Common Themes In John Mcphee's The Control Of Nature

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John McPhee’s The Control Of Nature tells three stories about how the Earth’s surface is changing. The stories have different settings, different plots, and different conclusions, but share two common themes that relate to our “enduring understandings” of Earth Science. The first theme is that the energy for the changes comes either from outer space (more specifically, the Sun), or from deep underneath the Earth’s surface. The other theme is that water and rock are never really created or destroyed, but instead cycle through the Earth’s systems in changing form. The stories combine these themes in different ways. Energy from the Sun causes the changes McPhee describes in Atchafalaya and California, while energy from underneath causes the changes McPhee …show more content…
The water cycle appears in Atchafalaya and California and the rock cycle in Iceland and California. McPhee’s stories also show that as costly and as seemingly futile as any attempt to “control nature” might be, humans must sometimes intervene in these cycles, using science and engineering to save themselves, their jobs, and their homes.

The changes that McPhee describes in his story about the Atchafalaya are being caused by the flow of water down the Mississippi River. In the article “Mississippi River Facts,” the National Park Service explains that the Mississippi river watershed “includes all or parts of 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces … extending from the Allegheny Mountain in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west.” This means that the changes are driven by energy from the sun, which evaporates water from the oceans. When the

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