Posts Tagged ‘Group 1’

Group 1’s 6th (and Final) Blog Post

For your last blog post, pick one of the following options:

  1. Choose one quote from John Berger‘s “Why Look at Animals” that you find interesting, confusing, problematic, surprising, or otherwise compelling. In your response, work closely with the quote. Why did it stand out to you? If you chose a quote that you found confusing, use the response to work through your confusion. If you found it interesting or compelling, explain why. If you choose this option, choose a long quote (a few sentences). Type your quote at the top of your post, then follow with your 300-word response (the quote is NOT considered part of the minimum word count). Be sure to give the page number for your quote in parentheses. You are not required to bring in additional quotes for the response if you choose this topic.
  2. Write an analysis of the depiction of animals in either P.T. Barnum’s The Wild Beasts, Birds and Reptiles of the World: The Story of their Capture (1889) or Wild Animals I Have Known (1898) by Ernest Thompson Seton.
  3. Write an ecocritical analysis of Barnum or Seton. This is a very open prompt, so you can focus on any trope of your choosing.

Remember, your posts should follow these requirements and guidelines:

  • Posts must be at least 300 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quote from the text. If you are writing about both texts, then you’ll need at least one quote from each as support.
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt question above. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.
  • Please note that you do not need to answer every “thinking question” I have posted (the questions after the bold directive). These are just options, so you could focus on one or a few. Avoid writing a response that looks like a Q & A or laundry list of answers to these smaller questions; make sure your response flows smoothly and has unity.
  • Your response should make an argument, not summarize the text.
  • Use specific moments from the text(s) to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotes.
  • Don’t forget to tag your posts! Before adding a new tag, check the “choose from the most used tabs” menu to make sure it is not already listed.

Group 1, your blog response is due by class time on Tuesday, November 15.

Group 2, blog comments are due by class time on Thursday, November 17.

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Group 1’s 5th Blog Response

Nature preservationist John Muir with US Presi...

Nature preservationist John Muir with US President Theodore Roosevelt on Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, 1906; Image via Wikipedia

For this blog response, you have a few different writing options. Choose only ONE of these topics to write your response. Be sure to make it clear which question you chose in the subject line of your post. Remember, this blog response is for Group 1 only!

  1. Write a response in which you consider how the apocalypse trope functions in either George Perkins Marsh’s The Earth as Modified by Human Action or John Muir’s “The American Forests.” Possible questions to address include: What type of apocalyptic rhetoric does the author use–tragic or comic? For what purpose? Do you find this rhetorical strategy successful or problematic and why?
  2. Write a rhetorical analysis of John Muir’s article “The American Forests.” What is Muir’s purpose in writing this article? What are his main arguments? What strategies does he use to appeal to the reader? How does Muir use the rhetorical triangle (logos, pathos, and/or ethos) to convince the reader of his position? How/where does Muir anticipate and rebut counter-arguments? Do you believe these writing strategies are successful? Why or why not?
  3. Discuss the portrayal of wilderness in both Muir and Marsh’s texts. Think about the various meanings of wilderness that Garrard describes–do you see any of these definitions at work in Muir and Marsh’s texts? How do each of these authors conceive of wilderness, and what role do humans play in it? What views do they share and where do they diverge?
  4. Find a contemporary newspaper or magazine article that relates to an idea in Muir or Marsh’s text OR illustrates how the apocalypse trope functions in relation to environmental issues today. In your response, explain the connection between the article and the readings, making sure to quote from each to showcase the connection. Besides giving a BRIEF summary of the article and thoroughly explaining the connection to the readings, be sure to also address the significance of the connection. You are also required to include a link to the article in your post.

Remember, your posts should follow these requirements and guidelines:

  • Posts must be at least 300 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quote from the text. If you are writing about more than one text, then you’ll need at least one quote from each as support. If the question you chose asks for more than one quote in the instructions above, then be sure to follow those instructions.
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt question above. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.
  • Please note that you do not need to answer every “thinking question” I have posted (the questions after the bold directive). These are just options, so you could focus on one or a few. Avoid writing a response that looks like a Q & A or laundry list of answers to these smaller questions; make sure your response flows smoothly and has unity.
  • Your response should make an argument, not summarize the text. If some summary is asked for in the prompt you chose, keep that summary brief and concise.
  • Use specific moments from the text(s) to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotes.
  • Don’t forget to tag your posts! Before adding a new tag, check the “choose from the most used tabs” menu to make sure it is not already listed.
  • Don’t forget your Works Cited!

