A Piece of the world

"You have big things. You know big things. But you don't look into each other's eyes, and you are hungry for quietness." -Nell (1994)

“So what’d you hit–a deer? Coyote?”

A clear theme of T.C. Boyle’s novel The Tortilla Curtain is racism.  An emphasis on race, class privilege, and the relationship between the two are present in every moment of this story.  We watch two couples live, separated only be a few miles, and the vast expanses of race and class in capitalist America.  This book stands […]

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What On Earth is Wild?

a :living in a state of nature and not ordinarily tame or domesticated  wild ducks b (1) :growing or produced without human aid or care  wild honey  (2) :related to or resembling a corresponding cultivated or domesticated organism c :of or relating to wild organisms  the wild state                                  […]

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A Woman Amongst Men

While other books we’ve read in this class use overarching metaphors–characters, setting, dialogue, allegories, etc.–to address larger issues, Ed Abbey’s novel can only be described as straightforward.  His characters say exactly what they mean and issues are addressed head on.  The characters are definitely the most interesting part of this story.  They are unique and […]

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Diseased Bodies, Diseased Planet

Cancer is something I think a lot of people have a hard time talking about, myself included.  It resides at the very top of the list of things I fear the most.  My family has a long history of it, as I am sure many families do.  As humans we already have an extremely difficult […]

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Map Talk

Through the use of intricate symbolism in the novel Solar Storms, Linda Hogan addresses issues that we have been discussing in class all year–the ‘distinction’ between humans and nature; the exploitation of the natural world; the idea of forgotten, ancient knowledge; etc.  In the novel, Angel, Bush, Agnes, and Dora-Rouge–each connected by her individual and collective […]

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Playing With Fire

Both Carson and Berry were concerned with mankind’s increasing dependency on industrialized agricultural techniques.  While Berry wrote about monoculture, and Carson wrote about the excessive use of pesticides and chemicals, both focused on the problematic nature of not only the farming industry, but the way in which we treat the earth.  Although these systems of […]

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Human Pride Is a Dangerous Thing

Today, the concept of work has been muddled by years of striving to rid ourselves of its necessity.  Every invention, from the printing press to GPS navigation has been created to make our lives easier.  Ease is something that we crave.  We praise those who create ways in which we can put less effort into […]

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Tumble Us Like Scree

The distinction between the “natural” and “human” worlds is complex. It is often completely accepted that humans exist above the rest of the world. People do not question the hierarchy of being. Gary Snyder’s book, Turtle Island, addresses that distinction as one that is a complete social construct. Through the use of poems and short […]

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Reaching a Larger Audience: A Reflection on “Silent Spring”

In every instance of exploitation, exists one who benefits and one who suffers.  This is why it can be so difficult to discuss systems of oppression and exploitation–people tend to feel attacked when they are the beneficiaries of the situation. Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” addresses scientific views of the human exploitation of nature. However, she […]

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The Effortless Murder of the Natural World

As an English Major, I have learned about environmental writers before. We read from Emerson, Berry, Thoreau, Whitman. These writers were often portrayed to me by my teachers as overrated, angsty men who went into the woods to ruminate on the meaning of life and society. Needless to say we never spent much time on […]

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