Monday, April 8, 2013

A Little Aside

Due to breaking my elbow, I have not yet blogged about the Dunn reading, nor did I get a chance to hear all of your wonderful input in class, so I apologize if this is redundant. However so this post is more time relevant, I will take what I was going to blog about in light of Whymper’s narrative. I just blogged on how Whymper’s purpose was clear: climb to conquer, leaves out the emotional journey. We got a very accurate, logistic description of his ultimate success. On the other hand, although Dunn claims failure, he did succeed in giving me a new insight not only to why we, climb, but rather how we write. In Dunn’s view, an arm-chair adventure is not an adventure, and his prose, though a story of “failure” makes me crave the outdoors more than the summiters in previous narratives have. Dunn writes “I know the whole truth is always beyond reach… It is beyond the power of words to make anyone feel exactly as I have felt a-crossing the Alaskan tundra” (Dunn, 8). He does not claim to write the truth, yet he also claims that we can learn about ourselves without necessarily writing the truth. In this class as well as my comparative literature class last semester with Janelle, I have been intrigued by the notion that fiction is a big lie created in order to tell the truth. But maybe all literature functions that way. Maybe it hardly matters whether we read novels or narratives, poems or biographies. We write, read, even adventure to learn more about ourselves, how we play a role in all that revolves around us. Just like our notions of self are constantly changing, so are our “truths” and by extension our memories. Dunn describes the explorer as “inarticulate, like the victim of a passion.” (Dunn, 4).  I would much rather have passion than the ability to articulate that passion. So why do we write? Well maybe as a challenge. And maybe because even if we don’t find the right words, don’t reach the “summit”, we can still learn something, or at least still have a good time.

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