Analysis Of John Muir 's ' My First Summer ' Essay

2420 Words Oct 10th, 2014 10 Pages
In the book of Proverbs it is written, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21). This verse contains two important and beautiful images: the tongue and the fruit. The former, endowed with the command of mortality, is symbolic of language; the latter, growing out of the first, representative of speech and the written word. Together these images suggest not only that language has an extreme influence upon the human experience, but also that language is something of nature: it is a tongue, it is a piece of fruit. The verse proclaims an undeniable strength of language while simultaneously evoking images of the natural. John Muir’s My First Summer in the Sierra reverses this process: while exploring and recording the natural setting of the Sierra Mountains, Muir – both explicitly and inadvertently – suggests language has a crucial, influential role in life. Muir’s choice of style and his own use of language in the book become a powerful force which establishes Muir’s character, captures and mimics nature, while politically affecting audiences in ways both positive and negative. My First Summer in the Sierra is the compiled journal writings of Muir as he traveled, as the title indicates, for the first time through the Sierra Mountains. Within the book there is a dichotomy to Muir’s writing. In a grandiose sense, Muir acts as the Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde of nature writing: a singular man embodies both a very…

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