Question of Audience

When reading Roxana, the reader is immediately aware of the significance of audience. We are immediately, sparked pose the question, “Who is the author’s audience? And what purpose is the author writing?” This audience awareness is definitely a tool used by Defoe, when telling his story of Roxana. As seen in the fact that Roxana is told from a first-person point of view. When Roxana seems to recount her life she implores the idea of playing with “words and their referents” so termed by Ian Watts. She does so to justify and prove the reasons she has engaged in the actions she has done to her readers. Roxana is able to intentionally phrase, her words in a way to her advantage. These phrasings and terms may not necessarily refer to the objects as they really are. She does so when referring to her Landlord as her gentleman (37), her wealth (140), and her morality (38, 64, 118) all these seem to be the gist of Roxana’s attempt to convince her audience.
After doing some reading, I came across an article written by David Bartholomae entitled, “Inventing the University.” It is here that we learn the features of a skilled writing versus a basic writer. In this article, Bartholomae explores the significance of audience awareness as being a key characteristic that distinguishes a skilled writer from a basic writer. For example, Bartholomae writes when discussing the challenges of composition writers and their challenge of writing to their audience, “One of the common assumptions of both composition research and composition teaching is that at some “stage” in the process of composing an essay a writer’s ideas or his motives must be tailored to the needs and expectations of his audience. A writer has to “build bridges” between his point of view and his readers. He has to anticipate and acknowledge his readers’ assumptions and biases. He must begin with “common points of departure” before introducing new or controversial arguments” Bartholomae adds, “Writers who can successfully manipulate an audience (or to use a less pointed language, writers who can accommodate their motives to their readers/ expectation) are writers who can both imagine and write from a position of privilege” (9). He indicates that this writing from a position of privilege is a key to a good writer. He notes, good writers must “see themselves with in a privileged discourse,…They must be either equal to or more powerful than those they would address. The writing, then, must somehow transform the political and social relationships between basic writing students and their teachers” (9). The author notes this is key to great writers. I am sure Defoe used these factors of audience awareness when seeking to do this “new form of writing,” or the genre of the novel. It is this same idea of audience awareness that Roxana employs and she uses it to her advantage.

In my opinion to answer the question of audience, Roxana is seeking to appeal to the new emergent middle class, or the common society, who may have some religious background. She does so to gain the approval of her audience, and to justify her actions, one that hides her attempts to “prey upon others.”

Gal Pals

Daniel Defoe’s Roxana is not the novel I had in mind. I initially thought Roxana was a prostitute in the typical sense: a monetary exchange for brief sexual favors. I was however, mildly disappointed, when I was presented with a woman who could not care for herself, much less her children, who turned out to be a “kept woman” for several different men. Through the course of her role as a kept woman, Roxana has a maid, Amy, who stays faithful to Roxana through her escapades. Amy proves herself to be the ever consistent, other half of Roxana remaining by Roxana’s side through several different men.

Roxana, upon realizing she is without husband and in charge of five children finds herself allowing her maid, Amy, to drop her children off at her sister-in-laws house. Amy, being the diligent maid does this without protest, going as far as lying to Roxana’s sister-in-law so that Roxana “might be freed from the dreadful Necessity of seeing [her children and herself] perish” (59). This is merely the introduction Defoe gives us of Amy’s steadfast character, and her willingness to do anything for Roxana, including abandoning a group of children at Roxana’s request.

Amy is able to convince Roxana that sleeping with men out of necessity is not deplorable. Through Amy’s logic, that an “abundance of Charity begins in that Vice” (67) she is able to reason with Roxana that the landlord is presenting her with a chance to live comfortably again. Initially Roxana is opposed to the idea of “[laying] with him for Bread” (67), but Amy is able to sway her mistress by saying that she herself would sleep with the landlord if it meant feeding them both: “[if] the Condition was such, that he would not serve you unless I would let him lye with me, he should lye with me as often as he would, rather than you should not have his Assistance” (68). Defoe shows us the sway that Amy has over Roxana, that the two are almost one mind, seen in how Amy convinces Roxana to use her body for their gain. Roxana forces her companion/faithful maid to sleep with her “John,” putting Amy’s words of support and encouragement to the test: “so I fairly stript her, and then I threw open the Bed, and thrust her in [with the Landlord]” (85). Amy’s devotion to Roxana is so strong, she is not resentful that Roxana essentially forced her rape, but that she felt like “a Whore” and “a Slut” because she was unwed (85).

