Katlin Cataldi

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Final Paper 2

The Domino Effect

Dominos provide a fun game and more importantly an excellent analogy to relate to all actions, because every action has a reaction according to physics. Push over the first domino and the rest of the pieces are sure to follow. The last domino to topple ends the process leaving for only the player to rebuild. This procedure is evident when looking at societies effects on nature. Once destruction, such as pollution, occurs there is no undoing it, unless people work together to reestablish what they have taken away. Ralph Emerson, Jose Pacheco, and Luis Rodriguez are environmental writers of different backgrounds, but each captures the influence that nature and society have on each other. These three authors display a clear understanding of the correlation between the two in their writings.

Ralph Emerson’s writing The Portal is an in-depth piece where he expresses great interest in the relationship between humans and the natural world. He states that there are interactions that humans partake in with the environment, however, they do so in a harmful manner leading to negative consequences. He tries to advocate how we are ruining the earth through connections we have with nature that he divides into four categories, “Whoever distinguished the final cause of the world will discern a multitude of uses that enter as parts into that result. They all admit of being thrown into one of the following classes: Commodity; Beauty; Language; and Discipline” (Emerson, 12). Each of these classes has a unique depiction of how humans and nature coincide.

Nature is a commodity to man. It provides the ability to live and grow and allows humans to survive as a result. However, as Emerson points out, humans are building over the land making natures job harder to accomplish. Then there is peace and harmony which are essentials for a healthier life. Beauty contains these fundamentals making it the antidote that relieves people of their daily stresses allowing them to revitalize. The issue that arises with beauty is that nature and humans form beauty together and the result of expansion of modernity is slowly taking away the peace and harmony of life. Emerson continues to proceed to point out that even language is a connection with nature. We relate feelings and emotions back to animals or forms of weather, but we also use our tongue to get our wants and break down nature till it is no more. Last there is discipline which is the makeup of all chemistry and physics that pertain to nature, causing nature to be the cycle of life and making it into the humans personal servant. Eventually, these sciences of nature will no longer exist and humans will be left with loss.

The poetry by Jose Pacheco further demonstrates Ralph Emerson’s belief that humans and non human effect each other, but humans never benefit nature. People are portrayed as greedy contaminators. The poem The Fish illustrates the cycle between both nature and culture. “The net the harpoon you were made for these lures asphyxia and frying pans For pure profit we have tainted your sea Now you exact justice recontaminating us” (Pacheco, 101). This poem shows that all actions have an effect else where. Humans effect nature which later retaliated back. Pacheco mentions a more close connection between the two worlds. The death of a human causes the two to fuse together allowing a person to become part of the natural beauty. To a girl who died in the sea speaks of this situation occurring. “No time which ruins all cannot touch your beauty girl Now you are always twenty-one Now you are fish coral seaweed the waves that brighten the wide world” (Pacheco 95). Personification is an element in some of the poems about animals. By giving them human characteristics it once again interconnects society and nature. “The bat puts up with its martyrdom, and this mockery of smoking the cigarette unceremoniously from its snout…” (Pacheco, 73).

Many of the authors have expressed nature by writing about animals, trees, solitude, but there is another nature not many think of, the city. For some people like Luis Rodriguez, East Los Angeles is his environment. The city is what provides the commodities of his life. It is where he grew up, worked, and lived with his family. Even though this environment is not of natural elements it makes a connection with society. “Bethlehem, I never thought you would be missed. When we toiled under the grinders, we cursed your name. But you were bread on the table; another tomorrow” (Rodriguez, 92). This quote was from the poem Bethlehem No More. The reader can feel the sorrow at the lost of Rodriguez‘s job, his nature, through his words. Bethlehem allowed him to live and profit, but now it was taken away leaving him to fend on his own once again. This connection between nature and people is not pleasant to read. It makes his nature sound unattractive and heartbreaking, but for him the nature of the city provides contentment and life, especially the concert river, that he mentions. The river does not flow with beauty and purity, but matches the area and has remained how he has always known it. “When all was gone, the concert river was always there and me, always running” (Rodriguez, 54).

Ralph Emerson, Jose Pacheco, and Luis Rodriguez have shown through their writings that the environment and society are far from separate, but completely rely on each other. Humans especially rely on the environment. The effects of change in one leads to a change in the other. Despite their different heritages, each author has his own unique way of conveying his message, a result of their varying heritage, but in the end the messages where the same.

