Georgic trope in Alcott’s Transcendental Wild Oats

Louisa May Alcott’s Transcendental Wild Oats demonstrates the georgic trope found in ecocritical literature, concentrating on the portion of the passage when the Utopian community, Fruitland, was inhabited.  The georgic trope in Alcott’s Transcendental Wild Oats resembles the Biblical example that is described as incorporating religious significances with agriculture practices.

Greg Garrard’s Ecocriticism: The New Critical Idiom, describes the Biblical georgic trope’s goal as “dispensation of sacred law to a chosen people” (Garrard, 109).  The georgic trope is portrayed in Alott’s Transcendental Wild Oats as those who live in the Utopian community Fruitland as sharing the common belief “that Nature knew what was best for them, and would generously supply their needs” (Alcott, 36-37).  By strictly following the Biblical georgic trope described by Garrard, the inhabitants of Fruitland believed as Abel Lamb describe as believing in:

the devoutest faith in the high ideal which was to him a living truth, desired to plant aParadise, where Beauty, Virtue, Justice, and Love might live happily together, without the possibility of a serpent entering in (Alcott, 31).

The readers are lead to believe that Abel Lamb is the leader of Fruitland and that those who lived in the Utopian community would share his philosophy.

The georgic trope relationship is translated through the belief that Nature is the all powerful, supernatural provider that dictates what resources are available.  Believing in Nature as a provider allows those who live in Fruitland to pursue a state of harmony orParadiseas Abel Lamb described above.

However, the inhabitants of Fruitland although they perceive Nature as a powerful authority, they also see Nature as delicate and pure as Alcott describes keeping the soil virgin and to not be polluted by manure, “The garden was planted with a generous supply of useful roots and herbs; but, as manure was not allowed to profane the virgin soil, few of these vegetable treasures” (Alcott, 36).

Alcott, Loisa May. Loisa May Alcott: An Intimate Anthology. Ch/Art: Transcendental Wild oats p. 28-45. pub. Doubleday Sept 1997

Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism.New York: Routledge, 2004.

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