Where You Can Hear the Sea and See the Sound

Dorothy Julia Howell (2003)

An extended metaphor for emotional and spiritual relationships with natural environments, this is a novel of a Scots Highlander whose identities are altered through exiles in the Highlands, southern England and seventeenth-century New England, the latter with emphasis on the Connecticut shoreline. This is the time of the Pequot War primarily involving Pequots and Mohegans with English colonists, whose influences are expanding from Massachusetts Bay Colony. The native vantage is portrayed through the two sachems, Pequot Sassacus and Mohegan Uncas, interacting with the Highlander protagonist. Each sachem becomes uniquely an identity in exile. Forced by clan proscriptions imposed by the English and by personal circumstances, the protagonist is driven from his homeland to take shelter southwest of London, where he meets Puritan Roger Williams. Upon being widowed, the protagonist emigrates to New-England and settles on the shoreline with the family of Shaumpashuh through whom he befriends Sassacus and later independently befriends Uncas and Lion Gardener of Fort Saybrook. As the Pequot War proceeds, the protagonist is forced to decide where his loyalties reside and fords himself forced to embark on a "journey-quest" and disappears into yet another exile. The protagonist's life is in keeping with local histories, Puritan theologies, and numerous parallels across settings, between clan and "tribal" cultures, and in English attitudes toward Highlanders and Indians. In keeping with Erik Erikson's social psychology of identity, self, and lifelong "identity crises," the protagonist literally assumes new identities as he endures the series of exiles. Integrating elements of history, anthropology, social psychology, and theology, the thesis is that Americans are identities in exile in search of our proper place along the continuum between "civilization" and "the wild" or "wilderness." In this, we are on our own metaphoric journey-quest elucidating our relationships with places, larger environments, the natural world, and realms beyond. Occurring on September 21, 1938, the framing Hurricane marks a juncture in New England history and itself reflects the metaphor of the European "hurricane" sweeping North America, starting with the Pequot War, concluded by the Treaty of Hartford, September 21, 1638.