• Fie Søndergaard Olesen
4. semester, Engelsk, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This master’s thesis is based on my personal interest in the wilderness trope, especially the grip it has on the American imagination. The American author Jon Krakauer is essential to investigate this field of interest, as he has a deep interest in nature and wilderness. Especially in his three books, Eiger Dreams, Into the Wild, and Into Thin Air, he portrays a wilderness trope that challenges traditional values. Therefore, the goal is to showcase how Krakauer systematically examines, challenges, and pushes beyond the wilderness trope as it is traditionally known in the US in the three books.
In order to conduct this ecocritical analysis and discussion of the three books, theoretical frameworks regarding the wilderness trope and contemporary narrative theories are accounted for to demonstrate how Krakauer conveys the wilderness trope. I primarily use Garrard’s theory to account for the wilderness trope in general and use Muir and Adam to showcase traditional wilderness values. To demonstrate how Krakauer challenges these traditional values, I include Cronon, who problematizes these romanticized wildernesses, and DeLancey’s new ecological concept of wilderness to showcase that traditional notions are no longer applicable today.
The results illustrate that Krakauer pushes beyond the traditional wilderness trope in general, but he does it differently in each book. Eiger Dreams is a collection of pieces in which Krakauer systematically investigates different interpretations of the wilderness trope. Here, he shows a deep respect for protecting wildernesses but also acknowledges that commercialization and fatal consequences are inevitable. Into the Wild is a non-fiction biography of McCandless, who searches for a more traditional and pristine way of living in the Alaskan wilderness. However, Krakauer critiques McCandless’ choices as he misunderstands wilderness, arguing that the trope becomes one without reflection and reality as he cannot differentiate between myth and reality. Into Thin Air chronicles the disaster on Mount Everest in 1996, in which Krakauer presents a complex wilderness trope. He associates the wilderness trope with natural beauty and awe but overall describes it as dehumanizing and turning people into lesser human beings. Krakauer critiques the stakes and conditions on the mountain, as he sees them as a perversion of traditional wilderness values.
The ecocritical analysis and discussion of Eiger Dreams, Into the Wild, and Into Thin Air demonstrates that Krakauer depicts the wilderness trope differently in each book. To conclude, Krakauer portrays a complex wilderness trope in all three books that challenge traditional wilderness values: one that moves beyond wilderness as it is traditionally known in the US.
Udgivelsesdato30 maj 2023
Antal sider69
ID: 532289259