Group 1, your blog response is due by class time on Tuesday, November 1.

Group 2, blog comments are due by class time on Thursday, November 3.

Group 1’s Fourth Blog Post

Walt Whitman's use of free verse became apprec...

Walt Whitman; Image via Wikipedia

For this blog response, you have a few different writing options. Choose only ONE of these topics to write your response. Be sure to make it clear which question you chose in the subject line of your post. Remember, this blog response is for Group 1 only!

  1. Write an ecocritical analysis of a Whitman poem of your choosing. What is the argument of this poem?  Besides applying some of the ecocritical interpretative techniques you’ve learned in this course in answering this question, be sure to also consider the specific elements of poetry as a form, like speaker and listener, imagery, patterns of sound, form, meter, lineation, etc. Some questions to consider regarding these elements of poetry include: Who is the speaker, where is s/he, and what is the speaker’s state of mind? Does the poem have an implied listener and to what effect? What images are most striking in this poem? Do they seem conventional, familiar, surprising, experimental? Why?What patterns of sound to you find in this poem and what effect do they give? How are the poem’s lines structured?
  2. Find a contemporary newspaper or magazine article that relates to an idea in Thoreau’s Walkingor Whitman’s poetry. In your response, explain the connection between the article and Thoreau/Whitman, making sure to quote from each to showcase the connection. Besides giving a BRIEF summary of the article and thoroughly explaining the connection to Thoreau/Whitman, be sure to also address the significance of the connection. In other words, what do we gain/learn from connecting Thoreau/Whitman to this contemporary issue (or, if you prefer, from connecting this contemporary issue back to Thoreau/Whitman)? You are also required to include a link to the article in your post.
  3. After reading the excerpt from “A Critical Glance into Thoreau” by John Burroughs, do you agree with Burroughs’ assessment of Thoreau? Why or why not? In your response, be sure to quote from Thoreau’s Walden and/or “Walking” to support your answer. As a reminder, Burroughs’ discussion on Thoreau can be found on pgs. 487-489 of the course pack.
  4. After reading the excerpt from Notes on Walt Whitman as Poet and Person by John Burroughs, do you agree with Burroughs’ assessment of Whitman? Why or why not? In your response, be sure to quote from Whitman’s poetry to support your answer. As a reminder, Burroughs’ discussion of Whitman can be found on pgs. 483-485 of the course pack.

Remember, your posts should follow these requirements and guidelines:

  • Posts must be at least 300 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quote from the text. If you are writing about more than one text, then you’ll need at least one quote from each as support. If the question you chose asks for more than one quote in the instructions above, then be sure to follow those instructions.
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt question above. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.
  • Please note that you do not need to answer every “thinking question” I have posted (the questions after the bold directive). These are just options, so you could focus on one or a few. Avoid writing a response that looks like a Q & A or laundry list of answers to these smaller questions; make sure your response flows smoothly and has unity.
  • Your response should make an argument, not summarize the text. If some summary is asked for in the prompt you chose, keep that summary brief and concise.
  • Use specific moments from the text(s) to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotes.
  • Don’t forget to tag your posts! Before adding a new tag, check the “choose from the most used tabs” menu to make sure it is not already listed.
  • Don’t forget your Works Cited!

Group 1, your blog response is due by class time on Tuesday, October 18.

Group 2, blog comments are due by class time on Thursday, October 20.

Group 1’s Third Blog Post

Lydia Sigourney. Library of Congress descripti...

L.H. Sigourney; Image via Wikipedia

For this blog response, you have a few different writing options. Choose only ONE of these topics to write your response. Be sure to make it clear which question you chose in the subject line of your post. Remember, this blog response is for Group 1 only!

