Monday, May 5, 2014

Whose the main character, again?

This short story portrays an active and dynamic ecosystem to the reader through compelling detail. I felt that the bustling action of the bay, from speeding orcas to plummeting ice, was more present in this narrative than the human onlookers. The kayakers traveled through and received this environment rather passively. The actions of the environment even acted on the observers by evoking powerful emotional responses. The author even describes the systemic changes taking place in this system, which mirrors the evolution and transformation of central character. In many of the books we have read, characters undergo concrete events, like glacier calvings, that generate less evident systemic changes to their character, much like long term glacier recession. This short story feels to me like a perfect final reading for this semester because I felt while reading the short story as if I were getting in touch with the ultimate adventure narrative character, nature itself.


  1. I agree with you! I wish I had read this before I wrote my blog post because I think we feel very similarly and wrote, in some ways, about the same concept. I really like how you summed it up "the ultimate adventure narrative character, nature itself"

    What have we done to appreciate the nature that is the foundation for all of these narratives? I feel like I should go back and look up pictures of all the places and try to understand their ecosystem (or lack there of) the snow and ice don't exactly provoke detailed flora and fauna descriptions but I really did love the attention to the surroundings and the landscape within which the narrative occurred.

  2. I agree with your sentiments about how the characters are simply passing through and I think this is a central theme to every adventure narrative: that all adventurers are simply visitors to the incredibly thrilling and dangerous environments they encounter. As with the Krakauer in "Into Thin Air" and all of the other adventure narratives we have read, the characters in this short story, although immersed in their surroundings, were simply onlookers to the ecosystem they were traveling through. They were in no way connected to the calving of the glacier and they were very much outsiders to the struggle for life that was occurring between the seals and the orcas. In nature, this is how adventurers and humans will always be. We have removed ourselves to such a degree that nature has become a separate entity from our being. Consequently, it is perhaps this separation that provides us with the desire to adventure into nature in search of the feeling of wild and natural, if only for a short while, because we are at most only visitors.