Study Guide

Into Thin Air Awe and Amazement

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Awe and Amazement

These days, it doesn't take much for something to be deemed "awesome." New movie trailer? Awesome. A particularly tasty taco? Double awesome. Still, we'd better keep things straight because nothing on the planet is quite as awesome as Mount Everest. Just to give you an idea of this thing's scale, you could stack the Empire State Building on top of itself twenty-three times and still be a couple thousand feet shorter than this mighty mountain. Though Everest is truly an awe-inspiring place, don't let that trip you up—this majestic beauty is only a mask for something far more menacing. Into Thin Air makes that much crystal clear.

Questions About Awe and Amazement

  1. Does Krakauer feel awe while climbing Everest? Explain.
  2. Why does Krakauer feel dissatisfied after reaching the summit?
  3. How does Krakauer's experience on Everest affect his relationship with his home life?
  4. Why are the climbers unable to appreciate the natural beauty of Everest while climbing it?

Chew on This

Although Krakauer expected to walk away from Everest with a greater sense of amazement toward nature, it actually makes him feel more amazed by his boring life back home.

Everest might be a beautiful place, but it's also quite deadly, which is why the climbers have little opportunity to sit back and simply take in the beauty of the mountain.

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