Instructor: Person M/W/F 9:05 – 10:00am
Books and films that reflect our fascination with wild places and the physical, mental, and imaginative challenges wild places present to individuals who go “into the wild.” We shall read Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild and watch the film of the same name—an account of Chris McCandless’s decision to give up most of his possessions, cut all ties to his family, and venture into a wild section of Alaska. We shall read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, an account of her solo thru-hike of the Pacific Coast Trail, and watch the film Wild starring Reese Witherspoon. We shall watch Werner Herzog’s film documentary (Grizzly Man) about Timothy Treadwell, who became obsessed with saving Alaskan grizzly bears. We shall read Charles Martin’s novel, The Mountain between Us, about a man and woman stranded in the wilderness and, if available, the film starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba. (We may watch the film Backcountry, especially if The Mountain between Us is not available.) Finally, we shall read Andy Weir’s science fiction novel, The Martian, and watch the film starring Matt Damon. Our primary goal in the course is to examine the interactions between individuals and wild environments and to track human responses to wildness both outside and inside the individual self.