Monday, March 10, 2014

What makes an adventure novel?

It was difficult for me to get into this novel after reading the adventure narratives we have read thus far this semester. I was waiting for the author to establish Hemlock’s credibility as a climber, but climbing is not the focus of the novel. The focus is Hemlock’s adventurous spirit. He is an adventurer in the sense that he follows his passions that include collecting art and climbing. Contrary to the other narratives we have read, climbing is not portrayed as the climber’s life. Climbing is not Hemlock’s life, rather it is a hobby. It is a thrilling escape from reality which sheds light on other’s motivations for climbing.

So is “The Eiger Sanction” an adventure novel? After reading the narratives of great climbers, I’m having trouble viewing this book as an adventure novel. Hemlock doesn’t set out to climb in the Swiss Alps, he is assigned to. Out of the authors/climbers we have read so far, how many of them set out to climb, and how many of them were assigned to climb? It seems like most climbers are assigned to climb—something or someone moves them to do so. One’s desire to climb does not come out of thin air. Hemlock is motivated to climb by his own greed. He climbs in order to get paid, so he can afford to buy his fancy paintings. I guess I would consider it an adventure novel, but I do not like it as much as the others. 

1 comment:

  1. I think this class has distorted what our view of "adventure" is. Perhaps without meaning to in this post, you assign adventure to mean mountain climbing, excluding all other types of activity as "adventure". There are so many ways to define adventure. Sure climbing mountains has been the almost exclusive focus of this class so far, but wouldn't you say deep sea diving, sky diving, exploring the jungle, etc are all adventures as well? "The Eiger Sanction" may not revere climbing as adventure, much like the other books we have read, but it certainly is an adventure novel. There are assassinations, high risk situations, and pretty girls (maybe that one is a personal preference), which are all things that happen outside what many would consider normal life. And what is adventure if not a detour from normalcy?