Monday, October 19, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Today during our class, Thayer Walker was nice enough to make time in his busy schedule to discuss his life as a writer and how he is involved with nature in many different ways. Now of course the speech was full of interesting stories and some crazy wildlife pictures, but the idea for this response paper came to me towards the end of his speech. When open questions were allowed, Walter asked a simple but very burning question (may not be the exact words but this is how I remember it): It’s great to see you’re really enjoying what you’re doing traveling all over the world as a writer for different magazines, how is the job in terms of supporting yourself, how is it financially? Thayer then went into his answer about how he had a $1 million dollar business with his buddies painting houses, but he just felt there was more to seek in the world, and travel writing became his passion. This is what brings me to my main thought about this: Is nature powerful enough to alter one’s perspective about the world and change the way someone lives their life? Also, what is successful? Because successful may just be a term for materialism, or can you be successful in ways that Thayer is? Although nature isn’t something that can communicate with humans to convince them to be free spirited and travel the world, it is the primal ways of nature that attract humans in every which way.
Because I am in high school and this takes up most of my life, I’m going to refer to a PSAT question I had the other day: What is success? Is there a certain point in which someone has become successful? Analyze the question and answer the question on the essay paper given. Using evidence from the novel, Into the Wild, I explained how in the eyes of many, success is something that is shown off by material things such as money, cars, and house, but in reality, successful can be a life goal that you set. Therefore, in Into the Wild, the main character’s life goal is to travel to live in Alaska, and if he had made it to live to this day, he would definitely consider himself because of the goal that he had set. This parallels to Thayer in the fact that, he put aside money and the situation that many would look at as “successful” and gave it all away, because he knew there was more out there. And in terms of this, I respect Mr. Walker for the decision he has made. There is something about nature that just makes it a magnet to humans. Maybe it’s the fact that humans want more primality in their life? Could be considering many feel trapped from a “9 to 5 behind the desk job”. Another reason this could happen would be the ideals of nature and how people are so attracted to the Romanticism of pastoral nature, that they go great lengths to try and achieve the perfect description of pastoral nature. I think because of the stress that behind the desk job’s bring, people look for an escape, and a lot of the time the escape can be nature, almost giving the person self-realization.
As for me, right now all I think about is being successful, materially. Although, I would always give myself a chance to see what I really truly enjoy doing, something that could even involve nature (nature isn’t always for me, but you never know). All I know is that I would like to be truly happy and passionate about what I do. This is why I believe nature was a great escape for Thayer, because now he has magazine companies paying for certain trips so he can climb Mount Kilimanjaro, cage dive with sharks, and learn more and more about the world in general. Nature’s primality attracts those who are looking for an escape from normal every day lives and dive into something that has endless possibilities.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
When viewing my passage analysis made in my blog days before writing this, what I had said before still stands in the novel as a whole. This belief would be that characters use pastoral nature, which brings peace and is used as an escape from reality. Although, sublime nature is used when characters are dealing with reality, and the challenges that face them in this reality. Characters such as Tom Sawyer, is a great example to show how pastoral nature helps him escape from the sublime nature that surrounds him with challenges and tribulations that he goes through.
When Tom has pastoral nature around him, his use of imagination is broadened and he doesn’t have a care in the world. In other words, Tom Sawyer is “at peace with himself”. For example, “This new interest was a valued novelty in whistling, which had had just acquired from a Negro, and he was suffering to practice…It consisted in a peculiar bird-like turn, a sort of liquid warble…and he strode down the street with his mouth full of harmony and his soul full of gratitude” (10-11). Here in this passage, pastoral nature helps Tom be at peace with himself and his surroundings. “He strode down the street with his mouth full of harmony and his soul full of gratitude” shows that cheerful nature surrounding Tom will alter his perspective of the world completely, and he will be at peace with everything. Another great example of pastoral nature would come from chapter 8. “It must be very peaceful, he thought, to lie and slumber and dream for ever and ever, with the wind whispering through the trees and caressing the grass and the flowers of the grave, and nothing to bother and grieve about, ever any more…Ah, if only he could die temporarily” (60-61). In this passage, pastoral nature’s peace cancels out some of the most terrifying things to humans, such as losing their life. Twain puts a positive spin on living in a grave, and how you are at peace with yourself. Moreover, pastoral nature brings peace to each character (especially Tom Sawyer) with it’s descriptive Romanticism.
Throughout The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, sublime nature comes into play when a character comes across a challenge, a thought that will alter their perspective of things, or even a feeling. “…he could not bear to have any worldly cheeriness or any grating delight intrude up on his melancholy; it was too sacred for such contact; and so, presently, when his cousin Mary danced in, all alive with the joy of seeing home again after an age-long visit of one week to the country, he got up and moved in clouds and darkness out at one door as she brought song and sunshine in at the other.” (25) This passage reveals how sublime nature shows Tom’s true feelings at the time. With the part where he gets “up and moved in clouds and darkness out the door”, it parallels perfectly with his “melancholy”. This is a good example of a passage that shows the sublime nature and the feeling that Tom has. Now in this example, Tom is faced with a thought that sort of alters his perspective of reality. “He wandered far away from the accustomed haunts of boys, and sought desolate places that were in harmony with his spirit. A log raft in the river invited him, and he seated himself on its outer edge, and contemplated the dreary vastness of the stream…” (25) By displaying his isolation from the world, Tom picks up more curiosity as he “contemplates the vastness of the stream”. Sublime nature in this novel is displayed a lot with the characters personal side and how the character is feeling. Another example to point out in the book is the challenge of the cave and the description of it. When walking through the cave, it becomes dreadful and oppressive, presenting a challenge for Tom to gain his “manhood”, by proceeding out of the cave. Overall, sublime nature causes characters to reveal traits in themselves that they weren’t familiar with before.
When reading my passage from my blog before, my opinion of the book still hasn’t changed. Pastoral nature is used to bring peace and harmony to one, whereas the sublime will deal with the reality of the character, and will present challenges along the way. In terms of reading, obviously pastoral nature is more entertaining because it gives the perfect setting, but in terms of substance of the book, it is good to have sublime nature to show character development, and just how the character feels in general.