Significant Connections

It is a choice that us humans make on whether we choose to self sacrifice for the savoir of others. The judgement of our circumstances such as our relationship, individual survival, emotions, numbers and religion can influence our descion to save or to not to save another. The texts: “Touching the Void”, written by Joe Simpson, “Into thin air”, written by Jon Krakauer, “Alive”, written by Paul Piers Read and “Into the wild”, written by Jon Krakauer all address people’s decisions and actions to self sacrifice for the saviour of others in different circumstances. It is those who can think rationally and contemplate the consequences often make the correct descion whether to self sacrifice for another. However it is those without the killer instinct to make a descion who act purely on their emotions and ambitions often end in failure. 

In the text “Touching the Void” authored by Joe Simpson, the viewer sees Joe fighting for his survival due to him breaking his leg while Simon contemplates whether to risk his life to save Joe. The reader learns through this event is that as human nature we have to make the judgement on whether our life is worth the risk to save another.

This is shown when Joe’s ice axes slips out of the ice causing him to hit the slope at the base of the cliff shattering his right knee. Simon’s initial reaction to Joe’s broken leg is “I knew where we were, I took in everything around me instantly, and knew he was dead. It never occurred to me that I might also die. I accepted without a question that I could get off the mountain alone. I had no doubt about that.” This teaches the reader that Simon clearly values his life over Joe’s as he has concluded that Joe is going to die as he feels the risk of his life to save him is too great. This also teaches the reader that Simon values his life over Joe’s as he is without a doubt accepting that when push comes to shove and a high level of danger occurs he is willing to leave Joe and safely descend Siula Grande alone. This teaches us about human nature that we have to make the judgement on whether our life is worth the risk to save another. Is your really worth the risk to save another? What level of risk is tolerable? Or will the feel of guilt haunt you knowing you could’ve done more influence your decision to save another. Another example of where this is shown is Simon’s thoughts as he follows closely behind Joe descending with his broken leg. “I knew I couldn’t leave him while he was still fighting for it… It just seemed a waste. It would be pointless. I kept staring at him expecting him to fall.” This teaches the reader that Simon chooses to sacrifice the risk of his life to save Joe as he cannot fixate his emotion to leave Joe while he is still fighting for his survival. This teaches us about human nature is that our relationships can determine how much we are willing to self sacrifice for the savior of others. Would your risk your life to save Joe if you were each others climbing partner for years? As the reader I am intrigued to see Simon’s reaction if this was his mother for instance. Would he react in the same way? Or will a stronger relationship be enough for him commit to sacrificing his life to save his mother. This quote also teaches the reader that Simon’s logical brain is telling him that the odds of Joe’s survival is minimal and to risk his life trying isn’t worth the risk. It also teaches the reader Simon wants Joe to fall so he won’t have the guilt and pressure if he leaves the mountain alone. Enviably as danger approaches with a nearby storm, Simon decides to put his safety before Joe’s and leaves him by cutting the rope. “There was no option left to me… I reached down again, and this time I touched the blade to the rope.” This shows that Simon does not commit to saving Joe as the sacrifice becomes too great. This teaches the reader the Simon makes a quick rational decision that he values his life over Joe’s. As human’s the decision sacrifice the risk of your life for someone else ultimately comes down to whether you value your life of another. 

In the text “Into Thin Air” written by Jon Krakauer, the reader sees Rob Hall choosing to assist Doug Hansen to the summit of Mount Everest knowing the consequences of disobeying the strict turn around and Doug’s health condition. The reader learns through Rob’s actions is that as humans we can get so caught up in saving/helping others that we tend to forget to help ourselves first. 