Amy’s guilt is eloquently expressed as she wakes from being unconscious on the ship ride to England: “Don’t you know what a wicked creature I have been? I have been a whore to two Men, and have liv’d a wretched abominable Life of Vice and Wickedness for fourteen Years” (161). This comment in turns forces Roxana to confront her own actions up to this point in the novel, of which she has not been ashamed of or even remotely repentant about. Only after Amy’s “confession” does Roxana realize she’s led life “with the utmost Contempt and Abhorrence” (162). Amy’s role at Roxana’s side is to remain true to her mistress, outlasting the men that come into their lives.

Refugees’ Assimilating and Value

This has been a very interesting reading. It was a flashback of my memories as a refugee. Ironically, I was the one who picked this novel.

The first thing that drew my attention about this novel is Roxana’s determination to assimilate to the new culture. Roxana knew how important England was at that time. She was only ten, but was aware that London was more significant than any other city in Europe. It was her dream to live in a big crowded city like London.

How did she hear about this city or how much she knew about it, is missing from our readings.

It is possible that her well to do, or wealthy parents had made her aware of the city that they were planning on moving to. They had prepared her for moving away, and they had made the idea of moving from France a positive experience.

Refugees who suffer the most are the ones who are pleased by the idea of leaving their homeland, and they are usually the first to accept and pick up the new culture.

She first described her status as a refugee in London. She was only ten, but knew a lot about London and enough to make her a happy refugee. She was so happy to be in London, and happy to leave France, that she did not discuss any of her experiences in France. French language was the only thing that she kept alive (pages 5-6). Her family was fed up with the situation that they went through in France. They were forced to leave France because they were Protestants. They were mistreated and banished by the cruelty, as she put it on page 5. Leaving her homeland for religion gave her a sense of the importance of religion to her and her family. Moreover, it was because of religion that she was able to move to a big city as she wished.

Going back to the beginning of her story; when she landed in London, she was aware of the next step, to fit herself in this city, and be able to settle there for the rest of her life. It was not clear how she overcame all obstacles that she faced. However, like many refugees, culture and language were her greatest barriers.

Both pages 5 and 6, Roxana showed pride of how she managed to learn to be a true English-woman. She was very proud to be able to pick up the language without having any accent like other immigrants. It was her way to fit with the society and not be isolated as a foreigner. On page 6 she explained her first steps to become an English woman. She was put to an English School, and there she learned the ‘Customs of the English Young-Women.’

She emphasized on her linguistic ability. She was able to pick up a new language as a native speaker; she was able to speak a ‘Natural English’ page 6. It was obvious that keeping an accent was not accepted and odd, or perhaps out of fashion. Native speakers usually find it hard to accept foreigners who are unable to communicate with local people. She had no more barriers, so gave herself a credit for not remaining her accent, ‘nor did I so much as keep any Remains of the French language tagg’d to my Way of Speaking,’ she sayed. Then, she criticized other foreigners, “as most Foreigners do.” (page 6).

At the age of ten, Roxana learned to put away her culture and homeland but not her religion. Her determination to learn a new culture and language were her first challenges that she had faced. She was fully aware that picking up new culture and language would allow her to assimilate to the new world, and be accepted.

Dig into the data of Roxana

I was trying to read this book in the past week, English is my second language, so it is naturally my first time to know this book. I was easily confused with the numbers of everything, to make myself more clear about the story; I have made a chart to show some trackable data in the story.

Background colour means different location, Red means the UK, Blue means France, Green means Italy, and Orange means Holland.

Roxana chart

About how much money does Roxana own in various period of her life, all interests are calculated as 10% of the property and shown as property in the chart, we can see after her fist failure marriage, every single relationship brings her more fortune:

1.”At about fifteen years of age, my father gave me, as he called it in French, 25,000 lives, that is to say, two thousand pounds portion”(27)

2.“other than about seventy pounds in money, and what few things of value I had about me”(39)

3.“I had now no poverty attending me; on the contrary, I was mistress of ten thousand pounds before the prince did anything for me.”(151)

4.“I had no need to give him twenty thousand pounds to marry me, which had been buying my lodging too dear a great deal.”(313)

5.“However, in some time I got a substantial safe mortgage for £14,000 by the assistance of the famous Sir Robert Clayton, for which I had an estate of 6.£1800 a year bound to me, and had £700 per annum interest for it.”(355)

“In a word, I had now five-and-thirty thousand pounds estate; and as I found ways to live without wasting either principal or interest, I laid up £2000 every year at least out of the mere interest, adding it to the principal, and thus I went on.”(392)

But it doesn’t mean she goes wrong ever since her husband left, the fortune from the landlord’s death was not her design, and she was still keeping a relatively high moral standard before that.

