**While this essay isn’t perfect, it is a great example of a student who is asking questions and making interpretations based on her research.
Curious about Alaska
Tell someone you’re from Alaska and you will probably get a true look of surprise followed by a multitude of questions. Do you have a pet moose? Do you live in an igloo? Do you have a car or use dog sleds to get around? Or the one that seems to draw the most curiosity: do you have 6 months of complete night and 6 months of complete daylight? No matter who you are or where you go, it’s undeniable that most of us has had an experience or two dealing with being asked similar questions, or approached with unbound curiosities of our life in Alaska. Questions that make you feel as if living in Alaska has to be anything but normal. A life behind in times, where one must fight extreme temperatures and struggle to survive. So what brings most people to these thoughts and conclusions about Alaska? What makes everyone so curious about Alaska?
Maybe it stems from reality shows and movies that may give one a false sense of what Alaska days and nights entails, such as the movie 30 Days of Night. A movie which takes place in an Alaska city that is about to face a month-long period of complete night, while fending off a group of vampires. Although it’s fictitious to believe that Alaska hoards a city of vampires, you just may agree with Steve Niles when he said “ The climate of Barrow is Arctic. Temperatures range from cold as shit to f**** freezing’ if you’ve ever experienced a very cold winter winter in Alaska. Then there’s the movies that portray hardships, being stuck out in the wilderness, cold and freezing. Fighting to survive the climate and all the wilderness has to bring such as fending off dangerous wolves and trying to escape bear attacks in movies like The Grey and The Edge. Then there’s the true story of Chris McCandless who left everything behind to live out in the wilderness in Alaska saying “ I don’t want to know what time it is. I don’t want to know what day it is or where I am. None of that matter’ before heading off only later to succumb to an unfortunate end after starving to death all alone in a bus in the book Into the Wild. Whether it’s simply being misguided by programs depicting Alaska in a false sense or just being uneducated it’s only natural to draw out the curiosity one has of a place unknown. The same curiosity that bring many to Alaska searching for adventure. Looking to experience something they are unable to experience in everyday life. Looking to go to a place what is perceived to be so very different than their own.
Is it these ideas that according to the Division of Economic Development for the State of Alaska that brings over 2 million tourist to Alaska each year? Tourist looking to experience false ideas of what is widely portrayed? Or maybe many visit Alaska just because of it’s beauty, or because of the pictures they may see of trees and streets filled with snow or maybe even the thought of actually seeing Santa Claus in the North Pole. Alaska offers it all and yes, it’s true, if you’re looking for something a little different it can be said that Alaska is not like many places and if you’ve lived in Alaska for a while you may have indeed experienced things most do not. Such as seeing a moose or two while simply driving down the street or you may have even lost track of time once or twice during the summer when the sun is still shining bright after midnight. Then there is the beauty of the northern lights that occasionally dance in the sky like some kind of magic powers floating in the air.
It’s these kind of experiences that may make one want to go on a Safari in Africa in hopes to see exotic animals or go the Bahamas because of the stories of such beautiful beaches. Whatever the curiosity is it’s safe to say that Alaska welcomes it. Without curiosity there is no need to explore. Without exploring you cannot fully understand the truth behind the unknown. Sometimes it’s the same curiosity that brings the tourist to Alaska that will eventually bring the true meaning of Alaska back to those who may be uneducated, uninformed and just downright curious. Those curious about Alaska.
Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor Books, 1997. Print. The Edge. Dir. Lee Tamahori. Perf. Anthony Hopkins, Alec, Baldwin, Elle Macpherson, and Harold Perrineau. 20th Century Fox. 1997. Film. The Grey. Dir. Joe Carnahan. Perf. Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, and Dermot Mulruney. Open Road Films. 2012. Film. United States. Dept. of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. Economic Impact of Alaska Visitor Industry. Tourism Research. State of Alaska, 2017. Web