Motorcycle ride on the sea of tranquility Critical Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Sep 10th, 2019


The literal works always take different formats these include novels, novella, poems, short stories collections, and even kid’s books. The book Motorcycle ride on the sea of tranquility is set as a Kid’s book. It presents the transformation of the teens to young adults and the affection that they have to one another.

However, a closer look of the book makes it more than a kid’s story due to the various topics that it presents. The themes; affects of war, cultural change, love, maturity and other topics transform the novel form a kid’s story to a novel. This paper aims at unearthing how the book is more than a kid’s story.

The title

One of the captivating features of the novel is its title. Motorcycle ride on the sea of tranquility brings with it ambiguity. The reader is left with the anxiety; how a motorcycle ride can be taken on a sea. A motorcycle moves on dry land while the mediums of transport in the sea are boats, ships canoes and the like.

The reader is at suspense also to find out how the sea is calm. In most cases, calms only for a short while and then waves and torrents take over. On the contrary, the title suggests of the situation where a motorcycle ride is completed while the sea is still calm (Santana – I 52).

The title has a lot of relevance to the situations in the book. Just as the motor cycle is not the ideal medium of transport in the sea, there are many things that are used in the wrong or uncommon places. One, it is expected that when Chung- one of the main characters- returns, his parents shall understand him and give other siblings hope of him coming back to his normal life once again. On the contrary, his sister Yoli, a young adult takes this responsibility.

The young adult lady is optimistic of her brother being able to overcome the trauma that he has experienced form the killing fields. Chung has just returned form the Vietnam war which has completely changed him and is now transformed into another person without humor and other interests that he had prior to his adventures at the killing fields (Santana – II 62).

Similarly, the presentation of Chung as a solder is another motor cycle in the sea. Chung is too young to be a full grown soldier. However, he has been exhausted by the war and has lost passion of many things in life. The persons who have reached such a point are usually soldiers with much experience at the field of war.

The situation of Chung is paradoxical in that at his age he neither has passion for his family nor for the work not even for the party that is held for his homecoming. The events at the field of war have transformed him so fast. This makes his relatives and parents worried except Yoli who is optimistic of Chung’s recovery.

After Chung returns from the field of war, he disappears. In Yoli’s view, she could be able to help him recover. Instead, Chung disappears into the unknown land where he finds recovery. The exclusion from the people is one of the seas that the author refers to. The sea is a mass water body which the observer cannot view one end from the other end.

When Chung disappears, the parents and the relatives cannot find out where he is or what he is up to. Yet they are less worried as they know that all these are the effects of war. Though most of them think that he will never recover, Yoli views that he will recover. The tranquility is proven when he resurges after a long time when he comes as a changed man. Yoli now a young lady and more affectionate to men is happier of all the persons in their community (Santana – I 252).

Cultural transformation

The other feature that makes the book more of a novel than the kid’s story is the cultural transformation. During the time that Chung disappears, Yoli reflects on the life that they used to have when they were young with Chung and others. The audience is taken through the various passages of rites that the children underwent up to present age. The reflection is compared with the present life of the Chicanos the group that the characters hail from.

By the time of Chung’s disappearance, most of the persons with whom Chung was brought up have moved to other places, the cultural centre itself has had a transformation. Thus it is not only Chung who has had a change over the years; almost every section of the community has changed. The movements of all these people had added many things to the culture of the Chicanos. However, the passage of rites still remains to unite the young adults in the time of writing the novel (Koelling & Carter 84).

Effects of war

The effects of war are presented with a lot of vices both directly and indirectly. The book -as has been evident in other sections of this paper, presents how the field of war can transform one person humane and lead to lack of passion. Chung is the perfect example of them destruction that war can do to the life of a soldier.

Secondly, the field of war alienates one from his people and makes him uncomfortable with them. Shortly after Chung has been in the home coming party, he disappears; this can be interpreted as the effects of war having a toll on him. Even the family is less attached to him; they all see him as a solder. It is the war that also partly transforms the culture of the Chicanos as presented earlier in the paper (Koelling & Carter 80).

Love and maturity

These two topical items are intertwined in the novel. The character used to present these is Yoli. At the start of the novel, Yoli is only fourteen years. She is a teenager who is eagerly expecting to see her brother return from Vietnam. The author takes the audience back to the childhood of Yoli during the time that Chung disappears and them back to her as a young adult when Chung is about to return.

The person in Yoli changes bit by bit as she becomes mature. As she develops love for the male as is common to the young ladies, she feels more connected to her brother and thus feels more eager to see him fully recovered from his traumatic war experiences (Wisconsin 45).


When the book starts it is all about the nine children who are growing up together in a foreign land. However, the book transforms bit by bit to a full novel as the teens mature and as it presents issues that are not common in the kid’s stories. The presentation and the setting is captivating as well as the title being well chosen. The cultural transformation completes the transformation to a novel as almost the whole of the Chicano community is transformed to Mexican Americans.

Works Cited

Koelling, Holly & Carter, Betty. Best books for young adults. New York: Young Adult Library Services Association. 2007.

Santana, Patricia. Ghosts of El Grullo. Mexico. University of Mexico Press. 2008

Santana, Patricia. Motorcycle Ride on the Sea of Tranquility. Mexico. University of Mexico Press. 2004.

Wisconsin, Kat, Book Review: Motorcycle Ride on the Sea of Tranquility. Mexico: University of Mexico Press. 2002.

This critical essay on Motorcycle ride on the sea of tranquility was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

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