Thursday, January 31, 2013

Coming of Age

For me, an intriguing part of The Devil's Thumb was how Krakauer set himself up to be disappointed with intense physical and emotional buildup, while reflecting back on his journey much later with minimal fanfare or notice of lasting impact. It reminded me of a bildungsroman that doesn't quite get there; there isn't the dramatic personality change or life goal visualized that Krakauer so desperately wants to experience in the first half of the story. He begins muttering to himself, "Late one evening I was mulling all this over on a bar stool at Tom's, picking unhappily at my existential scabs, when an idea came to me, a scheme for righting what was wrong in my life." (Krakauer 6) Immediately, he thinks of this expedition as one that should be life-transforming. It seems to me that is what adventure should not be. An adventure is a journey that takes one out of their comfort zone.  But eventually one has to return to monotony and face their everyday life. A quest like this should begin with the end in mind that it was only temporary.
Krakauer definitely shows the trappings of youth with his hasty decision making and wasting of resources. I liked how in class we talked about patience, and patience is the one thing he learns. He plays with the idea of hubris; the people in Boulder think that he was, "grossly overestimating my abilities as a climber, I'd never be able to hack a month completely by myself, I would fall into a crevasse and die." (Krakauer 7) However, I find it arguable that the only way he is able to push himself through his expedition is because of his youth.  He has the overconfidence, hasty decision-making, and lack of patience to reach the summit. He has little familial obligations to tie him down, and his youthful exuberance prevents him from being dismayed.

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