Sunday, October 21, 2007

Week 6, Part 2

This was a rough draft of the essay. I later chose Option 2 instead.

By writing A Walk in the Woods, I think Bill Bryson wanted to increase concerns about our environment. He wrote a very interesting and humorous memoir about his adventure with Katz hiking the Appalachian Trail.

He is clearly very biased toward nature, and he has a negative tone towards the National Park Service. "I am almost certain that if that $200 million a year were restored to the budget, nearly all of it would go into building more parking lots and RV hookups, not into saving trees and certainly not into restoring the precious, lovely grassy balds" (135; ch. 7).

He also chooses long words that I don't hear often. "... with an imposing leonine grandeur... (233; ch. 13) is a good example of the vocabulary he uses regularly. Perhaps he just has a large vocabulary, so he uses it without thinking about it. He may also use them because he enjoys making himself seem more sophisticated than others, although that is not as likely.

Bill also tends to explain some history relating to the section of the book he is writing, both recent and ancient. For example, he explained the history of Harpers Ferry when he was hiking there. "The battle for Harpers Ferry was the finest moment for Stonewall Jackson..." (243; ch. 13). Perhaps Bill does this to show that the Appalachian Trail is full of historic sites, so it should be preserved.

Bill Bryson also complains a lot. Whether it be the poor quality of their maps, the high or low temperature, the people, and everything else. Bill tends to make just about everything seem to be the worst part of his trip so far. "First days are always bad. Tomorrow would be better... Well, we were both wrong" (350; ch. 19).

Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods was made both to make people think about their environment more, and to show that his hike was long and hard enough that he didn't need to finish it. It also made me laugh a lot, so if you're looking for an enjoyable book to read, be sure to pick this one up.

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