When I was 11 years old, I went on a walk to the mountains. Hot, humid, tiredness was along with me, making me want to give up and jump off the mountain right away. Bryson and Stephen is going for a 800 km Appalachian trail trip. As neither of them are prepared, the journey begins.
One of the central theme in the book A Walk in the Woods is that people should not hide their identity. This book mostly includes Bryson and Stephen recounting their adventure in humorous ways. They show the human difficulties of interacting with nature through a lot of humor. Bryson and Stephen have conversations of silly ideas, and the book consists much of Bryson poking fun at himself. As stated on page 38, “You don’t have to do this,” he tells himself. “You’re not in the army.” Through his narrative progresses, these humorous conversations help Bryson address his central concern: his identity in the real world. He describes this through relating himself in nature and in the real world which he usually gets ignored and he avoids them. Nature can be represented as both a symbolic landscape itself and the false identity of people. Bryson uses this feature and craft to connect with himself.
Bill Bryson, the author of this book develops this theme by not only describing about his personal experiences with the wood, but also by providing a variety of historical contexts of the Appalachian Trail. Throughout the book, Bryson shows what he and Stephen learned, both connecting to themselves and the natural world, as they start upon a journey for which neither is truly prepared. This infers to the real society, that they are not prepared for all the situation that they are going to face with. The theme is also shown in this specific part of the book where the offset the comical moments that Bryson reflects on how the woods help him to grow and to see himself in a new light and in the real society.
The book poses the theme with the character’s actions and dialogues that are shown in the book, and the author’s crafts also help the readers to the point that they can approach to the theme. Bryson uses his crafts that connects the real world and the nature, which include his connection with people’s real identity that it is often getting ignored by the society that they have to follow.
Vignette #1 Title: The Difference Between Them and Me
The street is always cold, and the large numbers of people share their temperatures together and builds up a heater. There are always inefficient amount of food and supplies that are limited. My family have a tent that all immigrants in Sector 32 own but it is only for the special ones. We work in the Sampair factory which is known for its great business and quality. I am proud whenever people mention us. Still, it is not a safe place to be in like all the other factories. Our whole family works here and we always have to fear in the possibility of death. I hope one day, I can get rid of this nightmare and pretend this as daydreams. Looking at how the middle class and the rich landowners buy expensive interiors, I often dream myself becoming one. Many things changed since we moved here in America, nothing really improved and developed. Even though our whole family works, we don’t get to earn a decent living. Why do the rich own more even though they don’t work hard as me? My fingers are filled with bruises and the shape is wreckedby contusions.
Vignette #2 Title: The Endless Greed
The loud machines making big clinking noises is an alarm in my everyday life. The thin stripe of only brightness coming in through the broken window is always weak. Smoke from the grey gigantic machines goes through deep inside my lungs and evaporates into my throat leaving trades of coughing. I am always covered in black soot which I can never get rid of, permanent like a tattoo. When my father returned from work few years ago, he returned with a white bandage wrapped around his entire hand and I could see the dark red color gradually absorbing and making its territory wider. He worked for twenty hours a day and only got $8. My family would use all of this money in a second. Why don’t I always have enough money? I work so hard to earn the things I want. However, whenever I earn money by completing work in a long time, I use it in a very short time. I never like how this is formulated in my life. I always contradict the reality and get captured in my hallucinations. The factory is cold, none of the workers nor the wealthy owners have emotions. The owner of the factory always complains about the poor laboring from workers. He has a lot that he owns, but his greed would never stop developing. Why do people care so much about themselves? Why can’t people just live by helping others? Money and greed is destroying people’s humanity and personality. If I ever experience hell, wouldn’t this be hell?
Vignette #3 Title: Definition of Freedom
Discrimination was my everyday life I had to deal with and fight back alone. I used to constantly get teased by the fact that I am Jewish. Working in a factory, I have never cared for myself, nothing was ever related to my emotions and desires. Thinking back to the nightmare I had to go through every night was keep popping in and out of my mind. The owner would beat me up whenever he felt angry, depressed, only following his own paths and decisions. Everything that goes wrong turns into my responsibility. “Get him here!” I am in a middle of a chasing game which is different from how kids play them. If I get caught, I am probably going to die. The wide green and brownish yellow farm was very new to me. It felt like I was getting closer to freedom and liberty. The crowded chats coming right behind me also felt like death. The men who were chasing me were all holding glossing shotguns. The wooden surface of it made sounds of death when it touched the temperature of the air. Enough of this. It took me a few second to realize that the only way I can get liberty is by death. It is a collaboration between two traits that I mostly desired and I mostly feared. I held on a stone that was right behind my bare foot. I couldn’t feel any pain, my brain was busy alerting the surroundings. One of the men tilted the gun towards me. No pain, no hope, just emptiness inside me engaged tears from my eyes. A single drop of tear was bumping here and there through my ears. Blood spoiled all the grass and dyed the color into red. I couldn’t feel any pain but accomplishment so innocent, it was a totally new feeling inside me. Then, I closed my eyes with a smile.