  1. Write an ecocritical analysis of L.H. Sigourney’s poem “Fallen Forests.” What is the argument of this poem?  Besides applying some of the ecocritical interpretative techniques you’ve learned in this course in answering this question, be sure to also consider the specific elements of poetry as a form, like speaker and listener, imagery, patterns of sound, form, meter, lineation, etc. Some questions to consider regarding these elements of poetry include: Who is the speaker, where is s/he, and what is the speaker’s state of mind? Does the poem have an implied listener and to what effect? What images are most striking in this poem? Do they seem conventional, familiar, surprising, experimental? Why?What patterns of sound to you find in this poem and what effect do they give? How are the poem’s lines structured?
  2. Both Susan Fenimore Cooper’s Rural Hours And L.H. Sigourney’s Scenes in My Native Land are particularly interested in the ecology of home, focusing on their local environments rather than uncharted wilderness. How do either (or both) of these writers define home, and how is nature valued within this context? If you are writing about both Cooper and Sigourney, do they have similar or different views of nature and/or the New England environment? To what extent does Coopers’/Sigourney’s valuation of nature and/or home agree with/diverge from other authors we’ve read this semester? Do these texts have a clear environmental message, and if so, what is it?
  3. Choose one quote from the Judith Plant essays that you find interesting, confusing, problematic, surprising, or otherwise compelling. In your response, work closely with the quote. Why did it stand out to you? If you chose a quote that you found confusing, use the response to work through your confusion. If you found it interesting, compelling, or problematic, explain why. If you choose this option, choose a long quote (a few sentences). Type your quote at the top of your post, then follow with your 300-word response (the quote is NOT considered part of the minimum word count). Be sure to give the page number for your quote in parentheses. You are not required to bring in additional quotes for the response if you choose this topic.

Remember, your posts should follow these requirements and guidelines:

  • Posts must be at least 300 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quote from the text. If you are writing about more than one text, then you’ll need at least one quote from each as support.
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt question above. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.
  • Please note that you do not need to answer every “thinking question” I have posted (the questions after the bold directive). These are just options, so you could focus on one or a few. Avoid writing a response that looks like a Q & A or laundry list of answers to these smaller questions; make sure your response flows smoothly and has unity.
  • Your response should make an argument, not summarize the text.
  • Use specific moments from the text(s) to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotes.
  • Don’t forget to tag your posts! Before adding a new tag, check the “choose from the most used tabs” menu to make sure it is not already listed.

Group 1, your blog response is due by class time on Tuesday, October 4.

Group 2, blog comments are due by class time on Thursday, October 6.

Question 1: Emerson and Nature

Upon reading Emerson’s “Nature” it does not take the reader long to notice that Emerson’s idea of nature is a little complex. The duality of man and nature exists on many levels: man can be in awe of nature; nature serves man; nature is above man; man is above nature. The duality changes in accordance with man’s need. A way to explain this complex duality is by assigning nature the gender of woman. The duality of man and woman mimics the same changes as that of man and nature. When man is a child, his mom is his God and he is in awe of her; when man is married his wife serves him, and man is above her; when man is older and in need he returns to his mother—as Emerson returns to nature when his life is in disorder.

There are many instances in chapter one of “Nature” that support the idea of nature as a woman. Emerson himself refers to nature as “her” when he states, “neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection” (Emerson 6). The same can be said about a woman. Man will never extort her secret or satisfy his curiosity because he will never understand her; he will never know her thoughts or understand her strength. Man has always wondered about the woman that is why he constrains her as he does with nature. Emerson also states that nature sees man as her “creature” and despite all his “griefs, he shall be glad with me” (Emerson 7). Man is born of a woman and he will always return to her whether she be a mother, wife, or servant.

On page eight Emerson describes the woods as a place that man can return to and always be a child without troubles—“there I feel that nothing can befall me… which nature cannot repair.” This is the exact relationship between a man and his mother. A mother will always try to remove the troubles of her son’s life and will always protect him. He will always find comfort in her. By nature being a woman, it will satisfy Emerson’s complexity with nature; it will comfort man, supply him, serve him, and inspire him.

