A question has been posed to me and my fellow classmates asking if we think that we’re writers. The only response that I can think of is I guess I am a writer. If I wasn’t a writer I wouldn’t be typing these words right now. I wouldn’t have anything to turn in for my assignments like projects one or two. I wouldn’t have made it this far in life without being a writer in some sense. So yes I am a writer, but only in the most basic sense; I can do it when I’m asked to do it. I turn in assignments for grades just so I will be able to continue studying things that actually are interesting to me. By no means am I a writer who enjoys writing. There is no such thing as an easy writing assignment for me. I can’t even fathom how people can write for fun. In my about me page I made, in my opinion, a spot on analogy for writing: “Asking me to write about [uninteresting topic] is more like washing the dishes after thanksgiving with my right hand behind my back while the rest of the family starts dessert. Give me an assignment on [something interesting] and it’s like taking out the garbage (I have a short driveway) but with full use of both hands. Still a chore but not too difficult at all.”
This honestly was one of the easier assignments for me to write since it’s easy for me to complain about how I don’t like writing. And when I say ‘easy’ it still took me over an hour to complete this assignment because writing is so boring to me that I could barely focus on something as simple as a few hundred words.
… and I’m pretty sure my next rhetorical move will be to look at the peer reviews that I have received, make many corrections based off of those, along with the corrections that professor Lay has given me. With these sources of information that have all of the things that could be changed within my essay, I should be able bring my grade up by a letter at least. First I’ll start with the bigger, more important things that should be corrected, Like citations, fact checking in the book, and using more quotes. Then I’ll move on to the smaller things like punctuation and grammatical errors. Then hopefully after all that is accomplished I’ll have a strong essay to hand in.
I think that Eggers decides to be so descriptive when he writes about the family crawling through the scree of the avalanche to, in a way, bring the ending of the book along the “the night is darkest just before the dawn” route. This is very obvious in the sense that they had to overcome the worst obstacle that they have experienced, the avalanche in the pouring rain. They did this to get to their dawn, which was a cabin with a sparkling blue lake and a surprise party inside, even though they were the only people in the cabin. In the slightly less obvious sense, the cabin allowed Josie to finally appreciate her children. We see this on the very last page when Eggers writes “Josie found herself smiling, knowing they had done what they could with what they had, and they had found joy and purpose in every footstep. They had made hysterical music and they had faced formidable obstacles in this world and had laughed and had triumphed and had bled freely but were now naked together and warm, and the fire before them would not die. Josie looked at the bright flaming faces of her children and knew this was exactly who and where they were supposed to be (Eggers 384).” This is a very powerful closing paragraph for the novel in regards to Josie becoming content with her family life. She finally appreciates her children and is comfortable with them and who they are. This is where they’re supposed to be. In this cabin, naked, cold, being warmed by the fire, and together. Now if only Josie had realized this about 382 pages beforehand, she would’ve saved herself so much trouble. By trouble I mean the “night” in the aforementioned metaphor. As soon as her business fails and her divorce, the “night” in her life begins so she decides to run away from her problems and just make things worse. The avalanche and thunderstorm are just the icing on the shitshow cake that is Josie’s life after coming to Alaska. The avalanche is when she gets to the absolute low point of her actions. Then, just as the saying goes, the sun comes up after it is the darkest and they find the cabin with a party set up.
Josie has always thought of her children as holding her back in her life. I mentioned an example of this in my blog of “assignment 4” when Josie realized that “interesting people cannot bear children (Eggers 150).” She wants to be interesting even though her having children has ensured that she is not, nor will she ever be, interesting. She sees having the kids as a very negative thing in her life even though, if she were to be a little more positive, they could bring her so much joy to her life. This is a reoccurring theme throughout the book until she goes on a bike ride to get away from her children. While she is appreciating the beauty of nature, she thinks that her children are the reason that she doesn’t do this more often, but then she thinks that “Our children are beautiful, too, but we must find a way to combine these things, so we’re not missing one for the other. Could it be so hard (Eggers 256)?” This shows that she still does appreciate her children at the end of the day even though they stress her out, and honestly, they probably do make her miss out on certain things more than if she wasn’t a mother. Despite these thoughts she still does love them and wants to be able to combine the beauty of nature with the beauty of her children so she wont miss out. This is almost immediately countered by her thoughts when she is drunkenly riding her bike back to their RV. As she attempts to drive straight she thinks “The beauty of this nowhere world. I love this. Where are my children? Can I love this without them? I can and I do. This is my best life. Among this beauty, on my way to them (Eggers 258). This means that she is appreciating the beauty of nature and she doesn’t care where her kids are in that moment. She is perfectly content with loving it without them. This is her best life. Without her kids and in the middle of nowhere, where nothing is predictable.
In the early pages of chapter twelve, Josie seems very overwhelmed with taking care of her children, as always. Although in these few pages it seemed like she was even more stressed and tense than normal. This could’ve been because she had been drinking earlier that night, or maybe because she had been woken up to evacuate since there was a wildfire headed for the campground. The combination of these two things definitely were jarring, and would make anybody as unfocused and frantic as she seemed. This behavior carried out until she finally arrived on the highway with the other evacuees and began to drive to safety. The only problem with this is that her impulsive nature made her take the wrong exit. “Where the dirt road met the highway, most of the cars were going left, but she saw a man waving madly. She wanted to follow the other cars but this man–now she saw he was in a yellow uniform–was waving her the other way so passionately that she obeyed, going alone (Eggers 207).” This isn’t anything new though. Being impulsive is in her nature although this may be one of the most blatant examples of it in the book, she has been like this for a while. The reason for how obviously impulsive this action is, might be that she could still be intoxicated from earlier, or that she was startled by being woken in the middle of the night to evacuate because of a wildfire. Normally she comes up with reasons to do impulsive things, like her divorce was the reason she dragged her kids to Alaska to drive around in an old RV. This time she just outright takes the different exit because she saw a man waving her that way. Even though every other vehicle before her went left, she just had to be different and change her environment around her to being solitary and the only RV on the road. This impulsivity of hers comes back to bite her in the ass because she ends up driving into the wildfire and then has to tell her children that they aren’t in any danger after they turn around even though they still were. This most definitely added to the stress of her having to take care of her children, which most likely intensified her mindset of being overwhelmed.
Josie is by no means a hero. She left her home for what she thought was a justifiable reason; she divorced her husband. While this may be a good enough reason to move houses or even change the city that you live in, it does not make moving to Alaska, dragging her kids along with her, and living in a piece of crap RV okay. Especially when you take into consideration all of the worse things that are happening in the real world today. Things like the situation in Syria where there are thousands of people that are being forced out of their homes because of the warfare that is going on around them.
Josie is running away from her problems because she doesn’t want to face them. She has difficulty with interacting with people because she has such a negative outlook on humanity and how she’s the only smart one with how she’s living her life by changing it when she gets bored with it, and she gets bored a lot. The Syrian refugees actually fit the the definition of hero; a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. I doubt that they’re admired for what they are going through, but how the parents even act brave in front of their children, just so their children will stay calm, is endlessly admirable.