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Into The Wild
Sometimes a character may be pushed over the edge by our materialistic society to discover his/her true roots, which can only be found by going back to nature where monetary status was not important. Chris McCandless leaves all his possessions and begins a trek across the Western United States, which eventually brings him to the place of his demise-Alaska. Jon Krakauer makes you feel like you are with Chris on his journey and uses exerts from various authors such as Thoreau, London, and Tolstoy, as well as flashbacks and narrative pace and even is able to parallel the adventures of Chris to his own life as a young man in his novel Into the Wild. Krakauer educates himself of McCandless story by talking to the people that knew Chris the best. These people were not only his family but the people he met on the roads of his travels- they are the ones who became his road family.
McCandless, an intelligent child to say the least, was frustrated with orders by anyone. He wanted to do things his way or no way and he does this throughout his life. Whether it was getting an F in physics because he refused to write lab reports a certain way (an F was something that was never on McCandless report card) or not listening to advice from his parents to the extreme of leaving society to go into the wilderness, McCandless definitely was not a follower. His parents were told by one of his teachers at an early age that Chris "marched to the beat of his own drummer". Chris never lost his ability to do things the way he wanted and when he wanted to do them. After receiving his diploma from Emory in 1990 he set off on a two-year escapade that would eventually end his life but in my opinion, if Chris could start over he would probably not do things much differently. I think he would still donate his $25,000 to an organization, leave his car in the woods, burn the remainder of his money, and hitch-hiked across the United States. The only thing he might do differently is finding a way not to starve to death at the end of the novel.
In the beginning of each chapter, Krakauer includes one or two exerts from various authors of nature such as Thoreau, Tolstoy, or London. Once in a while he even includes postcards that Chris had sent to some of the people he met along his journey, which show what he was feeling throughout the trip. Some of the exerts were taken from what was highlighted in the books found with Chris in the bus he was discovered dead in. Other exerts were just chosen by Krakauer to help give the reader a sense of what other naturalists were thinking when they left civilization (Thoreau for example). The last postcard ever received by Chris was addressed to one of his friends that he met along his trip. Wayne Westerberg was the one who was delivered the postcard that included the line "if this adventure proves fatal and you dont ever hear from me again I want you to know youre a great man. I now walk into the wild." Chris almost knew that he would not make it out of the wild alive. Chris was seeking adventure. His trip to Alaska was the "drug" that made him high. "I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life."-Leo Tolstoy-highlighted in one of the books found with McCandlesss remains. Krakauer wastes no time getting into the story and tells the reader from the beginning that McCandless eventually reaches the end of his journey of life in Alaska but he still leaves out enough to make the story interesting and he introduces the information that fills the gaps of the story through flashback.
The reader knows that there is not going to be a happy ending in Into the Wild. It is no secret that McCandless does not survive but the reader ... more
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EARLY EUROPEANS By: Travis H.
The first Europeans to arrive in North America were Norse, traveling west from Greenland, where Erik the Red had founded a settlement around the year 985. In 1001 his son Leif is thought to have explored the northeast coast of what is now Canada and spent at least one winter there.
While Norse sagas suggest that Viking sailors explored the Atlantic coast of North America down as far as the Bahamas, such claims remain unproven. In 1963, however, the ruins of some Norse houses dating from that era were discovered at L'Anse-aux-Meadows in northern Newfoundland, thus supporting at least some of the claims the Norse sagas make.
In 1497, just five years after Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean looking for a western route to Asia, a Venetian sailor named John Cabot arrived in Newfoundland on a mission for the British king. Although fairly quickly forgotten, Cabot's journey was later to provide the basis for British claims to North America. It also opened the way to the rich fishing grounds off George's Banks, to which European fishermen, particularly the Portuguese, were soon making regular visits.
Columbus, of course, never saw the mainland United States, but the first explorations of the continental United States were launched from the Spanish possessions that he helped establish. The first of these took place in 1513 when a group of men under Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the Florida coast near the present city of St. Augustine.
With the conquest of Mexico in 1522, the Spanish further solidified their position in the Western Hemisphere. The ensuing discoveries added to Europe's knowledge of what was now named America -- after the Italian Amerigo Vespucci, who wrote a widely popular account of his voyages to a "New World." By 1529 reliable maps of the Atlantic coastline from Labrador to Tierra del Fuego had been drawn up, although it would take more than another century before hope of discovering a "Northwest Passage" to Asia would be completely abandoned.
Among the most significant early Spanish explorations was that of Hernando De Soto, a veteran conquistador who had accompanied Francisco Pizzaro during the conquest of Peru. Leaving Havana in 1539, De Soto's expedition landed in Florida and ranged through the southeastern United States as far as the Mississippi River in search of riches.
Another Spaniard, Francisco Coronado, set out from Mexico in 1540 in search of the mythical Seven Cities of Cibola. Coronado's travels took him to the Grand Canyon and Kansas, but failed to reveal the gold or treasure his men sought.
However, Coronado's party did leave the peoples of the region a remarkable, if unintended gift: enough horses escaped from his party to transform life on the Great Plains. Within a few generations, the Plains Indians had become masters of horsemanship, greatly expanding the range and scope of their activities.
While the Spanish were pushing up from the south, the northern portion of the present-day United States was slowly being revealed through the journeys of men such as Giovanni da Verrazano. A Florentine who sailed for the French, Verrazano made landfall in North Carolina in 1524, then sailed north along the Atlantic coast past what is now New York harbor.
A decade later, the Frenchman Jacques Cartier set sail with the hope -- like the other Europeans before him -- of finding a sea passage to Asia. Cartier's expeditions along the St. Lawrence River laid the foundations for the French claims to North America, which were to last until 1763.
Following the collapse of their first Quebec colony in the 1540s, French Huguenots attempted to settle the northern coast of Florida two decades later. The Spanish, viewing the French as a threat to their trade route along the Gulf Stream, destroyed the colony in 1565. Ironically, the leader of the Spanish forces, Pedro Menendez, would soon establish a town not far away -- St. Augustine. It was the first permanent European settlement in what would become the United States.
The great wealth that poured into Spain from the colonies in Mexico, the Caribbean and Peru provoked great interest on the part of the other European powers. With time, emerging maritime nations such as ... more
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