 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature. Ch./Art: Full book p. ix-76 pub. American Renaissance 2009

Problematic Emerson Quote

“Nature is thoroughly mediate. It is made to serve. It receives the dominion of man as meekly as the ass on which the Savior rode. It offers all its kingdoms to man as the raw material which he may mould into what is useful. Man is never weary of working it up. He forges the subtile and delicate air into wise and melodious words, and gives the wing as angels of persuasion and command. One after another, his victorious thought comes up with and reduces all things, until the world becomes, at last, only a realized will – the double of the man.” (pg 143)

 

This quote was surprising to me because of its blatant declaration of supremacy over nature and because of the powerful language used to defend, or rather, parade said claim.  Phrases such as “made to serve”, receives the dominion of man”, “meekly as the ass” weaken the forces of nature. In the same way, with powerful language, he strengthens man (a comparatively weaker force): “He forges”, persuasion and command”,  “His victorious thought” and “the double of the man”. This presents men as superior to nature and, by extension –based on his reference to nature as a female- men as superior to women.

It is also problematic because, based on his otherwise glorious descriptions of nature as providing “perpetual youth” and as being “graceful”, one is left to wonder how he winds up at his conclusion. How is nature simultaneously Majestic and “meek as an ass”?  This is an inconsistency on his part and portrays a lack of clarity.

Further problematic is the fact that he consistently refers to nature as a “her”. This raises several issues of gender; more specifically, the adopted mentality of man’s superiority to women. On page 134 Emerson states, “nature stretcheth out her arms to embrace man”. This statement would be acceptable if a few pages prior he had not said “nature in its ministry to man…” works for “…the profit of man” (pg 130). Here he supposes that not only is man superior to nature, but at its very essence, every occurrence in nature is made solely for the profit of man; the movement of the wind, the falling of rain from the sky, the shining of the sun. Emerson here, behaves as though the world revolves around him (no pun intended). In short, the quote was surprising because of how forceful it was, despite all its problematic suppositions.

 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature. Ch./Art: Full book p.1x-76.pub. American Renaissance 2009

Instructions for Group 1’s Second Blog Post: Emerson’s “Nature”

Charcoal portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson by ar...

Charcoal Portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson by artist Eastman Johnson, 1846. Image via Wikipedia

For this blog response, you have a few different writing options. Choose only ONE of these topics to write your response. Be sure to make it clear which question you chose in the subject line of your post. Remember, this blog response is for Group 1 only!

  1. How does Emerson define nature? In answering this rather broad question, here are some smaller issues you may want to consider (remember, you do not need to answer all of these): What role do the dichotomies of human/nature, human/animal, and/or nature/culture play in his definition? Is nature (and/or people’s relationship to nature) gendered? What are the class and racial implications/meanings of his definition? How are the tropes of pastoral and/or wilderness conceptualized in this definition? How do Emerson’s views of nature compare to the other authors we’ve read in class so far or the various eco-philosophies outlined in Garrard’s Ecocriticism?  In answering this question, you may choose to focus on one chapter or make an argument about the essay as a whole.
  2. Choose one quote from Emerson’s “Nature” that you find interesting, confusing, problematic, surprising, or otherwise compelling. In your response, work closely with the quote. Why did it stand out to you? If you chose a quote that you found confusing, use the response to work through your confusion. If you found it interesting or compelling, explain why. If you choose this option, choose a long quote (a few sentences). Type your quote at the top of your post, then follow with your 300-word response (the quote is NOT considered part of the minimum word count). Be sure to give the page number for your quote in parentheses. You are not required to bring in additional quotes for the response if you choose this topic.
  3. Read “An Overview of American Transcendentalism” by Mark Bickman or the definition of Transcendentalism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. How does Emerson’s essay reflect the values and characteristics of Transcendentalism? In answering this question, you may choose to focus on one chapter or make an argument about the essay as a whole. Feel free to also quote from either of the texts on Transcendentalism.

Remember, your posts should follow these requirements and guidelines:

  • Posts must be at least 300 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quote from the text. If you are writing about both texts, then you’ll need at least one quote from each as support.
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt question above. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.
  • Please note that you do not need to answer every “thinking question” I have posted (the questions after the bold directive). These are just options, so you could focus on one or a few. Avoid writing a response that looks like a Q & A or laundry list of answers to these smaller questions; make sure your response flows smoothly and has unity.
  • Your response should make an argument, not summarize the text.
  • Use specific moments from the text(s) to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotes.
  • Don’t forget to tag your posts! Before adding a new tag, check the “choose from the most used tabs” menu to make sure it is not already listed.

Group 1, your blog response is due by class time on Tuesday, September 20.

Group 2, blog comments are due by class time on Thursday, September 22.