Rob Hall is a mountaineer guide assisting a group up Mount Everest in 1996. Previously Rob has denied one of his clients named Doug Hansen who’s ambition is to reach the summit after being so close in 1995. Rob’s actions to not turn around Doug after seeming very weak and incapable of reaching the summit by the strict turn around time costed both of their lives. “Hall did not turn Hansen around at 2:00 P.M. – or, for that matter, at 4:00, when he met his client just below the top… Hall placed Hansen’s arm around his neck and assisted the weary client up the final forty feet to the summit”. This teaches the reader that Rob chooses to sacrifice the risk of his life on the dangerous, unforgivable terrain to save Doug from the mental pain of not being able to accomplish his ambition. This also teaches the reader that Rob’s emotions of guilt has influenced his decision to assist Doug to the top instead of descending safely down together. This teaches us about human nature is that our emotions can influence whether we help others before ourselves. In this case Rob needed to be mentally strong and act logically instead of emotionally to keep both himself and Doug physically safe. However at the end of the day we are human therefore it is extremely difficult to ignore our emotions. Due to Rob being a very experience mountaineer who has perceived to have survived the worst, Rob chooses to stay with Doug who is diminished at the summit attempting to descend with him ignoring commands to descend alone. “At 4:53 he got on the radio and strongly urged Hall to descend to the South Summit… During radio calls from Hall at 5:36 and again at 5:57 Cotter implored his make to leave Hansen and comedown alone.” This teaches the reader that Rob has overrated his capability leading to the ignorance to help himself before Doug consequently leading to his death. This teaches us about human nature is that our cockiness to bite off more than we can chew leads to our downfall. Sometimes we need to make the rational decision to help ourselves before others. This teaches us we need to be a bit more humble and know our limits. This is different to “Touching the void” because in this text Rob’s downfall came down to his misjudgment of the situation, his capability and letting his emotions to take over him to sacrifice the risk of his life to help others before himself to save Doug’s ambition haunting him but also his survival.  Whereas in “Touching the void” Simon makes the rational decision to save himself over Joe by cutting the rope as he slowly starts to slip off the mountain in order for his own survival. If Rob has just acted like Simon in a life or death situation and choose to protect his survival before others Rob would’ve been able to see another day. This is where as humans sometimes we need to make the judgement to help ourselves before others. 

In the text “Alive” authored by Paul Piers Read, the reader sees Roy and Vizintin sticking with Carlitos to keep him alive in a practice expedition but also Canessa and Parrado persevering through the fatal terrain of the Andes in order to save the others isolated in the Fairchild aircraft after its crash. The reader learns through both events is that perseverance is key in helping/saving those in need.

As the days go by in the Fairchild after its crash food slowly diminishes and more lives are lost. The remaining survivors therefore made the decision to no longer wait for help and instead try find civilization instead. They therefore sent out practice expeditions to see who was the most capable for the ultimate escape. However on one of these practice expeditions Carlitos almost came to his death as the conditions began to worsen and his health started to deteriorate. “Carlitos were close to panic… I can’t, I can’t. Leave me. You go on. Leave me here to die. Come on, Carlitos; said Roy through his tears. ‘For God’s sake, come on! Think of your family…’Get up you sissy,’ said Vizintin. We’ll all freeze if we stay here’… ‘I’m a sissy… I admit it. You go on’. But they would not leave, and they bombarded Carlitos with a mixture of exhortation and abuse that eventually brought him to his feet again… A little later he collapsed again in the snow… ‘You go on’ he said… But again Vizintin Harley would not abandon him”. This teaches the reader that both Vizintin and Roy sacrificed the risk of their lives in the harsh conditions to save Carlitos life. It teaches us about human nature is that persistence is key to saving those in need. As humans we tend to give up easily when a difficult problem is faced which is why our major problems such as poverty remain unsolved. If we all just persevered more when things got tough we would be able to make a difference and success would becomes more and more possible. For example if Roy and Vizintin did not persevere in motivating Carlitos in the harsh conditions Carlitos would have certainly died. Another example of this theme is when Canessa and Parrado perseveres through the odds of finding civilization through the formidable terrain of the Andes to save those in the Fairchild. “Then Canessa said, ‘I think we should go back’ … This mountain’s is much too high. We’ll never reach the top. With every step we take we risk our lives. It’s madness to go… ‘Well, I’m going back anyway,’ said Canessa. ‘And im going on, said Parrado.” This teaches the reader that Parrado’s persistence to keep going to keep going over the odds that influenced Canessa is the key factor to why those in the Fairchild were saved. It also teaches the reader if it wasn’t for the selfishness and braveness of the two men to risk their lives to save the other survivors in the Fairchild the others would have never been found. This teaches us about human nature is that it is those who step out of their comfort zone is what separate those who do and do not accomplish their ambitions which in this case was making it out of the Andes alive. However for a high reward there is a high risk. Is it worth the risk? The determining if the risk is worth it ultimately comes down to how bad do you want it. For Canessa’s and Parrado’s survival and those to save themselves and those in the Fairchild for them the risk is definitely worth it. This also teaches us about human nature is that we have to make the judgement whether sacrificing the risk of your life is worth to save more. If you were in Parrado’s and Canessa’s situation what would you do? Would you be selfish and stay in the relative safety of the Fairchild. How many people would it take for you to sacrifice your life. For Canessa and Parrado is was 16. This text is different to “Touching the void” because in this text Roy and Vizintin perseveres to staying and motivating Carlitos ultimately saving his life even when the condition get worse jeopardizing their lives even further. Even with both Canessa and Parrado they both persevered through the dangerous terrain of the Andes even when things seemed impossible rewarding them their survival and the savior of the others in the Fairchild. Where as in “Touching the Void” Simon does not choose to persevere in saving Joe when things got tough leaving Joe through the struggle to survive on Siula Grande with a broken leg. This is because clearly Simon made the decision that one life is not enough to risk his own. Simon’s actions to not preserver could have easily killed Joe however lucky for him Joe had a strong mentality and made it out alive. 

