Tuesday, May 13, 2014
The novel "My Side of the Mountain," written by Jean Craighead George, introduced me to the subject of fictive adventure and has continued to influence me decades later. This story follows the twelve year old protagonist Sam Gribley as he runs away from city life to live self sufficiently in the woods of the Catskill Mountains. Besides being a relatively short and very readable adventure story, "My Side of the Mountain" has innumerable tips regarding how to stay alive and how to sustainably live in New York wilderness with little more than a pocket knife. Furthermore, it offers a context for adventure in a setting that anybody going to Hamilton College can relate to. At times during this semester I felt ostracized from the books we were reading by how outlandish the idea was (for me at least) to be in Antarctica, the middle of an ocean, or the top of a Himalayan mountain. "My Side of the Mountain" transposes the same struggle to survive that we read about all semester into a very relatable context (made more so if you go camping with future classes).