Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Everything is different

This book is so unbelievably different from everything else that we have read that I am having trouble putting it down.  It's tone is so different from everything else that we have read and the way it was set up from the very beginning travels down a totally different vein of outdoor narratives.  There is no exclamation on the cover about unveiling the truth or flashy picture on the front.  Instead there is a calm picture of Jill sitting in her row boat in front of a glacier with caricature drawings of whales beneath her.  This cover captures a dynamic of mystery and true human curiosity in the unknown that has escaped mot of the previous narratives that we have read.  Even in the preface she makes the remark that she is no expert and that she is not interested in being the first or greatest; she is not looking for sponsorships or glory.  Jill paddles because she needs to see what nature holds, not to take domain over it.  Her comparison of her own journeys to that of Uncle Al, who paddled because he had to know what there was at either end of the river, separates her from other explores who set out to conquer mountains for themselves or their countries.  She goes and explores not because she needs to prove that she is bigger or better than others, but to fulfill her own need to see nature in the absence of people and understand her own place in the greater context of the natural world.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that Rowing to Latitude stands alone in many ways when compared to the other narratives we have read. In comparison to the other texts, it focuses less on the immediate adventure at hand and more on her personal life, devoting a lot of time to recount her childhood and tell sweet little stories about meeting, falling in love, and navigating a marriage with Doug. By switching back and forth between stories about her personal life and descriptions of her voyages, Jill presents both timelines as equally important adventures. This approach towards "adventure" is different from that of any author we've read. The inclusion of the non-goal-oriented personal journey necessarily gives the narrative a more meandering, personable tone.
    One comment on Uncle Al: I read the inclusion of the Uncle Al anecdote as Jill's way of illustrating the inexplicable need to row. In a way, this is a similarity between Jill and the other adventurers we've discussed. (one of the only similarities??)