Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lessons from the Devil's Thumb

The thing that really struck me about Krakauer's text when I first read it, and still strikes me know, is that he seemed to really believe that climbing the Devil's Thumb would change the material realities of his life. He quits his job, and sets off for Alaska to change his life, but I was left wondering how he thought this would work. Though he was critical of the Alaskans who "asked how much money there was in climbing a mountain" (7), he seemed to be asking the same question, though perhaps subconsciously. After the climb, he is forced back to his life in Boulder, without money, recognition, or personal validation. As a result of the twelve-year perspective, we learn that Krakauer gains not only patience for the Devil's Thumb, but also, an understanding that climbing is not only about glamor and admiration, but also hard work and sacrifice, both on and off the mountain.

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