A Walk In The Woods Chapter 9

A Walk In The Woods: Chapter 9 Essay, Research Paper

Bill Bryson the author of the short story ?A Walk in the Woods? constructs the story in a certain way to try to get the reader to accept his attitudes and values about how dangerous and death defying Earl V. Shaffer and other?s are in attempting to travel the trail. He uses the techniques of emotive language, unusual language and use of first hand accounts in the short story ?A Walk in the Woods? . The use of descriptive and humorous language, combined with conversational text has allowed Bryson to express his feelings and opinions on his and others experiences on the Appalachian Trail to the audience.

The language that the author uses in the short story is very emotive and expressed the feeling which have been felt by others on the trail. The author uses emotive language throughout the story to position us to feel amazed and astonished toward Earl V. Shaffer?s 2000 mile journey on the trail. "He spent long periods bushwhacking over tangled mountains or following the wrong path when the trail forked.", this text shows that Shaffer was a tough and sturdy and wouldn?t give up for any reason. " On the other hand, even the dustiest little hamlets nearly always have a store of café, unlike now, and generally when he left the trail he could count on a country bus to flag down for a lift to the nearest town". The reader is also told that he might have been helped along the way, so suspicion arises. "…Reduced to a rutted, muddy track?" shows that the trail conditions at times were anything but perfect. ?Rutted? and ?muddy? describe the Appalachian Trail as an almost tough and hardy trail to trek across. "The trail Shaffer found was nothing like the groomed and orderly corridor that exists today" shows how the Appalachian trail appears to Bryson and portrays to the audience a trail affected by modern societies requirement of health and neatness. ‘orderly’ and ‘groomed’ are used to portray an image of a beautiful trail that is set out neatly, far from what Shaffer would have experienced on his travel along the trying trail. The attempts of Bryson to explain the conditions fought by Shaffer on his trip were well complimented by descriptive and explanatory sentences.

Bryson uses the very distinct humorous and silly style of writing which entertains the audience very well. “Well, then why do it, you stupid tit?” is an example of his humorous thoughts in which he is commenting on the unstable and emotionally distraught ultra-runner David Horton who, because of walking the Appalachian Trail, became “…a mental and emotional wreck…”. Bryson respects David Horton?s efforts to push on and continue travelling the Appalachian Trail. Another example of his creative and well used humour is “…a tad stupid (actually very stupid, but I don’t want to seem unkind)” when describing some of the disabling factors which altered the efforts of hiker ‘Grandma’ Gatewood. Despite the fact that Gatewood could have easily been killed or severely injured, Brysons humour allows the audience to see the funny side of the situation that despite all the factors against her, including her own mental capabilities and sense of direction, Gatewood completed the Appalachian Trail alive. Bryson congratulates Gatewoods’ achievement which Bryson believes to be rather dangerous and unorganized. . This reflects Bryson’s attitudes about determination and personal achievement.

Bryson has structured chapter 9 in A Walk In The Woods so that he can present his adventures along the Appalachian Trail and also the history of the trail. His love of history is continually portrayed to the reader as is his knowledge. Bryson compares the past and present attitudes towards the trail from people who have been involved with the Appalachian trail and he conveys his own thoughts in the way the trail has been shown and though by other people. By positioning the reader to appreciate his knowledge, Bryson can convey his values and attitudes to the reader and allow them to understand why he has these thoughts and ideals. Bryson has also positioned the reader to appreciate American history and culture regardless of their race or location in the world. He selects information that presents Shaffer as an American hero and someone that should be commended and recognized for their achievements. He writes “In the half-century since Shaffer’s hike, about 4,000 others have repeated the feat” to convey to the audience that what Shaffer achieved was not something anybody could just go out and do, but something that is grand and highly respectable.

At the beginning of chapter 9, the author has inserted an sketch of something that he experienced along his journey. The sketch at the beginning of chapter nine is of a billboard announcing to travelers that there is a ‘hi-way drive in’ near by. An arrow on the billboard directs anybody wanting to go there towards the location. This non-verbal part of the novel helps to show places that Bryson had traveled while hiking the Appalachian Trail, allowing the reader to kin of visualize what he observed. On the lower part of the billboard, the words ?I Love You Mellany? are written. This is another example of his Bryson?s humour.

The reader is encouraged to accept the attitude that the completion of the Appalachian Trail by a person who has disabilities or other impairments is an amazing accomplishment and should be rewarded. The author portrays this attitude by his commendation of hikers such as Bill Irwin, who hiked the trail with a seeing-eye dog, "and fell down an estimated 5000 times in the process ", (another example of his humour), and Woodrow Murphy who hiked it weighing an estimated 350 pounds. Bryson wrote "…I especially admired him when I read that he weighed 350 pounds and was doing the hike to lose weight" which shows that he admires their determination and courage to even attempt the trail. Bryson wrote that he too was over weight at the beginning of the novel and he admires Woodrow for his attitude and achievement because despite being very over weight, he hiked the Appalachian Trail succe


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