Wilderness Characters

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Wilderness Summary & Study Guide Description

Wilderness Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Wilderness by Jim Morrison.

Jim Morrisonappears in Throughout

Jim Morrison was a singer, songwriter, filmmaker and poet who lived from 1943-1971. In this book, he presents himself via poetry as an artist contemplating life, his craft, his business, and the culture of which he is a part. Concerning life, he visits and revisits an encounter he had with a group of Native Americans in a desert in the American Southwest who had crashed their trucks into one another and lay dead and bleeding on the highway. The experience marked him and became a theme in his writing, also inspiring him to study Native American culture and spirituality.

Regarding his views on culture, his Native American exposure influenced his ideas about Americans having lost their rites of passage and ability to celebrate, and are as a result lost and wandering, looking to people like musicians to usher them into the supernatural communion and understanding that they crave. His craft is certainly something that flows from him, and he is passionate about his role as a shaman, leader and poet to the people, but he recognizes the business as a system and group of people who limit his freedom. He even wonders at one point whether he has wasted his talent on the American music industry.

Brian Jonesappears in Ode to LA While Thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased

A friend, also in the music industry, and someone Morrison admired very much. He died in a swimming pool, apparently killing himself in the prime of his career, contributing significantly to the music industry and the culture of which Morrison was a member. Deeply affected by his death, Morrison compares himself to Shakespeare's Hamlet and Jones to Ophelia, in order to communicate the intense affection he had for the man, and drawing a parallel to his having died in water, just as Ophelia had. It is also possible that Morrison meant to call to mind the slightly confused state in which Ophelia died, suggesting that Jones might also have been "incapable of [his] own distress."

Girl with Orange Ribbons in her Hairappears in Orange County Suite

The lover in the suite, prized for her ability to communicate and to persevere through struggle from within and without the relationship. He describes their relationship as having been one in which communication was easy and continuously getting better. The difficulties came when her family presented itself in a very invasive and troubled way, and yet the two of them find each other again on the other side of the struggle and are able to love again.


The first is a soldier who misses home and the idyllic life of Far Arden, from Los Angeles, and corresponds with friends and family back home. He compares the ideas his friends back home have of the world's security and their own place in it to the truth of the world as he sees it being out in it. In another poem, the soldier is badly wounded and falling from a plane, and in another, the messenger of some news that horrifies the people in an airport. He uses the soldier throughout as the symbol and vehicle of shattering innocence, of the world changed, and of the damage and horror of war.

The Majorappears in Jamaica

The slave owner who beat his slaves.

A One-Night Lover

A woman with whom Morrison writes about having spent one night, and paid in silver coins.

Cassandraappears in Cassandra at the Well

Crying for help, having committed some unnamed crime.

Elvisappears in As I Look Back

Morrison admired his sexed and mature voice, and felt inadequately voiced by comparison.

Teachersappears in As I Look Back

Morrison refers to having tormented teachers, since he was both rebellious and the smartest person in the room.

Native Americansappears in Throughout

The culture made an impression on Morrison as a child when he saw a group of them dead on the side of the road, and theirs became a culture he studied with great interest his entire life.

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This section contains 667 words
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