Tuesday, March 12, 2013

my thesis is bleeding into "Stickeen"

Nothing gets me in the zone like a canine in Alaska. That is to say, "Stickeen" shares a few key elements with my thesis, and I'm having a hard time not casting Stickeen the dog as a wolf. Muir wrote this story just a few years after Jack London, who cast a much darker, and less scientific, view of the wilds of the northwest. Muir's adventures lack the desire to civilize and conquer that London espoused, instead wandering for the sake of observation. Stickeen, his canine companion, did not need to civilized in the way that London's wolf-dogs were, but he was humanized. Animal companions in wilderness situations are important because they can be used to mirror the feelings and fears of the humans present. In "Stickeen," Stickeen serves as a foil for the relationships between the people on the trip, and his change after the danger on the glacier also reflects that changes we see in human characters after traumatic, bonding experiences.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the idea that animals can mirror humans feelings. I believe that in this way one of the reasons people love having pets is because they help the human figure out their own true feelings, and not feel ashamed about them. Everyone tries to hide their feelings at some point in their life; yet I can 100 % say I have never hidden my emotions from my dogs. I think having a companion who, although he/she never voices an opinion remains loyal and open is a very valuable aspect that draws us to animals to the extent that we bring them into our own homes.