Sunday, April 6, 2014
The will to live
The thing I have been most struck by while reading Albanov's In the Land of White Death is that despite all the hardships Albanov faces on his trek on the ice, he has an indomitable will to live. Im sure that further into the narrative I get, the more this will become apparent as more people die. I think this is clear on page 115, when Albanov is upset about the actions of his companions and realizes that it might be easier for him to make it if he was alone, saying "You may have no one to help you with your struggle, but you will at least have no on dragging you under." Albanov is a good man, from what I know, but for him to even consider the benefits of being alone shows that he may be willing to do whatever it takes to stay alive. The only other novel we have read in which I have seen such a will to live was in Touching the Void. Simpson was able to crawl his way back to camp with a broken leg and god knows what else through sheer will. He may have wanted to give up several times, he still was able to make it. This kind of will power may say something about the type of adventure these men were on. Climbing and arctic exploration are two dangerous adventures, and the kind of men that undertake them have to be willing to accept they may die. Perhaps knowing that they might never make it home gave them time to mentally prepare for a situation such as the one they found themselves in. Perhaps it gave them the edge the needed to push themselves to stay alive. All I know is that had I been in either of their situations, I probably wouldn't have the strength to crawl to camp or march through an endless land of ice. Therefore, will power like this may be the product of the adventure itself, and the character of those who adventure.