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Christopher Columbus IB Essay

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IB essayChristopher Columbus & Queen Isabella of Spain Consummate their Relationship is one of the more simple-structured stories out of nine in Salman Rushdie’s book East, West. The story features two famous historian figures and recreates an historical eventin a new light, the discovery of the New World, supported by queen Isabella. Christopher Columbus petitioned to Queen Isabella of Spain to fund his voyage to the Indies, which she rejects multiple times, before eventually lending him money and ships. Rushdie presents the original story about Columbus and Isabella in a whole newpoint of view and introduces the reader to what their relationship could have been like. The story is structured around the recurrence of the word “consummation”, which means the completion of marriage by sexual intercourse, as well as the point at which something is complete/fulfilled, though this is less used. Consummation, mentioned five times throughout the story, is Columbus’ strategy for convincing the Queen to sponsor him on his goal to sail west and discover the unknown land. Throughout reading the short story one notices that the concept of consummation is deeper than what is thought originally. This raised the line of inquiry: To what extend did Rushdie redefine the different definitions of the word Consummation throughout the story? . Rushdie uses Columbus, a figure seen as both a dauntless explorer as well as a man who enslaved natives, as an opportunity for the manipulation of West classic tales, which is one of the several red threads throughout his novel East, West.The first time consummation is mentioned (18) the term is considered as sexual intercourse. Columbus uses this statement as a strategy to persuade Queen Isabella to be his patron for the enterprise of sailing westward. When asking himself what ‘his hopes’ were with presenting oneself at the Spanish court, he concludes ‘He has hopes of cash, and of three tall ships-“ Through the use of this passage Rushdie portrays Columbus as a foreigner and traveling salesmen, trying to sale his product. Queen Isabella is turned into a housewife, and as Columbus sets his foot at her door, she is seduced by this product. The phenomenon of Columbus petitioning Queen Isabella to fund his voyage is called into question by three eye witnesses, the narrator and two unnamed characters. Through the use of this audience readers get to know Columbus’original intentions with the use of the word Consummation, which signifies sexual intercourse in particular, and Isabella’s reaction, who is astounded and appalled by his proposal.To add further depth into Isabella’s reaction, Rushdie adjusts the perspective from which the story is narrated towards the Queen. Due to this change the reader is as he continues reading informed about the fact that the Queen is not fond about his request for consummation at all. ‘See him, the drunkard, his huge, shaggy head filled with nonsense!-“ She views him only as a deranged, superficial foreigner, who is solely keptat her court due to the fact that he is willing to perform ‘divers necessary but dirty jobs.’By not granting Columbus his wish of consummation, but rather neglecting him,Rushdie infuses the expectation of Columbus plan failing, moreover as if it is a one-sided love story.Rushdie further conveys his intentions to degrade Columbus through the means of a cat and mouse game, between his character and Isabella. The Queen toys with Columbus, promising him everything he wants and then ignoring him later, getting close to him and later banishing him to the stables. Seeing that teasing him pleases the Queen, Columbus tolerates her torments. It might help him to achieve his purpose. “ Pleasing the Queen is good (64).” However, as the novel continues, Columbus is beginning to doubt Isabella’s motives as to why she torments him and consoles himself with the possibility of her ‘embracing his scheme with a lover’s abandon.’ He is having an inner fight revolving around the question if she understands him or not. What is certain is that he doesn’t understand her, only that she is ‘Isabella, all-conquering Queen.’ What Rushdie is trying to obtain here is to elucidate the impression that Queen Isabella is superior to Columbus. She is estimated as an powerful, absolute monarch, whereas Columbus is portraited as a slave or maid willing to do everything for her. As a result the concept of consummation as a strategy is slowly fading away and turned into Columbus desire to please the Queen, besides only sexual intercourse.The fourth time Consummation is mentioned, it is followed by ‘The sexual appetites of the male decline; those of the female continue.’ Rushdie is indicating at a one sided love. This concept will be more well defined as the reader continues. As time drags by, Columbus starts to question himself as well as his abilities. Isabella gallops around and conquers more and more land by the day, whilst Columbus sits back andobserves, awaitening for her decision to be his patron or not. ‘What chance does he have here?’ Columbus decides it is in his best interest to depart from the Spanish court, therefore leaving his dreams behind and abandoning his destiny. He rides away from Queen Isabella, feeling bitter as well as miserable. “The search for moneyand patronage is not so different from the quest for love.’ Rushdie associates Columbus desire to explore the new world with his desire to have sex with Isabella. The conquest of a continent is linked to the conquest of the Queen herself. The idea of consummation as the act of sex changes into the need for love. “The loss of money and patronage is as bitter as unrequited love.”Amidst the last part of the novel an odd event occurs. Columbus and Isabella share adream; ‘It is a dream of a dream.’ Queen Isabella is staring into a stone bowl filled with blood and in here she sees a vision of her own. Through the medium of this specific vision, she becomes aware of the fact that she will “never, NEVER! Be satisfied by the possession of the known.” She establishes that only Columbus, who wants to enter unknown world, can perhaps grant her satisfaction. Isabella surrenders to the fact that her need for him is as great as his for her. He must sail beyond the ‘end of the end of the world’ and ‘must must must carry her flag.’ Shedoes everything in her power to find Columbus and finally grants him access to her


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