The most interesting part I found is that there is a swift change in Roxana’s moral principle at a particular point, before or after she went to France with the landlord, and I think something special must have happened at that period. The way she decides about relationships were opposite before and after that point, it seems like she just suddenly decided to “turn black” at that moment? Perhaps it is because the death of her “friend” landlord, or perhaps it is because she saw her husband again? I will keep researching on this topic and post more details with reference next week.

The Uncommon Man

Oroonoko Response

Oroonoko is not a common man; Aphra Behn makes that clear through her novel Oroonoko. Oroonoko is regal, beautiful (even by Behn’s Western standards), and a prince in his homeland. His uncommonailty is shown in several ways: when he is worshipped by people he sold into slavery, his freely spoken conversation with Trefry, his new owner, and in the stoic manner of his death.
Oroonoko’s greetings by the men and women he sold into slavery is odd, to say the least. Behn’s narrator states, “He was that prince who has, at several times, sold most of them to these parts; and, from a veneration they pay to great men [. . .] all cast themselves at his feet, crying out in their language, Live, O King!” (44). Behn is clearly trying to tell us that Oroonoko is so great that even those he condemned to a life of misery still find him worthy of praise. This scene does present the narrator an opportunity to show Oroonoko’s humility because he “[assures] them he [is] no better” than they are (44). While Oroonoko recognizes he is a slave, what other slaves are greeted with a “magnificent supper” (45). Perhaps by pointing out that Oroonoko realizes he is a slave, further expresses how uncommon he truly is by immediately changing his mentality from a prince to accepting his role as Trefry’s slave (admittedly, one may question whether Oroonoko truly accepts his role as slave because of how freely, and frequently, he asks Trefry to release himself and Imoinda).
The second passage that struck me was Oroonoko’s conversation with Trefry about a slave girl (which we find out is Imoinda) who refuses to sleep with Trefry. Oroonoko tells Trefry, “Or why, being your slave, you do not oblige her to yield [to you sexually]?” (46). Oroonoko just dealt with a situation similar to this in his homeland, where Imoinda was kept as part of the king’s harem of women (granted the king could not force himself sexually upon anyone). It made me wonder what could make Oroonoko so casual about rape, knowing that his wife could have been raped if the king could hold an erection. Even as Oroonko realizes that this woman is Imoinda, there is not a single mention of regret for saying that Trefry should have had his way with her.
The last scene that stuck in my memory is of Oroonoko smoking a pipe while the executioner cuts off chucks of his body with “an ill-favoured knife” (76). I took that to mean a dull knife, which would increase how painful it is for someone to cut off parts of your body. That being said, Oroonoko is uncommon even in his death and how stoic he is while he “allows” men to cut off parts of his body. There are few men who could be so cavalier about being sliced up.

Roxana and “The Individual Experience”

