Month: February 2016

Strayed’s Sense of Self Along the PCT

I’m now starting to truly understand the essence of Strayed’s journey. I believe she’s already made immense strides in her emotional journey. I take this to be her ultimate prize. However, she also appears to be setting herself back. Strayed has become close with those she’s come across on the PCT. Her friends represent the new chapter of her life. Yet she doesn’t view her companions as permanent. She seems perfectly at peace as she says goodbye to Doug and Tom, not knowing if the farewell is “forever or for fifteen minutes” (Strayed 119). It appears as if she’s still quick to distance herself from others. On the one hand, her ability to let go is remarkable. She’s still her own person outside of her small, developing hiking group. This feeling completely contrasts the earlier Strayed we were introduced to in the beginning of the book. (more…)

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Women on the PCT

We’ve finally entered into the essence of Strayed’s journey. She appears more vulnerable now than ever, not only as a woman but as a narrator. Strayed has to hitch a ride to the Pacific Crest Trail. As readers, our obvious assumption turns to her safety. She is a young woman alone in the woods—it’s a conventional picture for victimization. Prior to her actually embarking upon this journey, even her ex-husband questioned her physical and mental ability to compete the hike. Within her first few chapters, Strayed recounts her sorrow upon losing her mother. Though we understand her sorrow, she does in fact appear weak. Strayed’s sex shouldn’t come into play when defining her character. Yet her being a woman unfortunately places her within the fragile and delicate category. (more…)

Wild: An Initial Reaction

I’m already enjoying Wild. Yet I cannot help but compare Cheryl Strayed’s writing style to that of Paul Theroux. The two travel authors are embarking upon completely separate and distinct journeys. Theroux is writing for others, whereas Strayed seems to be writing for herself. However, there is obvious bias in both travelogues. We have noted Theroux’s subjectivity when it comes to his describing the South numerous times over. On the other hand, Strayed presents a unique bias. She will clearly discuss nature and her surroundings soon, as she is on the verge of beginning her month’s long hike. However, she took the time to inform readers on her reasoning behind the hike and all in which her adventure truly encompasses. (more…)

Final Thoughts on Theroux’s Deep South

As a discussion leader for this week, I read the present section with an analytical eye. I found myself enjoying and detesting Theroux’s final section all at once. He begins with his introduction to Rob Birmingham, a Vietnam Veteran. As Theroux will later mention, there is an immense sense of pride for the military throughout the South. Particularly in regards to those who served in Vietnam, there is a feeling of belated celebration hovering over their past actions and subsequent return home. Theroux notes time and again, he is old enough to have lived through many of America’s tribulations. However, Theroux knows more of third-world trials then he does of his own country’s indifferences. (more…)