Archive for February, 2008

Muir and Milton

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Muir and Milton            Muir in his writings expresses an emotion towards nature I don’t believe we have seen yet out of any of the other authors we have read from so far. From Muir, we see not so much talk of preservation methods, or even of human development, but instead we see this character who only distinguishes between the beautiful nature and the nastiness of city life. Muir’s writings only seem to emphasize him and the surrounding wilderness, which he feels must be accomplished by exploring, touching, and climbing over every piece of nature he feels worthy enough of his mountaineering. He finds nature to be a very spiritual thing, as does Whitman and Emerson especially, however does not relate nature to human qualities as does Thoreau, and Muir has a much better appreciation of the environment than did Bello.            As for Cronan’s input on Muirs’ writings, I believe that he would have thought of Muir as a bit over the edge with the whole “mountain man” ideology. Cronan sees “wilderness” as not being natural at all because of it being an ideology we have created. Cronan also stated how we as people should appreciate not just the natural aspects of the environment but also the man-made aspects of it. This is not the case we see with Muir, reading how he has supreme distaste with the city environment and only finds the peace and pleasure of life when out in the wilderness exploring.

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

BELLO, WHITMAN, AND SARMIENTO Throughout the text we continuously see the authors’ clear preference for the direct experience, especially coming from Whitman. In Whitman’s “Song of Myself”, he expresses the necessity for people to go out by yourself and experience the natural aspects of the environment around you. Bello’s view seems to take the non-human aspect of the environment and put it above the human aspect of it, as does Whitman by stating straightforward how we as people need to start living smarter and better lives by aiding the land around you. According to the Authors, the benefits of a direct, first hand connect with the environment go farther than a cleaner place to live. Not only can one have more abundance of freshwater and game, but one can find oneself out there, and the more you explore the nature around the more enlightened one feels after experiencing the beauty of it.                 Whitman himself had a very embracing view on nature, while seemingly scrutinizing the modernization of our society. His admiration for human existence only came when he saw the simplest forms of it, such as when he would see a woodsman, or a carpenter, or a blacksmith, all of whom live simple enough lives to be admired by Whitman. Nature however is a totally different story, having read how Walt has a nearly sexual experience with himself and the spiritual nature that seemed to embellish him. Walt also claims to have found a new spiritual attraction within himself after this experience, saying “Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth, And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own.” Whitman’s aim at this was most likely to convince the reader that in order to find one’s true self and identity, one must experience and embrace nature, for it is the origin of all things we know today.

Response to Fennimore and Emerson

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Susan Fennimore and Emerson            Cooper in her article seems to be much more appreciative of her surroundings in general than we see coming from Emerson or Thoreau. We see how she not only observes and comments on the environment and the man-made structures that inhabit it, but that she also enjoys observing such structures as an old mill, or the Native Americans’ conserving lifestyle.             With Emerson it is a different story. Emerson embellishes the reader with the idea that “Nature” is this spiritual being that can be heard within all, and how it is all around. With Thoreau we don’t see too much of this, simply put the reader sees only an appreciation for nature in its natural state. Thoreau loves the non-human presence in nature, and Walden shows us what a contemporary state should be like with human presence.            In Rural Hours, Cooper seems to be writing for her own amusement as we read in the preface. She is only commenting on appearances of her acquaintances along with her surroundings in the manner in which the reader can see she is writing it as she is thinking it. Her writing about the land preservation was probably not taken well in the year 1850. This is due simply because of the lack of knowledge being expelled at the time on the subject of land preservation, or environmental issues in general. Also her being a woman writer at the time of the work more than likely hurt her promotion of the work more-so than if she was a male writer.