Thursday, October 25, 2007

Reading Section 6: Into Thin Air Part 2

Trusting Makes a Difference

Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air, experienced a tragic event in his life. As he was climbing Everest he’s expedition encountered very many deaths including many of his own teammates. Krakauer had more of a reason to just tell the story of this tragic sequence of events. Krakauer wanted every reader to know that the story is about trust. Trust is so important in this book; it led to some of the deaths in this story. He show’s this by explaining these deaths and near-death experiences, his strong words that define trust for him, and the strong loyalty shown by his guides during the storm.

As Krakauer climbed the mountain he experienced death all around him. As his expedition was ascending he felt his first taste of death as two climbers die from climbing accidents. This makes Krakauer very aware of death, it could happen to anyone on the mountain. “In climbing, having confidence in your partners is no small concern. One climber’s actions can affect the welfare of the entire team. The consequences of a poorly tied knot, a stumble, a dislodged rock, or some other careless deed are as likely to be felt by the perpetrator’s colleagues as the perpetrator.” (38) Krakauer’s realistic thought fits in the story because bad communication and small mistakes by his team causes many of the terrible events that occur. Death eventually knocks on his door when he runs out of oxygen and believes he’s going to die. This happens because one of his teammates accidentally turned the valve the wrong way, he trusted his teammate but it didn’t help.

Another thing that Krakauer does to show how important trusting people is the use of his words. His words are heavy and they carry deep meaning. When he writes them down it really makes the reader think. Krakauer explains, “… Boukreev realized they must be in trouble and made a courageous attempt to bring oxygen to them. But his stratagem had a serious flaw:” (211) Krakauer uses loaded and strong words to make the reader feel the importance of this sentence along with sentences. They emphasize the importance of trust, in his opinion, that is needed to successfully climb the mountain.

Krakauer’s team was in a very perilous situation. Although most would die, the guides chose to try to save other’s lives even at the cost of their own. Hall, Harris, Boukreev, and a few others all found themselves in situations to save others or at least try when the storm came. In one example Krakauer describes Lopsang, “ Lopsang was huddling with Fischer on a snow-covered edge when Makalu Gau and his two Sherpas appeared out of the howling blizzard…. ‘I stay with Scott and Makalu one hour, maybe longer.’” (228) This quote shows that even in the face of trouble Lopsang chose to stay and help Scott Fischer even though it seemed like a doomed fate.

The tale of this book is not just to tell a story, it is much more than that. Krakauer wrote this book to teach the reader the importance of trust. In his extreme case, many people were killed due to lack of trust and also bad timing. Krakauer proves this with experiencing death and near-death experiences, his loaded words, and the extreme loyalty by his guides. Trust is a very important thing, Krakauer shows this in his story.

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