Final Paper 1

Rodriguez Poetry

Poetry provides a way to express feelings, retell events, and relax the body in a therapeutic manner. Many people use it as a healthy escape from life in place of abusing drugs or alcohol. It is also a skill that gives a person better self esteem knowing they can accomplish something that can sound so beautiful. Luis Rodriguez is one of those people who found his way out of gangs, violence, and drugs through poetry. His childhood growing up in East Los Angeles was not the best model for learning how to tackle the challenges of life. Through his literature the reader will learn of Rodriguez’s and other people’s experiences of the hardships of the city as well as the daily life and environment that encloses them.

The working conditions in the barrios are lacking in many ways as compared to the rest of the business world. They are dirty, unsafe, and the employers receive little pay and many times deal with discrimination. Rodriguez, after an extensive search, was able to get a job with a construction company. He was not educated in this area, but needed the money desperately to be able to pay for a house and food. His first day of work turned out to be a disaster because no one told him how to properly carry out the necessary procedures with the equipment, leading him to almost go blind. “I didn’t know what to do. I told the journeyman, finally, when I couldn’t see the crescent wrench I was pulling on. Did you look at the spark when I was welding? He asked. Well yeah… Damn it man! He shouted. Don’t you know not to look at an arch weld?” (Rodriguez, 87). Rodriguez fortunately recovered, but many men do die or become crippled from the dangerous of the working environment. He also experienced discrimination against himself and other ethnicities, but remained silent because he knew the Caucasian bosses had the power to remove him. “Lunch came. Jokes about new dudes, Mexicans, blacks-I didn’t know what to say, but hey, it was work” (Rodriguez, 87). In workplaces outside of barrios it is illegal to discriminate on races, but there hierarchies are established between white, blacks, and Mexicans leaving the Caucasians with the ultimate power to do and say as they please.

The barrio is not much better outside the work place. Many buildings have a plethora of graffiti on the walls and are falling apart. There are no trees, grass, hardly any wild animals, and the river is a canal of contamination. The environmental conditions there are unhealthy and barley livable. Luis Rodriguez writes a couple of times about the surrounding view, but in one poem, The Concert River, he goes beyond that and describes how it is and how it should be. In the beginning he says the river is dried up and dirty, but after he inhales fumes from a spray can he envisions the river healthy and full of water. “This river, this concert river, Becomes a steaming, bubbling, Snake of water, pouring over Nightmares of wakefulness; pouring out of a rush of birds; a flow of clear liquid On a cloudless day” (Rodriguez, 29). That is the way the river should be. There is a great lack of the pure natural world in contrast to the too many machines and buildings that establish a dark and dreadful environment.

When focusing on the homes that inhabit this ruthless area, Rodriguez describes unkempt and broken down places. A home environment should be a warm happy place where one can escape from the day’s hardships. With the working and outdoor conditions already at their worst it is upsetting to find out that all aspects of the city seem to be in the same form of disaster. In the poem The Coldest Day, the reader learns of how the poverty of the people begins to appear in their homes. “To me, it was the coldest day in the world, there in sunny LA, the day the gas and lights were shut off because bills went unpaid” (Rodriguez, 5). The people’s homes were not the only place of suffering, but the environment that makes up the city as well. All the restaurant and stores were also cut off from the light and heat source leaving East Los Angeles to be a cold and dark place.

The cities’ barrios today are starting to become recognized and plans are being formulated to try and help these areas, especially East Los Angeles. David Diaz, an author, wrote a book that focused on the life in the barrio and the conditions that is it normally in. “In a sense, walking gingerly around the obvious-inner city decline related to urban sprawl, which is directly linked to environmental crisis-implicates corporate elites who control funding” (Diaz, 12). He shows the link between how the cities environment effects the human world. The companies that consume the city are not trying to help the people, but use them for cheap labor. This is shown in Luis Rodriguez’s poems when he discusses working at the mill and with the construction companies. They did not care about safety, only that the job was getting done and they were making profit. Also, the work force is what causes all the healthy environment to disappear, but are doing nothing to help provide funding for more environmentally friendly resources.

Despite all these negatives about the barrio Luis Rodriguez still has a sense of place there that he will never be able to let go of. All of his experiences, friends, family, and jobs have made an impression in him. This is shown in his last poem called Then Come A Day. “I have carried the obligation to these names. I have honored their voices still reverberating though me. Even now, and the fight flourishes through the burden days, the rage has only subsided into deeper seas” (Rodriguez, 114). The reader is able to see through this poem, and many more, his love for the people of the East Los Angeles barrio and his dedication to make it a better place to live.

