Read The Revenant before you see the movie

There’s something about The Revenant that sticks with you. This novel by Michael Punke is one in which images stay with you—such as Hugh Glass fighting a pack of wolves for a scrap of meat. What’s interesting about this rather thin (in length) novel is that it harkens back to stories that were more popular in the 1950s and early 1960s. There used to be a notion that the frontier was something to be conquered and exploited, and this novel echoes that tradition. As a society we have come to the realization that this thinking is what brought us to decimating both the natural resources and the Native Americans of 19th century America. However, Hugh Glass is more concerned about his own survival than self reflection. Facing an angry grizzly bear tends to give life a certain amount of focus, particularly in those seconds before the jaws come clamping down. The novel is based on the real-life adventures of Hugh Glass, a genuine mountain man. Mauled by a bear during a trapping expedition in the early 1800s, he is left for dead by his companions. (This is where the title of The Revenant comes into play; the word is defined…