Into Thin Air Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Into Thin Air Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Symbolism - The Summit

Th summit of Everest is a symbol representing completion for many of the climbers and money for the guides. From a client's point of view, if they reach the top then they have climbed the world's tallest mountain. Many climbers focus too much on the summit and forget about everything else, leading to poor judgment. From the perspective of the guide, the more clients they can get to the summit the more future clients they will have. Jon Krakauer showed Hall’s example of this when he said, “Hall was profoundly disappointed that five of his eight clients had packed it in...heightened by the fact that Fischer’s entire crew appeared to be plugging toward the summit”. Hall was blind to the fact that his disappointment would lead to pushing other clients too hard to help them reach the top.

Symbolism - Oxygen

Another example of symbolism is oxygen. At extremely high altitudes, one cannot survive long without supplemental oxygen because the air is so thin. During his descent Jon said that his body, “screamed for oxygen” after he ran out of it. He had been without supplemental oxygen for only an hour, yet his body was powering down. This illustrates the reliance that climbers have on oxygen tanks, and symbolizes survival in precarious circumstances.

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