Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tragedy sells

This is just a quick post...I thought about this during our class discussion on Tuesday.
We talked about how, in most adventure narratives, the weight is placed on the tragedy (typically the descent in climbing expeditions).  In "In the Land of White Death," the Saint Anna portion of the expedition is the ascent equivalent, and the trek across the ice is the descent equivalent.  In the epilogue, Roberts writes, "Whether for that reason or out of aesthetic considerations alone, Albanov wisely chose to begin his book with the departure from the moribund ship in early 1914" (196).  All of the expeditions that we've read about have been pretty thoroughly planned out (except for Devil's Thumb), but the most gripping part of the tales is when tragedy strikes and people have to improvise.  So, when does the real adventure begin?  When the ship sets sail (or climbers begin their ascent) or when disaster sets in and all planning goes to hell?

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