James Dickey’s novel Deliverance is an action-packed journey of four city men into the unknown. While on the journey, the men are faced with many life-changing obstacles. Each of the men takes on these obstacles differently and each comes out with different results. How they chose to take on these obstacles depended on the mindset of the individual. Even though the four men attacked the obstacles in a different way, the four men all embarked on the same journey of education. Throughout the journey, the four mean learn their strengths and weaknesses, and the risks and rewards of nature.
Before the four journeymen set off, they all seem self-confident and self-satisfied. Once they begin the journey they learn their limitations. Lewis was the ideal leader, always prepared and in tiptop shape. With all of this, Lewis believed he was invincible and could overcome any challenge he faced. He soon learned that his beliefs were untrue after breaking his leg when his canoe overturned on a set of rapids.
With a broken leg, Lewis was unable to perform as the leader thus becoming a failure to his morals. As the journey began, Bobby was an arrogant middle-aged male. After he was raped and bewildered by the hillbilly, he would never be the same. He was afraid that the other members of the group would tell people about the attack and ruin everything he had. Bobby would never forget about the rape and the chance of others finding out thus showing his true weakness. Bobby and Lewis both went into the journey believing in their strengths and left knowing their weaknesses.
The men set out on the journey hoping for a break from city life, and to have a chance at a little excitement. What they did not know was that there are two sides to being in nature. There are risks and rewards. A cliff was the risk that Ed had to overcome to get to the reward. While climbing the steep rock wall, Ed wanted to quit, but never gave up. When Ed reached the top, and he had conquered the cliff, nature rewarded him with the most spectacular view Ed had ever witnessed. Drew’s risk was the entire idea of the journey. Drew was a moral man, who did not like to take risks. Even though Drew took on the risks of nature, he never received his reward. When a risk is taken, there is always the chance of failure, and this was an example with Drew. Ed and Drew both found that nature has many rewards to offer but risks must be taken to view them.
All four of the journeymen learned something from nature. After Lewis broke his leg, he learned that nature was always in control, not him. Before the journey, Lewis always believed he was in control. Bobby only knew the ways of the city. After the attack from the hillbillies, he knew the ways of nature. Even though Drew died and never actually learned from nature, the other men learned from him. From the other men’s perspectives, they learned that Drew was the best of them, and they should strive to be more like him. Ed had the most encounters with nature so he learned many different skills. The most important skill was to always respect nature and its power. The skills that the men learned from nature will always be remembered.
The novel’s adventure takes the four journeymen through a journey of education. Each of the men learned new strengths and weaknesses about themselves. They also learned that nature is always in control. Some of the men took on the challenges and succeeded and others failed. There was much to be learned on the men’s journey into the unknown.