Roxana, portrays many of the defining characteristics of the genre of novels. I think the characteristics that distinguish the novel from other genres is seen in Ian Watts text. According to Ian Watts in, The Rise of the Novel, the author states that Richardson and Fielding were the founders of a “new kind of writing,” known as the novel. Watts argues that this new genre of writing was very different from the written text of the past and seventeenth-century writings. Watts also mentions that it “involved a break with the old fashioned romances” (9-10). Watts notes that the features of the novel encompassed “realism” (10). Watts states” ‘realism’ as the defining characteristic differentiates the work of the eighteenth-century novelists from previous fiction” (10). Watts adds that realism “attempts to portray all the varieties of the human experience” (11). Watts states that the novel ” reflects individualistic and innovating reorientation” (13). Watts mentions, the novel challenged previous literary movements “whose primary criterion was truth to individual experience- individual experience is always unique and therefore new” (13). Watts states the most significant characterisistic of the novel is its “non-traditional plots” (14). Watts notes that “Defoe and Richardson are the first great writers in our literature who did not take their plots from mythology, history, legend, or previous literature”(14). He adds “Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton…used traditional plots”. Watts argues, they accepted the general premise of their time that, since Nature is essentially complete and unchanging, it’s records, whether scriptural, legendary, or historical, constitute a definitive repertoire of human experience” (14). Hence, all human experience have all been seen in these traditional plots, from these traditional perspectives, and there is no new experience that has not been written. Watts argues that Defoe stressed “the primacy of the individual experience,” rather than the “traditional plot”(15).
Daniel Defoe’s, Roxana, does just that. He portrays the unique experience of his main character, Roxana. According to the Introduction to the novel written by Jane Jack, the writer notes “Defoe insists that he is no more writer of the ‘romances’ meretricious books full of improbable people and incredible adventures.” Jack notes , “what he is telling us is the truth .” He chronicles the difficulties that Roxana faces. Jack adds, “Roxana remarks during her period of prosperity as the mistress of a wealthy French aristocrat in Paris.” After Roxana comments about her wealthy aristocrat, ” It would look a little too much like a romance here to repeat all the kind things he said to me”. She finds herself in a position as Jack argues “in the need for secrecy and the necessity of making adequate provision for the children of the Union” (vii). She is constantly worried about the money earned, and her future, according to Jack. The writer states, “If the result is a book which is essentially more of a romance than a novel, it is a romance without any touch of the exotic or the improbable: an unromantic romance” (vii). Jack argues ” Roxana is a dishonest person who travels about and preys on society” (vii). In contrast to Defoe’s other character,Moll Flanders, Roxana differs. Jack states, “Having already shown how an essentially innocent woman may be driven by poverty to a life of crime, he now created a woman who was harder and more ambitious” (x). Jack states, ” Roxana owes much more to accounts of real women than does Moll Flanders”(x). Jack adds “the moral danger of poverty is a subject to which Defoe returns as untiringly in his prose fiction as he does in his letters and in his voluminous journalism”(viii). Jack states, “Roxana loves independence as much as she loves property”.

As a reader, I was forced to ask the question, similar to Jack’s, what would an individual do in this character’s position? In the midst of poverty. For me the very path and decisions that Roxana makes are her attempts to survive. She does so by seeking to gain stability for herself and her family, through means of her many plans. Roxana comes up with these plans in order to escape living in poverty, that she is so close to facing.
Defoe’s writing is to “realistically” capture the experience in which some individuals find themselves who are without proper support and financial ties. To me Defoe seeks to capture the idea of realism, this is even noted in the beginning of the story. He states, “this story differs from most of the Modern Performances of this kind, tho’ some of them have met with very good Reception in the world: I say, It differs from them in this Great and Essential Article, Namely, That the foundation of this is laid in Truth of Fact; and so the work is not a story, but a history” (1).

I definitely agree with Jack and Watts, Defoe’s writing definitely strays from the traditional plot, and captures the “individual experience”.

The Tragic Character

Oroonoko a truly tragic novel, but who is the tragic hero?

First, ‘tragic hero’ is the literal character who makes a choice that would lead to his death.

So, who is the ‘Tragic Hero’ in Aphra Behn’s novel Oroonoko?

The main focus in this novel is Oroonoko. His desperate search for his wife Imoinda overshadows many actions that are taken place in the novel. Throughout his life, or throughout the novel, his mind is to ‘where to find his wife.’ Despite the fact that his life keeps shifting from one place to another, his mindset is only driven to one direction, Imoinda. It is a fact, when looking for a missing person, one will not be able to live an ordinary life. He is almost not aware of other activities that he is engaged in because his mind is absent. Within time, Oroonoko is almost worn out because of his passion to Imoinda.

However, did he choose to lose Imoinda? Did he choose to live miserably?

Things do not settle even when Imoinda and Oroonoko meet. Once he finds Imoinda, his anguish does not end. In fact, it increases until he decides to end Imoinda’s life. By killing his beloved Imoinda, he collapses and loses his strength. Not because he did not eat, but because of grieving over losing his wife and regretting the fact that he killed her (pages 72-73). His weakness caused him to lose balance and later get killed.