Barrios are places that greatly lack the natural world and have an overabundance of the unnatural world to the point that it consumes the lives of the ones who live there. Luis Rodriguez grew up experiencing this harsh reality and dealt with its hardships through poetry. While reading his literature it is easy to see his connection to the cities’ environment and the community, as well as the unsafe surroundings he faced everyday at work and at home.

A++++++ Final Paper ;)

The Typical View

There are certain universal phrases, words, and ideas that people grow up learning and continue to pass them on to the younger generations. For example, the concept of the glass being half full or half empty. A person’s solution to this will then determine whether they are a pessimist or an optimist. Everyone normally wants to be associated with the optimistic approach because society accepts ideas of the norm, but who is to say ideas of both out of the box and mainstream thoughts cannot be accepted and appreciated to the same extent. To take this example further and relate it to Horacio Quiroga and John Muir and their literary works on environment one may be able to determine if going against the grain is more effective in establishing an argument or writing about what people expect to hear.

In my terms the author who seems to fit the normal environmental writer is John Muir. He is the perfect combination of Henry Thoreau and Ralph Emerson, two well known naturalist. He lives a simplistic life and whenever possible immerses himself completely in nature. When reading his short story A Geologist’s Winter Walk his love for the non human world is expressed deeply in his words. “I tingled my feet among their brown needles and burrs, and was exhilarated and joyful beyond all I can write” (Muir, 100). This quote is found in the first paragraph and from that point it is known that he is the usual tree hugging, earth caring person.

Upon completion of reading John Muir’s story the reader is left with the sensation of commitment to the environment and the feeling of obligation to protect a land that nourishes and provides a habitat for growth. For John Muir his main place of appreciation is in Yosemite National Park, but through his words one can also feel the want to cherish all land that remains untouched. Muir makes all nature sound beautiful and pleasing. He claims that nature is better than the human world and through his journey the reader begins to share his feeling of shame at not having significant contact with the untouched world. At one point he stumbles over a rock and writes, “…that is what you get by intercourse with stupid town stairs, and dead pavements. I felt degraded and worthless” (Muir, 101). Never once in his writing did nature take harmful action against him. After finishing his story the reader has obtained a mental notation that nature works for humans.

In contrast to John Muir’s positive outlook on nature there is also the other side to look at, which Horacio Quiroga shows through his literature. He is known for the situations of man verse nature in his stories and that the outcome is not always in the humans favor. “They are tales of risk and danger, suffering, disease, horror, and death; but also of courage and dignity, hard work, and human endurance in the face of hostile nature and the frequent brutality of men” (Quiroga, 1). The writings of Horacio Quiroga help expand ones mind to the perspective that nature works against man. He presents his viewpoint in a different form of writing than John Muir, through short stories with characters.

The Log-Fisherman is one of Horacio Quiroga’s many writings that deals with human and non human interaction. Candiyu, the logger, must face dangerous waters as a part of his job in order to live and obtain possessions of interest. Nature has provided him the ability to make a profit, but in return has plagued him with fever and an unavoidable early death. “Candiyu has been living on the banks of Parana for thirty years; and if, after his last attack of fever this past December, his liver can still pass whatever you please, he ought to live on for a few months more” (Quiroga, 45). Even though nature will be the cause of Candiyu’s death it does not take pity on him through any part of the story. For example, to retrieve wood from the river Candiyu had to work hard to fight from being swept down the canal. This short story leaves the reader with sympathy for Candiyu and a negative feeling toward the merciless nature.

The other short story in Horacio Quiroga’s book The Exiles and Other Stories is titled The Wilderness and is even more effective in depicting nature as malicious. Subercasaux is the main character of the story who suffers the true wrath of nature. In the area that Subercasaux and his two children live there also inhibits an overabundance of sand fleas. The sand fleas present themselves as harmless compared to snakes or other large creatures, but everything has a negative side. In the story the sand fleas love to make their home under the human skin. “They walk high on their legs across the skin, and all of a sudden pierce it swiftly, going down to the raw flesh, where they make a little pouch that they fill with eggs” (Quiroga 77). Subercasaux becomes infected in the story and later dies due to the sand flea bites. This story can make one angry toward the environment because it caused Subercasaux’s two children to grow up in the world alone.

