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“Stickeen” by John Muir

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In the excerpt “Stickeen” by John Muir, he creates an adventure between a man and dog. He creates this by putting Stickeen and himself in an exciting and unusual obstacle. He also does this by describing every aspect in his journey with Stickeen and how they overcame the suspense of death that benefited their relationship into making it stronger.

Muir’s mission is to explore the icy region of southeastern Alaska which may conclude that it is going to be an adventure for Muir as well as for the readers in the sense that neither of them know what Muir is going to come across on this mission. Right in the beginning, the story gets interesting when a crew member decides to bring his dog along the journey. Muir wasn’t convinced that it was such a good idea as he states, “Such a little helpless creature will only be in the way.” Since Stickeen was only a small black dog, Muir believed that he would have no chance in surviving the adventure that only God at the moment knew they were going to face. This scene builds up curiosity for the reader because now we are wondering if the poor helpless dog is going to survive throughout the mission.

Muir and crew members as well as Stickeen, land at the salmon stream. This is where Muir discovers that Stickeen never fails to be ready for any adventure due to him following the person who went out to hunt. The author claims, “For strange reason to say, though I never carried a gun he always followed me, forsaking the hunter and even his master to share my wanderings.” This is where readers see the relationship between a man and a dog begin to thrive. Stickeen would leave his own master to follow Muir as he values nature in his wandering no matter how wild the weather may be. Muir loved going on adventures and during these adventures he would praise nature and even through a storm he would be able to recognize the beauty of it. For example, “What a psalm the storm was singing, and how fresh the smell of the washed earth and leaves, and how sweet the still small voices of the storm!” Even through this adventure Muir still wasn’t able to understand why stickeen would follow for he seemed not to care of any of what Muir devoted. However, stickeen would be there right along Muir every step of the way, emotionless.

Along the way Stickeen showed no fear as he jumped wide crevasses in spite of Muir who felt anxious each time he jumped. As Muir and Stickeen are off wandering and exploring the glaciers through a storm, the author adds suspense to their adventure. Muir and Stickeen face the biggest obstacle that neither was expecting to receive. In order to head back to camp Muir and Stickeen had to somehow go across a 50ft wide crevasse. The author builds tension and reverses the roles of Muir and stickeen. He builds tension by using an active voice throughout this obstacle. After Muir makes it up the deadly crevasse he shouted encouragement for Stickeen to do the same, “Hush your fears my boy, we will get across safely though it is not going to be easy, we must risk our lives to save them…” The roles reversed as of Stickeen is no longer an emotionless hero, he is now a crying dog with the fear of dying. As for Muir he is no longer anxious or worried, he is now setting the example for Stickeen. They both conquer death using teamwork and are closer than ever.

To conclude, Muir creates adventure between a man and a dog by adding suspense to the mission in exploring the icy region of southeastern Alaska. Both actions from Muir and stickeen benefited each other to overcome death. He created action by putting a man and a dog through an exciting and unusual situation. Through this experience Muir and Stickeen opened a new passage to their relationship and a memorable adventure that neither will ever forget.

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