In the text “Into Thin Air” written by Jon Krakauer, the reader sees a old man named Ron Franz get attached to a boy named Chris McCandless who he has just met. Chris McCandless however decides to leave Franz to accomplish his ambition leave Franz in a unexpected hurt. This teaches the reader about human nature is that sometimes in our lives we have to self sacrifice for others even if it means nothing to you because it could mean a lot more to someone else. 

Chris McCandless is a young adult who has thrown away his background of his family, degree and past experiences live a new life of excitement and danger in the quiet wildnerness alone. However on his travels he meets this old man named Ron Franz who helps him on his travels. They both end up enjoying each others company and Franz decides to adopt him due to him feeling so attached. McCandless however declines the offer as he would rather accomplish his ambition of traveling to Alaska alone. “Even when he was sleeping, I was happy just knowing he was there… My mother was an only child he explained. So was my father. And I was an only child. Now that my own boy’s dead, I’m the end of the line. When I’m gone, my family will be finished, gone forever. So I asked Alex if I could adopt him… McCandless, uncomfortable with the request, dodged the question… And now he slipped painlessly out of Ron Franz’s life as well. This teaches the reader that Franz is lonely and had affection and love for McCandless and felt McCandless was the solution to forget about his dreadful past. This also teaches the reader McCandless is selfish as he puts his ambitions over giving his love to Franz for him to no longer be lonely but also save him mentally from his tormenting past of losing all of his loved ones. This teaches us about human nature is that we have to take a step back and place ourselves in other people’s perspectives to understand their struggles and difficulties. Often as human we are oblivious to the consequences of our actions towards other people, thinking primarily on ourselves. If we just took the time to place ourselves in other people’s perspectives and think of the effects of our actions towards them, this would enable us to make the correct decision whether to help others. For instance if McCandless just took the time to place himself in Franz’s perspective this would have influenced his actions to temporarily hold his ambitions to give the loving and care that Fran’z truly deserves and needs. This is different to “Into Thin Air” as Rob Hall decided to self sacrifice the risk of his life to assist Doug Hansen to the summit so that he would accomplish his ambition, knowing his weak condition and disobeying the strict turn around time. This is because although this mean’t relatively no significance for Rob Hall, he was able to place himself in Doug’s perspective and understood what this would mean to him influencing his desicion to self sacrifice for Doug. Rob understood that if he hadn’t chose to assist Doug to the top his ambition will have haunted him for the rest of his life especially being so close on two attempts. So with Rob choosing to self sacrifice the risk of his life to assist him, Doug would have been put out of his misery and gained a real sense of accomplishment. However for the text “Into the Wild” McCandless chooses to not self sacrifice his ambitions temporarily to give affection and love to Franz who really deserves and needs its because he puts himself before others and does not realize that although it means nothing to him it means a lot to Franz. Due to McCandless selfishness to not place himself in Franz’s perspective this has made him oblivious to consequences of his action. If McCandless just placed himself in Franz’s shoes and sacrificed his ambitions temporarily to accompany Franz this wouldv’e meant the world to him as he would no longer feel lonely, hurt and for him to forget about his tragic past. 

A person desicion to self sacrifice for the savior of others is determined by their: relationships, emotions, religion, circumsatance and tolerance of sacrifice. This is evident in the texts: “Touching the void”, written by Joe Simpson, “Into thin air”, written by Jon Krakauer, “Alive” written by Paul Piers Read and “Into the wild”, written by Jon Krakauer, as here key characters were faced with different circumstances where the desicion had to be made whether to self sacrifice to save those enduring mental and/or physical pain. The reader has learn’t that as humans to descion to save another in a life or death situation ulimatelty comes down to whether you value your life over another. The reader also learns about life through the text “Into thin air” is that sometimes no matter how much effort or perserverance you may give fortune may just not be on your side. Another key message learn’t through the texts is that are emotions is massive contributing factor in why we do or do not save another such as the selfishness shown by McCandless “Into the wild”. 

One Reply to “Significant Connections”

  1. Michael, there are some valuable judgements made throughout this essay – well done.

    Watch the logical progression of your arguments in places. For example, in your “Touching the Void” paragraph, you move back and forth on whether Simon is willing to sacrifice his life for Joe. Watch this, as the points that you are making can become confusing.

    There are places where you could also extend what the reader/viewer learns. Consider what the authors thought about the decisions made – these judgements can be helpful.

    Lastly, your connection of “self-sacrifice” between “Into the Wild” and “Into Thin Air” is an interesting one. Ensure that the examples you are using clearly support your points.

    I look forward to the final product of your essay.

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