Monday, March 31, 2014

The End Goal

The Voyage of The Narwhal brings forth a new type of adventure narrative. Zeke and his team leave for an expedition that doesn’t have a physical summit and although they know that they will have to comeback, it seems that they struggle on defining the end goal of the expedition. Throughout my reading of this novel, I have finally been able to truly assess the importance of summits in the mountaineering narratives that we have previously read. The leaders of Antarctic expeditions are charged with a new task. They don’t have a final summit that they want to reach as they are exploring the unknown and must decide for themselves when to turn back. It seems that Zeke randomly decides that the expedition is a success after his encounter with the Esquimaux. I have found myself struggling with his decision to go back home so early in the narrative. I believe that Zeke is a bad leader due to his unwillingness to further explore the unknown but I also am conscious that the story isn’t told from Zeke’s viewpoint and it becomes difficult for the armchair adventurer to fully assess the leader’s decision-making skills. The lack of a summit makes me wonder now more than ever what brings men to undertake such perilous expeditions. Mountaineers climb in order to reach an end goal that they have set for themselves or to reach a summit but in The Voyage of The Narwhal Zeke risks his life and the life of others without having set a clear end goal for his expedition. 

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