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Comparing Clay Dilham in Up the Slide with Gary Paulsen in A Glow in the Dark Essay

The main character of “Up the slide” is Clay Dilham who is a young prospector. He decided to get a sled-load of firewood in half an hour. After a hard struggle, he succeeded. The main character of “a glow in the dark” is Gary Paulsen who ran an eight-dog team in an unknown and dark forest. A strange light frightened him but he finally found what the light was. Both of Clay and Gary have great courage but Clay is braver than Gary. Clay faced a more dangerous situation and more difficulties.

First, Clay was very young who was only 17 years old and became a young prospector who traveled to a hostile environment. ” The Yukon Territory is located in the northwestern corner of Canada. It is part the subarctic zone, where temperatures have been known to plunge to -80F! ”(p315). It is really hard for people to survive in such terrible environment, especially for a 17-year-old teenager. Most of teenager at that age are sitting in a warm classroom and receiving good education. But Clay as a young prospector worked in such terrible place.

So he must have great courage and is really very brave. Second, during his trip, he could die every second if he lost his caution. “A slip at that point meant a plunge over the edge and a twenty-foot fall to the ice. A hundred feet farther along, and a slip would mean a fifty-foot fall. ”(p316). It was really dangerous and difficult for people who wanted to survive. For Clay, a young prospector didn’t have so much experience. So he would not expect such a difficult but he keeps being calm it must be his bravery and great courage to support him solve all these difficult problems.

Gary faced a less dangerous situation than Clay. First, the ghost and other terrifying things were all created by his imagination. It means that they couldn’t create any physical danger for him. “Ghosts and goblins and dark nights and snakes under the bed and sounds I didn’t know and bodies I had found and graveyards under covered pale moons and death, death, death ……”(p323) These imaginary things will not make him die at once but in “Up the slide “ if Gary has a momentary oversight, he will die at once.

So the situation that Gary faced is less dangerous than the situation that Clay faced. But he still felt very terrified and didn’t know what to do at that moment. So Clay is braver than Gary. Second, the motivation that pushed Gary to go forward is his curiosity, not his courage or bravery. “But curiosity was stronger. My legs moved without my wanting them to move and my body followed them. ”(p323) Although Gary still went forward with great fear, he didn’t have strong belief like Clay that had great courage to go forward.

So Clay is braver than Gary. In conclusion, first Clay faced a more dangerous situation than Gary. Second, Clay had to overcome both physical and metal fear but Gary only needed to overcome his imagination. Third, Clay was always calm but Gary didn’t know what to do when they faced frightening things. So Clay is braver than Gary. When students face some difficulties like problems they can’t solve, keeping calm is always the best solution. So they will come up some good ideas and solve the problem successfully.


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