|dc.description.abstract||In this thesis I have examined the narration in Joseph Conrad’s Typhoon (1902) and Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild (1997). These texts have man’s confrontation with extreme nature as a decisive feature. Being respectively fictional and non-fictional works with nearly a century dividing them, they supposedly have very little in common, but they resemble each other concerning human behaviour and reflection prompted by direct contact with nature’s violent forces. I have focused on three aspects which I believe illuminate the narration of the extreme. First, how did the writers approach nature’s violence in their narratives and, with a view to reader response, is it possible to claim that these approaches are functioning similarly? Second, given the obvious fact that non-fiction and fiction are distinctive genres, how does this discrepancy function when an utterly realistic theme such as extreme nature is the decisive feature? Finally, how do narrative method and narration engender, enhance and actualise thematic concerns?
I have concluded that despite the historical context and obvious generic differences which divide Typhoon and Into Thin Air, there is reason to claim that certain aspects of narrative style and techniques have resembling features. Both authors have lived lives which give notice of profound knowledge about the environment in description. The omniscient narrator in Typhoon has a strong relation to the sea which is made evident by a subtle use of personification enhanced by a laconic, precise and charged language when describing violent winds. The narrator of Into Thin Air, who we do not need to distinguish from Krakauer as author since his narrative is non-fictional, is consistently direct and laconic in the descriptions of his journey to Mt. Everest. Based on the study of their narratives, there seems to be an agreement that the narration of extreme nature calls for an omission of extrovert speech and that impression of the violent nature is most effective when it is channelled through the mind of characters or the narrator. More precisely, they tell about the inward feel of the extreme,
not its visual shape. In sum the use of devices of order, duration and simile in Typhoon, create trustworthy characterisations including a dense and charged display of the weather phenomena which echoes Conrad’s own experiences at sea. The manipulation of time and narrative progression, adjusted to non-fiction, is also evident in Into Thin Air. Here, these evocative passages capture the reader’s interest right from the start.
Whether it is the power to change man’s personality in Typhoon, or the deadly ambition to reach the summit accounted for in Into Thin Air, the sinister violence of intention in these narratives is a demonstration and a reminder of the true proportions of extreme nature and its effect on the human mind. Joseph Conrad and Jon Krakauer seem to have managed to portray events and extreme nature in a manner which appeals not only the reader’s imagination, but also to his or her emotional register. The occasion for obtaining this effect seems to rely on the omission of anything that in words attempts to describe the sublime. Thus, if imagination and sensations are benefits meant for the reader, extreme narratives require a subtle, introvert narration.||eng