Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

lightin' out for the territory

we have books like Walden and Huck Finn that excite us about our possibilities. they are books about coming of age, about testing ourselves, challenging ourselves. there are two more books to add to this collection:
into the woods by jon krakauer and the last american man by elizabeth gilbert.

these two books complement each other. they follow in the tradition of outside, coming of age books. they are both current. they both deal with the woods and living off the land. they are both about young men. they both had a tough time with their dad. a major difference, however, is that one young man survives; while the other young man does not survive. they are about men living out their dreams.

while reading these books, i reflected on my own life. i have built and lived a tipi. i have lived off the land, by myself and with a family. i have spent long periods alone in nature. i have almost died. i lost touch with my dad for 10 years, from the time i returned from vietnam till the end of my first marriage, one they disapproved of. these books are inspiring and provide me with the energy to continue that way of life. i am still an active camper and hiker, but not to the extent i once was. i want to send my 14 year old son to eustace's turtle island preserve camp for 2 weeks this summer. i want him to learn more than i can not teach him so he can help me continue to live in nature. my son and i spend a couple of weeks every summer camping. i want to do this for him and with him. i could very easily have ended up like chris mccandless in jon krakaeur's book. i have not achieved eustace conway's level in elizabeth gilbert's book. i'm somewhere in between. i still have the chris and eustace bug and i know my son has it. so i want him to be like both these men, but i want him to survive and to stay close with his old man.

these books reminded me that we all are chris and eustace. some of us survive, others do not. that is life. they reminded me of my own life and it helped me reexamine those times in my life when i was chris and eustace and how i'm still that way. now it is time to help my son realize it in him. i've gotten him started and want him to learn more.

these are two must reads for all boys and men as well as the women in their lives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a new view of Huck Finn, Ted. One I would not have thought of, but now that you show me, I can see that there are boys in need of the connection they can make with Huck. I see him, I suppose, primarily through Widow Douglass' eyes, amused, proud, and a bit concerned, but knowing the boy has the smarts to become a man in spite of all he has to endure. Perhaps it is because of what he has to endure that makes him so able. I think I forget that it is our trials that mold us. Thanks for sharing.