Analysis Of Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard

Many men spend their entire lives chasing an impossible or unattainable dream. Peter Matthiessen was no different. Matthiessen dreamt of the elusive and beautiful snow leopard, and longed to lay his gaze upon it, a sight that only a lucky few have ever been blessed with. This was Matthiessen’s unattainable dream, which took him through Nepal, across the Himalayas and through the Tibetan Plateau, which Matthiessen detailed the journey in his novel The Snow Leopard. When George Schaller and Peter Matthiessen set out from Annapurna on September 28th, 1973, in The Snow Leopard, they face nature at perhaps her wildest, and they must endure the harsh and unpredictable weather of the Himalayas, including monsoon rain, blizzards, and numerous other …show more content…
His use of these two literary devices allows the reader to fully submerse themselves in a story that feels authentic, as when he describes “ the clear night, [where] bright stars descend all the way to the horizon, and before dawn, a band of black appears beyond the peaks, as if one could see past the earth’s horizon into outer space,” (Matthiessen 71). The numerous use of descriptive adjectives gives the reader a glimpse of the image that he is describing, and Matthiessen’s poetic nature brings the image to life fully, so that one can truly see the sky that he is describing through their mind’s eye. Matthiessen’s tone throughout the book changes slightly numerous times. Sometimes his tone is almost clinical, as when Matthiessen is describing his physical description after a harsh day and is describing how he must alter his clothing so that he can continue to wear it. Most of the novel’s tone, however, is not clinical but reflective, which makes sense since the novel is about Matthiessen’s mental journey as much as it is about his physical one.
Matthiessen, of course, suffers from a bias in his writing, being a westerner in an eastern land, but that bias is not really of much importance within the novel, since it is Matthiessen’s personal log of his travels. As it is, Matthiessen’s bias only adds dimension to the novel, as it allows the reader a further glimpse into Matthiessen’s character. Matthiessen’s perspective also only adds further dimension into his character, and give the reader a look at a journey from perhaps a different angle than they would have seen it

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