If we take the string of actions from the beginning till the end of this novel, we see that Imoinda has a lot to do with what happened to her and Oroonoko. She is the character who, from the start, had a choice between accepting the royal veil or not. Although not accepting the royal veil means death, still dying with dignity is a choice. She accepted to live with a man while she is married to another (pages 18-19). Looking at this from a different prospective, this is polygamy. She accepted the royal veil, or accepted to be a maid or slave without thinking of Oroonoko’s dignity. Her acceptance of the royal veil caused Oroonoko and herself to suffer, and eventually die. Ironically, she later welcomes her death because that could keep her from being raped (71). But, she did not have the courage to refuse the proposal and die as a true lover.

As much as I read this novel and think about it, I see that Oroonoko is a victim of Imoinda. The consequences of her choice to accept the royal veil brought many tragic events, and eventually their death.

The logic of Oroonoko

Sometimes people are more likely to agree with the things they are more familiar with, and have blind faith in the familiar one when comparing or competing with the things less familiar. Self(Europe)-centralized aesthetic without even hiding it, that was what I thought about the author on the process of reading this novel. But when I finish the whole book and think about the story, I had second thoughts: maybe it’s not that simple. Perhaps the world view of the author is indeed Europe centralized, but as a result, the Europe centralized world view was not only a status, but also was used by the author as a tool.

The author used this tool to create a process of “boiling the frog in cool water”, softly trapped the reader(Europeans) in an illusion that they are familiar with the world and the people in the story, which they were actually not. The European readers would easily accept that the story might very well be true. In addition, the form of novel seemed not popular yet at that time of the world, so unlike today, readers wouldn’t naturally assume this is just a tail that is not likely to be true. All of that will engage the reader to have a high possibility to agree with what the author actually  suggests.

There is an order of logic in the whole book:

1.First assume all readers are Europeans, and then express the view of “Europe equals good”, which makes the European readers naturally agrees with the author, and feels comfortable about the view and story that they’re about to read.(eg.88,96)

2.Giving the expression that Oroonoko is basically like a European Prince, and Imoinda is more or less like a European noble lady, leading the European readers to admire them in a way of admiring their own nobles.(eg.97,98,163)

3.When reader starts to accept the setting of “this is a real love story that happens in our life”, the author begins to reveal her true opinion, but instead of telling it directly, she guides the reader to initiate the same kind of feeling.(eg.90,144,152,207)

4.When readers start to wonder if their own people commonly act so dishonorable in the colonies, the author reveals the answer, and shows the bloody end of the story, which would really shock the reader’s feeling. And due to the successful Europeanize of Oronooko, the readers might have the expression of “They killed somebody who is just like my neighbor, and this inhuman sin is done when no one is breaking any law of my country?” And this will naturally lead to the consideration of improving and changing the law of colonies and slavery in order to prevent such thing to happen again.(eg.216,226)

The author did not instill any opinion in the whole story, she simply shows the reader the world they are familiar and quite agree with, and later on reveals how horrible can it be in the very same world. She makes the reader think and review their own world view without telling them to do so. It is the compact design of the author, a great skill that I should study of.

Honorable Conquests

In class last week we discussed the significant social and cultural changes that occurred during the Restoration and the eighteenth century, both within Britain and on a global scale. Two critical factors in those changes were the expansion of the British empire around the world and Britain’s involvement in the slave trade. In Oroonoko, Aphra Behn calls attention British imperialism by describing the various experiences of slaves in the South American colony of Surinam. One interesting pattern that I noticed in my reading of this novel was Behn’s use of the discourse of imperialism and conquest in her depictions of love and romance. Oroonoko and Imoinda’s relationship is described with language which is evocative of the colonial expansion associated with the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

I first picked up on this connection between romance and conquest on page 16 of the novel. Behn draws an explicit comparison between Imoinda’s effect on Oroonoko and a military triumph:

[Imoinda] gained a perfect conquest over his fierce heart, and made him feel the victor could be subdued. So that having made his first compliments and presented her a hundred and fifty slaves in fetters, he told her with his eyes, that he was not insensible of her charms; while Imoinda, who wished for nothing more than so glorious a conquest, was pleased to believe she understood that silent language of new-born love… (Behn 16-17)

In this passage, Imoinda is described as gaining control over Oroonoko in such a way that calls to mind British conquests of various native peoples. Behn goes on to describe Imoinda’s “eternal empire over [Oroonoko]” (18). These comparisons between the relationship between Imoinda and Oroonoko are coupled with frequent allusions to virtue and morals. Oroonoko is described as an honorable hero who “knew no vice” (17), while Imoinda is “female to the noble male, the beautiful black Venus to our young Mars, as charming in her person as he, and of delicate virutes” (16). The young lovers clearly feel passionately for one another, but they do not allow their feelings to prevent them from going about their union properly. The narrator describes a “certain ceremony” which mandates that “the grandfather was to be first made acquainted with the design; for they pay a most absolute resignation to the monarch, especially when he is a parent also” (18). This respect for tradition demonstrates Imoinda and Oroonoko’s moral integrity, and effectively portrays the two as honorable characters.

