously I await, when will my face meet the suns ray?

 

Blog #4: Observing The Female Complaint & Losing My Brains

After nearly losing My life among the cows, I decided to treat Myself to a bit of pampering among the more upright locals. I asked the concierge which restaurants would win over an American Tongue, and I knew that my clothing, accoutrements, and generous tip conveyed that Price was not an issue. He flipped through a small pocket book that emerged from behind a disconcertingly large front desk that Louis XIV would Think gaudy, and in a moment’s time he produced a name that I have since repressed. Looking forward to a meal I could understand, I quickly thanked him and stepped out the door to meet my driver. It was raining, but the roads were concrete and the limo was warm.

Upon arriving, the restaurant met my Expectations of decor, though I noted there were long tables full of large parties. I had not expected such a restaurant to lack privacy, but I bit my Tongue and proceeded to my “family style” table, Determined to enjoy my meal. I was seated next to two women who seemed to have spent their entire fortunes on a mystical coffee. Because I could not understand how else they managed to speak so quickly and sit still so little. There was a continuous heeing and hawing either from one side of the table or the other, and eventually, as I established my presence and eavesdropped on their conversation, I realized a famous doctor was seated just across from us. The notorious Dr. Phil was graciously listening to one of the women airing her dirty laundry to the tone of how taxing it was to raise a gifted child. She emphasized that her daughter never wanted to do anything she wanted to do, which I imagined to include shopping and gossiping, because the young girl was too “sciencey.” Dr. Phil kindly advised the woman to take up some scientific interest of her own, in order to meet her daughter in the middle, and the woman praised his brilliance. As the conversation continued to ere on the side of Complaining, I thought it best to remain Silent, making a mental note to share my irritation with my blog.

I beckoned the waitress and asked her for any recommendations. Feeling that the food could be no worse than the conversation and hastily believing the woman understood that I wanted something traditional and compatible with an American Palate, I anxiously awaited the main course. While at full pay chatting, the Fool of a so-called woman neglected to look forward and nearly dumped my plate and Herself into my lap. The clumsy chatter box offered no apology as the dish barely landed on the table, but I could do  nothing except sit in Astonishment as it seemed her brains were what I was expected to eat. A gentlemen just right of me whispered that the plate was a Delicacy of monkey, and I decided to swallow my monetary loss and leave Directly…

Blog #5: Returning Home

Finally, I was on my way home. My driver arrived right on time, and although the rain had been pouring all night, the sun awoke and gilded the limousine, making my Impression of the lonely Journey ahead less discouraging. As we set off around seven in the morning, it occurred to me that I had forgotten to eat breakfast. With My bags checked on time, I had around an hour before the plane would journey across the Daring ocean. Instead of trying my luck with the mid flight Frozen tin of Garbage (once again), I stumbled through the airport until I came across a Homely woman who looked as though she had been in the Rain all night and smelled as though she rode into work on a Mudslide. I felt her pain…Nonetheless, She was not my first choice for Food. There being no other vendors open at this time, I decidedly placed my bet.

I was feeling Rather ill, but I knew that if I didn’t try to get something down, the perils of my Journey would get the better of my Weakened state of mind. As I approached the poor Lady with the semblance of a smile, her son seemed to sense my depraved countenance and directed me to sit in the massage chair nearby. As my throbbing back was pelted by the magnificently Painful concoction of rolling wheels under a cheap vinyl covering, I became keenly aware of my delicate predicament.

He returned with what looked like a glass of milk, but as nothing had reached my Expectations in the way of service and taste,  I assumed the Worst and was,  in no Way, surprised. As soon as I downed the first portion of the Strange milk, I realized something was Off…It was Disgusting in all its’ Putrid, sweet Fatness. I knew where to turn; I leapt to the nearest trash can and Reexamined the contents of my breakfast, Paying my host double for his portion, and that in specia.

As I animated my displeasures in that Oh So Special lunging dance with the trash can, an odd sense of relief came over me. I smiled, grabbed my purse, and popped a breath mint as I held my chest out high and walked towards the Gates of my Charming airplane. I felt accomplished with my Observations and Doings on the Testing Journey that was now coming to an End. They called my Distinguishing class to board the plane as I walked forward, thanking God for his care in Returning me home to Safety.