Monday, March 31, 2014

Epigraphs and Failures

Throughout this semester different authors have taken very different approaches to their narratives.  One approach I have found to be really effective is opening each chapter with an epigraph. Barrett chose to take this approach with The Voyage of the Narwhal.  Approaching this book I knew very little about sailing and arctic travel. These epigraphs helped to set the emotional and natural backdrop for Barrett’s story.  Krakauer also took this approach with Into Thin Air. In both cases I felt that by carefully choosing quotes what applied to the chapter I was able to better understand what the author was trying to say.

Another thing that stood out to me about this story was the idea that no one writes about failures. This struck me as a very accurate statement. We have read a number of stories about troubled expeditions or lesser victories, however none of these expeditions have truly failed. The two Annapurna expeditions experienced difficulties and losses however they met their primary objective. The only expedition that may be considered a failure is the Everest expedition in Into Thin Air.  There is a big difference between failure and challenges.  At first when I read that no one writes about failures, I thought that our readings thus far were perfect counter examples. However, on further thoughts most of the expeditions we have read about are clear examples of successful expiations, which met challenges.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're right to wonder about the failures. To me it brings us back to the question we always seem to ask about what makes an adventure narrative? How do you define a failure? Is it not reaching the summit? is it losing people on the expedition? I feel like it's one of those questions that we'll come back to again.