Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Whatever comes natural

We as Americans are so used to hearing and reading what we have become familiar with that everything else seems and feels awkward at first glance.  What I am referring to is Norgay's Hunduism and how he subtly incorporates it into his writing.  He makes many references to his faith, but none resound more than his discussion of reincarnation, which he discusses as a given fact of life.  If I too were Hindu, this would not have sat nearly the same way as it did.  I am not religious, but I am so used to Christian faith being subtly incorporated into the vast majority of what I read that I don't even recognize it anymore, for the most part.  I now realize that whenever I hear "God" I always think about it in the singular and I always associate other figures, like Jesus, with that word.  Norgay most likely does not make this same association with the word.  I am sure that he thinks of Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva and even more so he thinks of the word "God" more in the plural sense.  Having read this book, with the subtle religious differences that it contains, definitely sheds some perspective on the books that we have read and will read.


  1. I think this is a great observation (although unless I am much mistaken, Norgay is Buddhist). I can sort of relate this to the way Krakauer includes detailed descriptions of climbing equipment and methods, clearly implying that his intended audience was (were??) inexperienced climbers. In the same manner, Norgay constantly defines the Buddhist terms he uses and gives the backgrounds of the gods he references, suggesting he meant to appeal to people of other faiths or who were at least unfamiliar with Buddhism.

  2. I like that you brought this up because I was slightly irritated that the film we watched last night didn't take advantage of this as much as I would have liked. Clearly, Norgay was more of a sideprop because he was the son of Tenzing. But anyways, back to the book, I appreciated the descriptions of Buddhist culture, which I only know anything about because I'm in a class about Indian Buddhism. It's really weird to think about the Western perspective of God from an outsider's view. We don't have the same perception of spirituality and connections with nature- more specifically Everest itself. Everest is a living entity to them, and it's sometimes challenging for a Westerner to think like that. It definitely underlines the difference between Western materialism and Eastern values that Norgay brings up often.