The Garden The Machine Analysis

Great Essays
The Garden, The Machine, and the American Voice
Perhaps one of the more discernable conflicts in art and literature is that which takes place between appreciating nature and expanding society. Many writers and philosophers, from Aristotle to Shakespeare, have naturally gravitated towards this fundamental dilemma, and shared their sentiments through art, poems, and literary works. Such tendencies did not escape the realm of American literature in the mid-nineteenth century. Up until then, before America had even established its independence from England, many approached the debate of nature versus urban society through the veil of pastoral ideologies. Through this veil, authors often described a simple country life as more preferable to the
…show more content…
James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers encapsulates America’s appreciation for “wild” nature over that of the serene, peaceful scenes described by their pastoral European precursors. The reader can see the manifestation of this appreciation through the American people’s enthusiastic reception of Natty Bumppo, one of Cooper’s most famous characters. His interaction with other characters from the stories serve to depict him as an individual who, unlike protagonists from other pastoral works, doesn’t refrain from society in order to escape social pressures, but because the bond between himself and the wild is in and of itself liberating. Born from that bond is a respect for nature that the social machine often disregards, which can be seen in the instance where the leather-stocking scorns surveyors for killing an excessive amount of pigeons out of irritation: “It is much better to kill only such you want, without wasting your powder and lead, then to be firing into God’s creatures in such a wicked manner,” (Cooper 77). While not strictly considered a naturalist writer (the literary movement isn’t considered to have started until later in the nineteenth century), this particular scene of slaughter shows how Cooper challenges the notion that social growth should outweigh the preservation of natural beauty. Through Natty, who clearly believes humans should respect and uphold nature, and through describing behaviors of his more careless characters, Cooper condemns the social machine’s tendency to destroy the environment. The American frontier was abundant with wildlife and untamed nature, and it was those qualities that Americans valued in their new world. Initially, Cooper didn’t intend Natty Bumppo as a more prominent character until the American public indicated their appreciation for the pathfinder. In a

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Portrayal Of Nature Essay

    • 807 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The speaker in Wordsworth’s poem states that whenever he feels sad, he thinks of the daffodils, which enables him to be happy. Nature, but more accurately the thoughts that nature’s beauty created fill the speaker with rejuvenation and wonder outside of him dull life. In Marlowe’s poem the natural world serves to distract from the dissatisfaction that is felt toward modern society. The shepherd wishes for his lover to experience a naturalistic environment filled with modernistic objects; he wishes to combine the best of the modern and natural world. The overwhelming beauty of nature naively blinds him, thus making his plea seem unreasonable rather than ideal.…

    • 807 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Most transcendentalists feel that nature and the simplicity of the natural world are what helps them discover themselves. In Into the Wild, McCandless chooses to live in nature because he wants to be alone, and he does not want to be sedentary. He likes the excitement in life and the adrenaline that living off the basic necessities gives you (Krakauer 69). Many say that one’s life is wasted if time is not spent in nature. Emerson agrees with these ideas about nature.…

    • 1070 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The second highly controversial function hunting works to serve is to benefit the environment by balancing and enriching it. This function is not only controversial to animal rights activists because it employs methods they find deplorable (Francione, 18), but also because they contest that hunting damages the environment rather than enriching it. (Dizard, 64-65). I believe that despite it 's bad reputation, hunting in the United States serves a greater service than disservice by maintaining a much needed balance in our environment. It is true that in the past human hunting has been the primary cause for many species ' extinction and may be in part the cause of our modern skewed ecosystem, but the benefits to the environment hunting now…

    • 955 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    By the 1850's, they had become an open critique of American Slavery. Skepticism about religion was also a sensitive topic they were not afraid to tackle. That the Bible was merely a product of the human history and culture created by the elites to control the masses. In 1836, Emerson asked in the first paragraph of Nature: “Why should we not have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs” (Nature, 1836, p. 2). These are the same ideas that are present in Lennon's lyrics.…

    • 768 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It even gives the reader a vivid picture of common people in very happy state after living in with the nature. William Wordsworth’s experience with nature makes it easier to express an individual’s emotions and he says that the connection that he felt with nature as an adult was more significant because he felt the moral connection. He realized god through nature and he worshipped nature from the core of his heart. The experience of visiting the countryside and the desire to go along with the power of nature to move forward is emphasized more because pessimism on life is withdrawn. Wordsworth alludes to pantheism where god and nature are not separated, A presence… setting suns (94-97, pg.9) shows the theme and the presence of divine force in the nature.…

    • 895 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The way that Wordsworth wrote about nature and the structure of Friedrich’s painting really showed the impact that nature had on them. Wordsworth not only talked about nature, but also the sublime and imagination, which are also key themes in Romanticism. Both pieces of work expressed how nature can help calm people and take them away from society through being on top of a mountain away from humanity and helping make life peaceful during hard times. Romantic artists really appreciated nature in a way that not many people do, and used artwork to show people that they should appreciate nature and not take it for…

    • 1247 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Eliot did an exceptional job at linking some of his modernism writings with medieval tradition. In some of Eliot’s pieces Eliot seems to combine concern with medieval themes and a trend towards modern themes. This was certainly a big deal during this time in history. With the majority of artists either altering writing techniques to adjust to the more modern approach or some continuing with the more traditional approach Eliot was finding ways to combine the two which no other author was doing at the time. Combining that with real life events and Eliot’s own personal life and opinions also set Eliot apart from the other authors of his…

    • 989 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Transcendentalism was used by many authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. All these authors used this to describe their respect towards nature. Many also go into depth about many things others don’t appreciate. Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne are romantics that focus on connecting the past with the present. These two authors are also gothic romantics who also focused on the exotic.…

    • 1631 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Realism In Of Mice And Men

    • 1452 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Again, another natural rendition of a landscape Steinbeck has familiarity with, which he uses to increase the realistic aspects of the story to increase relatability. While Steinbeck creates faithful, vivid imagery of nature from his home, he also uses the same technique in the Southwest to create a realistic backdrop for other stories featuring a universal common man as, “anyone reading Steinbeck is rewarded with his portraits of the natural…

    • 1452 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Being pantheist he believes the same spirit flows through human beings and nature. In fact, his aim is to establish harmony between man and nature through his nature poems. He believes that there is a pre-existing harmony between the mind of man and nature. The company of nature gives joy to the human heart and it console the minds of people. The great masterpiece “Tintern Abbey’ shows that nature plays a great role in shaping and developing human mind.…

    • 1396 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays