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Into Thin Air

Virtual Scrapbook

Super Mario

on 3 October 2013

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Transcript of Into Thin Air

Through our lives, we are always tested with arduous obstacles that block our road to success. Whether it is conflicts with other people and circumstances or internal conflicts with yourself, these difficulties seem everlasting and torturing. While reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, I realized once again how this theme of an enduring journey was ubiquitous. By dealing with unfortunate incidents that occurred in Mount Everest in 1996, Krakauer shows his obstacles: lack of supplemental oxygen, disputes with other teams, and sheer arrogance which had hindered him and his team’s expedition from climbing and descending the world’s greatest mountain. I believed this theme was the most important message that Krakauer was trying to relay as he clearly explained that irresponsible and rash decisions in response to these obstacles resulted only in fatal conclusions. However, rather than trying to clarify the consequences of irresponsible actions, Krakauer emphasizes the need for correct judgment during difficult times. I felt strongly attached to this message and overall theme as I too, feel the same way when facing conflict. Krakauer’s message that the journey, although having many unexpected turns and forks will eventually lead one the right way is supported by many diverse forms of literature and art.
In my opinion, the theme of “The Journey” is most suited to arguably the best movie of all time, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Lord of the Ring series since my life in England and loved it not only for its accomplished plot and acting but for its underlying message. During what I would call the most heartening and breath-taking scene in the whole series, Samwise Gamgee persuades Frodo Baggins to continue his journey to finally destroy the ring in Mount Doom. The fact that they are impeded by obstacles such as exhaustion and Gollum while only few steps away from the end of the journey strongly correlates to the story on the summit of Mount Everest when many gave up the descent with a lack of willpower. However, Samwise Gamgee’s persuasive “Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It'll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they'll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields... and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?”(Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) recalls what they had forgotten behind the journey, hindered by the difficulties they faced. From this movie, I learned that I should never give in to obstacles which hinder my sight from the precious things I leave behind the journey.
Life itself is a journey. This is the conclusion I have come up with after observing Krakaeur’s theme of “The Journey” through five different forms of literature and art. Although slightly different in context, I believe that all share the common message that the journey is not everlasting, but, although you may never expect it, will come to an end and that the obstacles we face in it are what we all should cope with. As the brave Nick Vujicic once said, “The challenges in our lives are there to STRENGTHEN our CONVICTIONS. They are NOT there to run us over.” (Vujicic 12)
Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King
The Opener
In a Nutshell
Into Thin Air
A Virtual Scrapbook by DongSeok Koh
The Tempest
Although quite different in periodic time in which Into Thin Air and The Tempest were written, the two books both share a theme. In contrast to other examples which share the notion of a need for good judgment, The Tempest emphasizes on how the bad choices you make in your life lead to obstacles and consequences. For example, by causing a tempest and forcing a shipwreck, Propsero brings other characters to his island to begin his revenge. He goes further by explaining “he did believe he was indeed the duke, out o’ th’ substitution and executing th’ outward face of royalty, with all prerogative.”(Shakespeare 1.2 102-105) By clarifying his reasons for causing the tempest, Prospero indicates how his brother, Antonio, took his position as Duke with lies and malicious actions. From the bird’s-eye view of the plot and theme, this quote carries the underlying message that Antonio is receiving punishment for his previous actions which are considered the “bad choices” he made in his life. Alike Into Thin Air in which the climbers’ greed of reaching the summit cause deaths and desertion, The Tempest demonstrates its own theme through the punishment Antonio receives following his uncontained greed of power. Through the parallel between Into Thin Air and The Tempest, I was able to learn not only the need for sensible decisions, but also the need to not make any poor or greedy choices in my journey.
Biography of Nick Vujicic
Born without limbs, Nick Vujicic was tormented to such an extent as a child that he contemplated suicide at the tender age of eight. Unlike others, Vujicic’s journey started with an obstacle: he had to learn to cope with his disabilities at a young age. To be honest, if I were to meet such hardships, I would have easily given up hope and lived a pessimistic life. However, unlike how others would react, Vujicic came to realize a positive side to his handicap and that his everyday struggles were an inspiration to many. This is where I believe Krakauer’s theme matches the life of Nick Vujicic. I believe that Nick Vujicic is an example of a person who has excellently responded to his obstacles in his journey; from Krakauer’s explanations, Vujicic is the epitome of a person dealing with his conflicts. As Vujicic once said, “If I fail, I try again, and again, and again. If YOU fail, are you going to try again? The human spirit can handle much worse than we realize. It matters HOW you are going to FINISH. Are you going to finish strong?” (Vujicic 28)
The Game of Life
Although Krakauer’s Into Thin Air only describes mishaps on Mount Everest, I believe this symbolizes a journey of life itself, which also has its own set of obstacles. The Game of Life, a board game I used to play with my friends during the short winter vacations in South Korea, wonderfully describes life and its rough struggles that lie here and there. The journey in The Game of Life, alike the journey in Into Thin Air depicts truly unanticipated turn of events that can either cause you harm or save your life; what Krakauer thought to be an empty can of oxygen was in fact full, and earning a nobel peace prize in the board game are all fortuitous events that happen to exist in the “journey”. Despite one journey being open to only climbers spending extravagant amounts of money with a desire to conquer the greatest mountain and the other “strictly” restricted only to those of 9 years of age and older, I can’t help but think that the two journeys resemble each other. Of course, it is your choice to choose the “safe route” or the “risky road”, but ultimately in the conclusion of the journey a brighter, more optimistic end is always awaiting.
Works Cited
McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Vintage Books, 2006. Print.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Dir. Peter Jackson. Perf. Sean Astin. 2003. DVD.
Vujicic, Nick. Life Without Limits. NewYork: Doubleday, 2010. Print.
Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Stilwel: Digireads, 2005. Print.
When studying English in grade 10, I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Although fictional, the novel creates situations of conflicts that await in the journey the protagonists take on. While both challenging and grueling, the conflicts exhaust the mentality of the father and son, pushing them to an extent where they need to take drastic measures. The Road’s protagonists display what Krakaeur would explain a great illustration of coping with obstacles; when met by problems, the father and son carefully consider their options to make the best decision. Through this novel, McCarthy demonstrates how the protagonists cope with the troubles they face and even fare well in circumstances of high conflict. In this novel, the theme of “The Journey” represents hope, as it did for Krakauer as well. The hope of wanting this seemingly endless journey to come to a close also resides in me as I await the end of my highschool and university academic life. However, I too know that obstacles nonetheless exist, and it is my job to manage them; in fact, I believe in McCarthy’s words “If trouble comes when you least expect it then maybe the thing to do is to always expect it.”(McCarthy 104) By expecting the obstacles that were bound to come at some time during my life, I began to cope better with the troubles that popped up here and then.
The Road
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