Posted by Ed Kiser on May 27, 2004 at 15:06:37 from 22.214.171.124 user Kisered.
In Reply to: Re: Amazons not camping? posted by John Wilson on May 27, 2004 at 08:18:43:
The Amazons claimed to have been camping on Wild Cat Island "for years and years" and yet, for the political purposes of the parley, perhaps that exaggerated statement was merely to impress the new invaders, the Swallows, as an attempt to fortify their "prior claim" to the island. It may have been that they had only started camping there just last year, or when ever it was that they got the Amazon, as the rowboat trip from Beckfoot to the island may have been quite a challenge for very young people. We forget sometimes that as capable as these people are, they still are just children, and several years ago, they were several years even younger.
Although the children themselves express the desire to live on the island forever, or at least for years and years, even for many subsequent generations, I can imagine that after a while, even they might get a bit tired of the sleeping out. Just how much fun can one get from rowing over to Dixon's every morning for milk, brushing teeth, dipping water from the lake in a kettle, and watching the steamer go by. After a while, the sheer newness of it all wears thin for the children themselves and for the reader trying to go through day after day of "life on the island." After a while, even for the most seasoned camper, a return to a real bed can be a delightful experience. Nothing like sleeping on the ground for a few days to make one's own bed become a very special treat.
As someone else pointed out, parents are not going to allow their children to stay camping out for too long a period anyway. Even getting permission to sleep in a tent in the back yard for one night can be quite an adventure, telling ghost stories, making shadow puppets on the walls of the tent, boiling a few eggs in a saucepan in the morning. It can become quite a memorable event in the life of a child.
As for the concept of the Amazons being kept away from Captain Flint, such a condition would not have allowed them to use the Amazon sailboat at all, as once they got to their boat, sure enough, with fireworks, they were bugging CF and not leaving him alone. Of course, maybe they snuck out that time in spite of a lack of permission. The whole war episode was while they were "properly in bed." That was definitely a sneak out in the middle of the night kind of outing. Perhaps it was their being required to stay at home that made CF not think of his nieces when he heard the bang on his roof, but started looking for some other troublemaker, not accounting for their ability to slip away without permission.
If the Swallows had not spent that first two weeks hanging about on the Peak of Darien, gazing down the lake at that distant island, filling their heads with imagination, but had been actually on the island all that time, even they might have gotten a bit bored with the whole uncomfortable aspect of the situation. Part of the thrill of their adventure was their dreaming about it at Darien, the thrill of anticipation, the planning, the dreaming. The fact that it was still inaccessable just added to the excitement of their imagination as a type of "forbidden fruit" which always tasts the best.
It is a good thing that the Amazons finally did show up, as it really added some life to that adventure on the island. The Swallows needed those first few initial days without the competition from the Amazons just to get adjusted to the camping adventure.
Ed Kiser, South Florida
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