Green Mansions By William H. Hudson Critical Essays Intensity

Hudson utilizes the literary technique of intensity throughout his romance, especially in the thematic development of the love between Abel and Rima. The emotional commitment of these two characters is highly impassioned and dedicated. All yield place to love as Abel is determined to devote himself completely to Rima in life, and after her death. In whatever phase the slender plot may be unfolding — a minor incident in the jungle without direct importance to the outcome of the story or a major episode vital to the action — the intensity of the characters overshadows any practical considerations. Abel, for instance, falls to his knees in one chapter in silent adoration of the woodland's beauty, and he sees Rima reflected in the Hata flower. When Abel loses Rima, his sorrow and his hatred equally know no bounds. The intensity of his passion has led him away from any rational restraints, and his hatred is so intense that murder is the only thought in his mind. Like Abel, Rima cannot forbear showing the greatest intensity in her impulsive desire to travel to Riolama, in the traumatic realization that none of her people are alive, in her pledge of devotion to Abel, and in her final insistence about returning alone to the woodland.

In terms of plot, the action intensifies after Nuflo's detailed history of his and Rima's past. Although Haymaker states that intensity characterizes the entire book, most critics agree instead that the most dynamic part of Green Mansions occurs after the scene at Ytaioa, and Nuflo's tale. However, one should keep in mind the brevity of the romance; within a few pages, in contrast to the lengthy Victorian novels, Hudson has made his characters cover long distances and reveal intimately their passionate feelings. Also, without intensity of language, Hudson would not have survived as a master of English prose in his masterpiece. Without the vivid, forceful background of "that milder purgatory of the forest" and the "inferno" of the "rude savage heart of Guiana," Green Mansions would be only another romance of the nineteenth century. English literature is abundant with rather similar tales, and the critics, such as Carlos Baker, have traced Hudson's literary borrowings from other minor works. Intensity is sustained even on the very last page when Abel pleads strongly and poignantly with the reader for understanding and acceptance.

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