Home in Nature

 

Sigourney seems to define home as any place with trees. Not in a simple tree hugger way, but in a spiritual sense. She views trees as religious deities and in the forest, amongst them is where she feels the most at home. She goes as far as to criticize the wealthy people’s homes, where they clear the entire property of all trees saying, “…for his hand hath gotten wealth. He builds a stately mansion, but it stands unblessed by trees,” (pg 118). This idea of nature as home has not been presented very often, because most of the writers we have read are more concerned with what resources they can squeeze out of nature than what its intrinsic value is. They are often times city dwellers or non-Americans and are not at home in nature. While these writers don’t see nature as their home, they definitely place the Indians home in nature. Authors such as Crevecoeur, Lewis and Clark, Irving and several others talk about the natives and put them, stereotypically, at one with nature, part of it, not really human. Sigourney does not mention natives, at all. But from what she wrote, I think she would not have categorized them in the way other authors have. He reverence for nature as a whole lends me to believe she would have understood them as people. Unlike some of the other authors we have read, she seems to like nature more than people. She does not like the people that come in and cut down the trees, even for shelter. Sigourney’s environmental message is blatantly clear, she is for the preservation of trees. She seems little concerned with other parts of nature and views trees as the most important part of nature. She has a religious reverence for the trees and she uses this a basis and evidence for her environmental message of preserving trees.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by christys21 on October 5, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Home being any place that has trees, while an interesting analysis, does not seem to be what she would completely see as a home.
    It seems like she uses this piece of nature to demonstrate the greed that humans have when it comes to using nature for their own personal advancement. Sigourney speaks of the horrible sight of New York and the far Western states that are vacant of their once natural trees or forest.
    She talks of trees as if they were more her pet, than a home. “It seems almost a wickedness, wantonly to smite down a vigorous, healthful tree” (Sigourney 120). She finds it shameful that something that would be healthy and normal, just as a possum crossing a road in the middle of his habitat, is knocked down by an expanding, greedy society, just as a possum is run over by a car that has no business driving through its habitat.
    She speaks of trees as something of joy and happiness to see around. They seem to signify wealth to her the same way a bigger home would be wealth to those who are cutting down the trees.

    Sigourney, L.H. Scenes in My Native Land. Ch./Art: Excerpts p. 117-132. Pub. James Munroe and Company 1845

  2. Sigourney seems to use her poem as a chance to speak out her feelings as a woman. She often has the forest and tress take on a very matronly aspect, referring to it as “Nature’s bosom, that sweet, gentle nurse” (Sigourney 240). Calling it “Man’s warfare on the trees” can be interpreted as mankind (Sigourney, 240), or can be seen as men specifically. I think she engenders the trees as womanly as a commentary on the social position of women at the time. She portrays men as militaristic and “invaders” destroying the beauty and majesty of the trees (Sigourney, 240). I felt a sense of effacement of both the trees and of the author. The author seemed overly saddened by the destruction of trees and communicated a sense of personal devastation.

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