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walk well my brother

The Revolution of Charlie Lavery Change can happen in any place at any time. They can be tiny tweaks in personality or life turning revelations. These changes can catch one off guard and take them on an unforgettable adventure. Charlie Lavery a former WWII pilot is flying an airplane over a remote tundra region accompanied by an Eskimo woman named Konala when his plane fails him and they crash land. Charlie deciding that he could walk to the nearest civilization ditches Konala and begins the long hike.

Days later Konala finds him dying, and during the process of being nursed back to health learns many important things and changes himself. Throughout the progression of Mowat’s short story “Walk Well, My Brother”, the protagonist Charlie Lavery undergoes several major changes. Charlie learns to understand and appreciate the tundra, grows to care and bond with Konala, and masters the skills and confidence necessary to find his way home. Primarily, Charlie’s understanding of, and view on the tundra is revolutionized. He goes from hating it for being a bleak and empty wilderness, to respecting and appreciating it for it’s numerous wonders.

Initially, Charlie describes the tundra as “a curving emptiness” (Mowat 175). When one looks at a plain white room with nothing in it perhaps the word empty would come to mind; lifeless, hollow and minimal. This word is used by Charlie to describe what he first sees in the vast wintery lands. This means at this point he perceives the tundra as lifeless, and as something that can provide nothing for his cause. This point is also verified when Konala first tries to fish, and Charlie describes the lakes she’s fishing in as a “lousy little pond” (Mowat 174).

With the use of “lousy” in his description, it is obvious that Charlie thinks very little of what the “pond” could hold. He does not think that anything could live in such a place and cannot appreciate all that it could provide. By the end of the story after spending such a long period of time wandering the tundra Charlie comes to understand and really appreciate what it has to offer. Evidence of this change is shown when Charlie recognizes that what previously “seemed to him a lifeless desert, was actually a land generous in its support of those who knew its nature” (Mowat 177).

This quote shows that Charlie is now one of the people who have adequate knowledge of the tundra and that he is appreciative towards what it has to offer him. He now understands that it was not as “lifeless” (Mowat 177) as he first thought, instead actually containing many animals to be hunted for food. His use of “desert” (Mowat 177) which is normally thought of as a treacherous place, in his description of what he previously thought shows that the Tundra to him at that point was a harsh environment with little to offer.

The end changes this opinion when he states that he now understands that it was actually quite a generous land, and he simply had to know how to utilize it. Furthermore, Charlie’s lack of respect and opinion of his companion Konala changes drastically throughout the course of the story. When the plane first fails during flight and the two characters plummeted into the icy land Charlie looked at Konala, thinking about what had happened and wishes that he had “never seen or heard of her” (Mowat 172).

When someone wishes they had never met a particular person, chances are that the person had a negative affect on their life; for example causing an accident or ruining their plans; then that person is probably not liked. Charlie, in his case, wished that he had never even heard of Konala, implying that he does not want to have anything to do with her and also that he does not enjoy her company at all. This could also mean that Charlie has no trust in Konala and feels no close ties to her. The transformation of Charlie’s feeling towards Konala that has occurred by the end of the story is a very large one.

By the end of the duo’s journey together back to civilization Charlie states that, “in Konala’s company he knew a unity that he had previously felt only with members of his bombing crew” (Mowat 182). Previously in the story when Charlie mentions his bombing crew, he reflects upon his memories with them fondly and remembers how close they were. This kind of kinship makes sense because in any kind of war zone the people on a team essentially trust their lives to one another. That is a bond close enough to rival those of the same blood.

Therefore when Charlie uses this analogy of his bombing crew to describe his feeling for Konala by the end of their journey it show just how much he has changed is opinion of her. He now views Konala as someone that he can trust with his life and have close ties to. Finally, throughout the course of his journey Charlie has gained many skills and the confidence necessary to find his way home. When Charlie first plans to start his walk across the tundra, he looks at the road ahead and says it is “more intimidating than anything he’s seen in the high skies” (Mowat 175).

A student that has just transferred to a new school may find the kids older than him or her intimidating. The student does not have the skills necessary to navigate the campus, and therefore might not be confident when looking for classes. The student has been taken out of the familiar environment of his or her old school and put into a place that is new and indefinite. This is the same scenario that Charlie is in. For a pilot who is normally used to navigating the skies, to be suddenly thrown onto land and forced into a hike across miles of unfamiliar terrain.

Charlie does not have the skill he needs for this journey and is, as a result, not confidant in the outcome. By the end, after enduring many hardships in his time stranded in the tundra, Charlie learns many of the skills needed to survive in what that unknown land and also has gained the confidence to walk his own path. When he departs for the final time for civilization, Mowat describes his new confidence by stating that his feet were “finding their own sure way” (Mowat 182). Charlie has walked the land for so long now that his feet no longer need directions or any thinking on his part to find the right path.

Also by saying that they’re find their own “sure way” (Mowat 182) signifies that Charlie is no longer intimidated by the way ahead, he now has the skills necessary to make confident decisions. Such as on a test when someone is sure of the answer they put down, it’s because they know exactly what is required and how to apply it. Charlie can now forge his own path using his acquired skills and find his way home. Ultimately, throughout the progression of the story Charlie Lavery has made significant changes to his character.

He learns to understand and appreciate the tundra, grows to care and bond with Konala, and masters the skills and confidence necessary to find his way home. When looking back upon the past it might be hard to imagine ever being that person from so long ago. Changes can be a long and difficult voyage, but in the end it can lead to a better place. Works Cited Mowat, Farley. “Walk Well, My Brother. ” Literary Experiences: Volume 1. Ed. John E. Oster, Margaret L. Iveson and Jill Kedersha McClay. Scarborough: Prentice-Hall Canada Incorporation, 1989. 170-182. Print.

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