Posted by: szolnickfsem | 5th Feb, 2008

Bello and Whitman

Through reading Bello’s “Ode to Tropical Agriculture” you can clearly see his love and nature and the “non-human” world. He starts off by personifying nature completely, describing the gifts nature gives us. You give sweet sugarcane, whose pure sap makes the world disdain the honeycomb,” (lines 14-15). this personification makes nature seems more lifelike. He clearly agrees with direct experience with nature as he moves through his poem. Lines 53 to 56 clearly show his love for nature and hatred for the city life. Oh, would that they could recognize the joy that beckons from the simple farmer’s home and spurn vain luxury, false brilliance, and the city’s evil idleness!” He looks down on life in the city in the next few stanzas, mentions the vices and “civil strifes” of city life.

He emphasizes direct contact with nature by describing the farmer and the laborer working in the fields. He believes a farmer would make a better leader because he knows how to work hard; “she gave the reins of the state to the strong hand, tanned by the sun and hardened by the plow, who raised his sons under a smoky peasant roof and made the world submit to Latin valor.” He begs God to help him bring people back into nature and to help people accept nature as beautiful and peaceful. He concludes his poem with 4 powerful lines indicating his views on freedom in nature: “Honor the fields, honor the simple life, and the farmer’s frugal simplicity. Thus freedom will dwell in you forever, ambition be restrained, law have its temple.”

Posted by: szolnickfsem | 28th Jan, 2008

Susan Fennimore Cooper and Emerson

Emerson and Thoreau share similar beliefs about nature and and the human perspective. Emerson believes that people have to observe nature first hand to fully understand and respect it and that just learning about it in history and science. He mentions the stars and how we need to “rediscover” the nature around us and make each experience new. Because stars are so far away, they are inaccessible and in turn, solitary. Emerson admires children because they accept nature as it is and do not try to look to into it, like adults do. Emerson moves on describe beauty and how it is not necessary for physical survival but still useful in nature. He describes a circle and its perfection, which makes it beautiful. I think Emerson and Thoreau would agree on most topics about nature.

Posted by: szolnickfsem | 21st Jan, 2008

Response to Thoreau’s “Walden”

When I started reading “Walden” I didn’t really know what Thoreau’s objective was with his project. I finally realized that he was simply trying to depict a simple and relaxed lifestyle and almost mock the urban areas of the country. Henry David Thoreau’s description of the non-human world fits into Cronan’s discussion of the wilderness because they each describe it as uninhabited and recluse. I do agree with Cronan that Thoreau demonstrates a “stern loneliness” while living at Walden Pond. His happiness seems almost forced. In “where I lived, and what I lived for” Thoreau beings seemingly calm and relaxed in nature but finishes the chapter with numerous exclamation points and question marks. He goes from feeling comfortable alone in nature to somewhat in a rage. He also moves from the singular to plural (saying “me” at first, then using “us”.) I do believe that Thoreau finds “wilderness” at Walden Pond. He hears birds chirping and owls hooting and has to fend for himself, but his solitude is contradicted when he finds gifts in front of his house. While he thinks he is in solitude, he actually isn’t. Thoreau begins to read a lot in the chapters, and actually compares an avid reader to an athlete. He mocks people who only read the bible and gives a strange importance to words on a page. He is not so much impressed by the story but by the actual words on the pages. It is finally understood that Thoreau’s project is not specifically about being in solitude physically but mentally.

Posted by: szolnickfsem | 15th Jan, 2008

Bio

Hey, I’m Sara Zolnick. I grew up and live in Landenberg, PA. It’s a small town south of Philadelphia (kind of on the border of DE and MD.) I am 19 and am the youngest of three. Academically, I am interested in English and Education, but I’m still not sure if I want to major in that area. I love playing sports (I played field hockey and lacrosse throughout middle school and high school and have been riding horses all my life); but I don’t participate in athletics at UMW. I also love singing/acting and have participated in many musicals/dramatic productions in high school, resulting in 3 lead roles. I signed up for this seminar mainly because I am interested in the new academic requirements and goals, but I am also looking forward to learning more about the environment and the literature involved. My first semester has definitely been an eye-opening experience, as it usually is for freshman.

Posted by: szolnickfsem | 15th Jan, 2008

Response to William Cronon: “The Trouble with Wilderness”

William Cronan’s, “The Trouble with Wilderness” goes along with my past notions of wilderness. I agree with Cronan that the wilderness is serene, natural, and often overlooked. Our society today has no problem knocking down huge forests to build a development or a large city. These actions have completely backfired on us, almost creating animosity between humans and nature. He states “…we mistake ourselves when we suppose that wilderness can be the solution to our culture’s problematic relationships with the nonhuman world, for wilderness is itself no small part of the problem.” The problem lies within ourselves. I have had experiences similar to those of Cronans. Specifically his depiction of “the moment beside the trail as you sit on a sandstone ledge, your boots damp with the morning dew while you take in the rick smell of the pines, and the small red fox…that suddenly ambles across your path..” I have experienced similar circumstances riding horses and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. The peacefulness of nature is overpowering and beautiful. When I think of the “wilderness,” I picture rolling hills, jagged mountains, thick forests, and endless fields. Wilderness is anything free from human destruction. It is natural and breathtaking. “Wilderness” is where animals grow and die without the contact of humans; it has clean streams and the air is free from pollution. I agree with Cronans presentation of the concept of “wilderness.” He believes that the wilderness is “God’s creation.”

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