Artic Ambivalence Anecdote
In Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, he retells the story of a young man named Chris McCandless by putting together interviews, speaking with people who knew him, and using letters he writes to his companions. Chris McCandless also known as Alexander Supertramp is a bright young man and after graduating from Emory University with all honors, he abandons most of his possessions and travels around the west, making long lasting impact on whomever he meets. He then hitchhikes to Alaska where he is found dead. In chapter 14 and 15, both named “Stikine Ice Cap”, Jon Krakauer interrupts the boy's story and shares his anecdote of going to Alaska to climb a dangerous mountain called the Devils Thumb. Krakaure’s purpose is to refute the argument that McCandless is mentally ill because many others, like Krakauer have tried to “go into the wild” but they are lucky to survive unlike McCandless. While describing his climb, Krakauer exhibits through the descriptions of and uncertainty about personal relationships.
Through portrayal of the Stikine Icecap as both terrifying and beautiful, Krakauer’s ambivalence towards his journey is revealed. Upon looking at the aerial photograph of the Devil’s Thumb, Krakauer describes it as “particularly sinister” (135) and “dark” (153). By personifying the mountain as evil, Krakauer’s fear intensifies because the mountain is hard to climb and there is an underlying metaphysical danger. Furthermore the mountain’s tangible “blade-like” (135) summit ridges indicate the mountain is hazardous, dangerous, and capable of killing climbers like a knife. During the second ascend, Krakauer crosses a " Gothic cathedral" (152). Krakauer is uncertain of what to make of the Alaskan scenery. At times, he views the mountain as beautiful and “pornographic fascination “(135) where other times he views the mountain as an ominous place.
Krakauer’s attitude towards his journey is clearly dubious, through the Devil’s Thumb. Before departing from a female friend's house, he realizes "the pleasure " (137). Krakauer’s display of sexual fragility manifests when he becomes aware of the lack of intimacy in his life. Krakauer tries to convince himself that he has no...