Based on Oroonoko, it would seem that Aphra Behn was not opposed to slavery in and of itself. She seems to have believed that there were benefits to slavery, and while Oroonoko illustrates the gruesome experiences of one slave in particular, Behn did not appear to be calling for an end to slavery all together. Rather, she effectively called attention to the fact that there are proper ways to go about the slave trade. I think that Behn’s use of the discourse of conquest in her descriptions of Imoinda and Oroonoko’s relationship demonstrates this notion. Imoinda “gained a perfect conquest over [Oroonoko]”, but the pair was prepared to follow the appropriate steps to ensure that their union was consummated legitimately. This union is ultimately destroyed by other characters who are deceitful and who fail to honor the traditional customs of war.

 

Works Cited:

Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko. Ed. Janet Todd. London: Penguin, 2003. Print.

Oroonoko and Fashion

One of the characteristics of literature during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was to denote observations, and details. Within Oroonoko, we see the author goes into fine details, so as to describe the customs and clothing of the people. More specifically, the fashion of the people becomes important. According to “Wonder and Science: Imagining Worlds in Early Modern Europe” by Mary Baine Campbell, the author states that this novel “played a part in the emerging project that came to be known as anthropology” (260). Campbell notes, “In an era when clothes and habit was a major focus of ethnological literature including body ornamentation…the term ‘fiction’ meant ‘the act of fashions,’ or that which is fashioned” (260). She notes that fashion meant “manners and customs,” or what has become “ethnology.” According to Campbell, The” clothing of the travelers became a site for the narratives” (261). She notes that clothing “performs important functions of organizing attention, transmitting information, or symbolizing social identities” (262). She notes that “clothing separates Oroonoko from others as an ‘aristocrat’ because of his rich Habit” (262). Campbell states “these ethnographies could be associated with novels and cultural taxonomies,” and that “Ethnography combined the lines of “modern science and fiction” (271).
The role of fashion is seen within Oroonoko when Aphra Behn describes the clothing of the many nations. For example, Behn notes that the natives wore feathers “which they order in all shapes, make themselves little short Habits of ‘em, and glorious wreaths for their Heads, Necks, Arms, and Legs” (39). The natives also wore “beads which they weave into Aprons about a quarter of an Ell long, and of the same breadth.” (39). When describing the natives Behn states that the travelers trade with the natives the feathers. For example, she states
“Then we trade for Feathers, which they order into all Shapes, make themselves little short Habits of ‘em and glorious Wreaths for their Heads, Necks, Arms and Legs, whose Tinctures are unconceivable. I had a Set of these presented to me, and I gave ‘em to the King’s Theatre, and it was the Dress of the… Queen, infinitely admir’d by Persons of Quality; and were unimitable. Beside these, a thousand little Knacks, and Rarities in Nature, and some of Art; as their Baskets… Aprons…We dealt with ‘em with Beads of all Colours…The Beads they weave into Aprons about a quarter of an Ell long, and of the same breadth; working them very prettily in Flowers of Several Colours of Beads; which Apron they wear…the Men wearing a long Stripe of Linen, which they deal with us for. They thread these Beads also on long cotton-threads, and make Girdles to tie their Aprons to, which come twenty times, or more about the Waste; and then cross, like Shoulder-belt, both ways, and round their Necks, Arms and Legs” (39).
This is used to signal the types of clothing and customs of the natives.
The novel takes place in “Surinam, in the West Indies” (39). Oroonoko the main character was a prince, and when he went into captivity he took of his “robe” (68), in exchange for lower garments. Behn describes the travelers as wearing “Petticoats, shoes, stockings” (82).
It is my opinion that fashion is extremely important within the novel. I believe it is a technique used by Behn to signal each nation’s uniqueness, and to add details to the story.