The theme of ultimate independence depicts the sufferings that main characters in the three books underwent, but eventually realized independence and happiness by their own means.
Novice to Master
Novice to Master is written into three sections: Training, Master and Novice, the three elements of the path. In fact, as a novice Morinaga faces great misery and suffering. He is pulled out of school towards the WWII end for him to train for a suicide mission (Morinaga, pp. 1-45). At this time, both of his parents die and what modest financial and emotional security they had attempted to offer, evaporates. With this, he was left without any resources; Morinaga goes to Zen temple to seek for assistance. At this place, help is offered in the form of a stern master, although Morinaga realizes that he was likely to reject assistance the assistance offered to him. His long-held ideas of what he dislikes and likes keep getting in his way, and therefore, commences a “continuing lesson in his own stupidity”.
Moringa had determinations despite the hardships and this is evidenced from the following words he said “Lack of ability is an excuse for those who have at least tried, at least come partway. But you! Before setting out to try anything you set limits on your ability (39).”
Eventually, training takes him to a training monastery. In the monastery, his understanding of the “admissions test” as well as the privations he faces —barely adequate clothing, shelter, and inadequate food, and very little sleep, in addition to, long zazen sessions— are horrific, although, as he eventually explains, the most challenging part of training was not physical privation, but the intense, emotional coercion of solving koans.
The master, which is the final section, mainly entails spiritual advice regarding life and what Zen could teach. One could easily understand the theme through these chapters in terms of people’s incapability to confront their own death and decline. Or, maybe better, peoples incapability to let go these parts of their lives.
Thousand Pieces of Gold
Thousand Pieces of Gold, on the other hand, features Lalu who is confronted with one of the biggest problems of her life. In fact, she was taken to United States to be abused as a slave by a powerful man. She was utilized for a brothel and, at the same time, treated like human bait. Notably, she found herself standing in front of several men, being naked, and being touched her private parts without her permission.
Lalu struggled in US with the hope of succeeding some day but only found her reeling by day. Time after time, she met people who she thought might be good only to realize that they were worse of compare to those she had encountered before. Upon reading this book, one may find him or herself inquisitive to explore other stories such as the Novice to Master as it has insights similar to it (McCunn, pp.2- 15). This book is best for readers who like to explore regarding a child’s life in desolation but at the end in happiness. Readers, who enjoy scary things and sad parts in a novel, may find this book insightful. This book gives one an opportunity to really figure out the kind of things youthful woman in China faces, and as well what immigrant woman such as Polly herself had to handle. As Lalu herself puts it, “when you became of age, your mistress would have found you a good husband, and you would have been free again. Now you are neither dragon nor snake. You are a woman, yet you work like a man, a laborer. Who will marry you (p.356).
In a nutshell, Lalu endured hardships, isolation and heartache but still retained the capability to help and love those who were poor or who showed kindness to her. Any reader would marvel at her strong spirit, the happiness and resilience she was able, on her own, to find in a culture that is foreign to which she was taken under duress.
Into the Wild
In this book, Into the Wild, McCandless described what he was out to find on his odyssey, especially on the trip to Alaska, as “ultimate freedom.” In fact, it seems that this largely depicts, to him, liberty from other people’s authority and rules over him. All through his entire life he found power in particular oppressive, especially when officiated by anyone who he felt only had such authority over him for subjective reasons. In order to live entirely alone, the only laws he felt important to embody or pursue were those of nature, was to him ultimate freedom.
Just as McCandless said, “You don’t need human relationships to be happy; God has placed it all around us (57).”
Nevertheless, this freedom level calls for total segregation, for to be with other people means to have accountability to them (Krakauer,pp.23-47). Therefore, McCandless’s pursuit for freedom becomes, as well, a repudiation of any and all closeness with other people. This type of freedom was essentially egotistical. By living basing on the rules of nature, as well as his own, no matter how deeply-thought and principled, McCandless was unreservedly living only for his personal best interest. For instance, he declined to get a license for hunting as he did not think it was of the business of the government to know what he eat; if everybody acted this way, all animal would be entirely destroyed, and thereby threatening food supplies. The ultimate freedom of McCandless was, therefore, restricted in scope for, on larger degree, it would be potentially disastrous and dangerous.
In a nutshell, nonetheless, McCandless started his new life in order to make a way to pursue independent contentment. Several other readers can pursue and elucidate more on this theme “ultimate independence” with other evidence pieces. The book easily gives any reader a good stance of McCandles’s mental strength that he used to gain the succinct sensations of independent happiness. McCandless rejected society’s materialism and deep relationships, which is needed to attain dependent pleasure, and made his secluded life devoid of the necessities preferred for dependent joyfulness. In the end, he earned or got independent happiness, and passed on satisfied person. In general, the three books talk of characters that went through difficulties in life but emerged victors by their own means.