Monday, February 10, 2014

Climbing Their Own Annapurna

In the foreword to "Annapurna: A Woman's Place," Maurice Herzog states "They too have conquered their Annapurna." (XII) This quote applies to many aspects of this novel, both on a large scale and in personal achievements.

Reading the introduction, I was amazed by the way women mountain climbers were viewed by their male peers and the rest of society. I assumed that there would be a large ratio of men to women mountain climbers, but I had no idea about the reasons why and the way that women were actually forcibly excluded from doing the thing that they wanted to do, even if they had the skills or the experience necessary. In one way, this expedition shows that women in general “conquered their Annapurna,” because they were able to succeed on a daunting and challenging climb.  This group of women certainly showed that they were capable of enduring this challenge. 

Yet this novel was also highly concerned with achieving personal goals. Unlike Herzog, whose team was climbing for glory of country alone, Arlene encouraged all of the members of her team to respect their limits but also push themselves. Many of the women set goals, like climb to a certain height that they had never reached before. Arlene's own goal was to climb high enough to see Tibet because she realized that climbing to the summit would be too much for her. By setting their own goals, all of the members of the expedition climbed their own Annapurnas and not only made this climb an achievement for women, but also for their own personal goals.

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