Nature has won against man in all of Horacio Quiroga stories. The natural world always provided obstacles and consequences or tried to compete with the human world. Nature in The Wilderness is devious and makes it known how vulnerable humans are. Quiroga expresses this through the sand fleas crawling into Subercasaux and consuming him through infection from inside to out. This situation makes a critical statement of how powerful and unstoppable nature can be. In The Log-Fishman nature was not as harsh, but still did not provide the same hospitality that John Muir mentions in his writings. There is significant contrast between the authors view points on nature and its affects on humans. Together the authors provide varying perspectives for a reader and a structure for how one can view nature. Depending on that view, a person can decide which of the two authors they find more appealing.

In Cronon’s essay The Trouble with Wilderness he quotes and analyzes John Muir numerous times. “The writer who best captures this late romantic sense of domesticated sublime is undoubtedly John Muir, whose descriptions of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada reflect non of the anxiety or terror one finds in the earlier writers” (Cronon, 75). Cronon obviously considers John Muir’s work to encompass useful knowledge and depictions of nature at its best. Cronon is not the only one who feels this way. Critic Suzan Kollin commented on how Muir can take a piece of land, particularly Yosemite, and make it so descriptive that readers are able to relate and generalize it to the land they know and love. “Muir’s comments function in a similar way: his comparisons highlight the intertextual function of US landscapes by foregrounding Yosemite as a reference point in generating cultural meanings for other regions” (Kollin). The critics and people seem to be very fond of Muir, but there are some, in particular a critic named Eric Lupfer, who do not find his writings as useful or relatable to their own thoughts.

“Note the use of “our Eastern authors” here, and the concern that readers might find Muir’s work lacking because of its portrayal of a world they don’t know. The reviewer wants to identify Muir as an outdoor writer but has significant reservations, for his book has that “spice of adventure” normally recognized as a characteristic of travel writing. Muir’s work—with its western setting and

rhetoric of the sublime—does not fit within the outdoor field as Houghton

editors understood it before 1900” (Lupfer, 19).

This critic obviously does not define Muir as I and many others seem to know him. He claims Muir is not a true nature writer, but I find that Muir does show the thoughts and expressions of a true naturalist.

Horacio Quiroga, like John Muir, has his pleasant and unpleasant reviews as well. However, there are more negative comments on his work than positive ones. Jefferson Spell was one of few who did enjoy Quiroga‘s work. “It is his ability to transfer to his pages the atmosphere of Misiones, the scene of so many of his joys and sorrows, that catches the attention of his readers and gives him distinction as a writer” (Spell). Like me, he feels Quiroga is a well detailed writer and able to make the reader feel they are in the setting of the story. Unfortunately, the general consensus among critics is that they find him to be lacking compared to many other writers. David Danielson expresses this opinion in his comment. “But as a transitional figure he could hardly have risen to the formal mastery of a Borges, a Cortázar, or a García Márquez” (Danielson). Another view shared by the critics that Danielson makes known is that Quiroga is overly dramatic and makes his stories seem worse than is possible in real life. “Furthermore, the stories of Misiones present a coherent world-view, a kind of creole tragic sense of life, ranging from pure horror to the anthropological irony of “The Contract Laborers,” “The Log-Fishermen,” “A Workingman,” “The Exiles,” “The Forerunners,” and others” (Danielson).

Looking at the view points of the critics it is easy to see the trend of them supporting John Muir and his typical outlook on nature in contrast to their harsher criticism of the opposing view of Horacio Quiroga. However, there is a critical factor that should be taken into account before they decide to support Muir over Quiroga. The authors backgrounds play a major role in their perceptions of nature. Their experiences, especially Quiroga‘s, give the stories truth and a more personable feeling. Once again the critic who admires Quiroga‘s work, Jefferson Spell, understands where Quiroga’s views come from. “Into a full appreciation of the work of Horacio Quiroga, knowledge of his own life must enter. For it is his own life, rich in experience, which furnishes him the material for most of his stories; he himself is his own chief character; and in his work he reveals, to an extent true of few writers, his own character and temperament” (Spell). Spell truly understands that even though Quiroga may be dramatic there is truth and reason behind it. Quiroga grew up living and exploring nature, but also witnessed natures abilities to take the lives of his family members. These experiences combined together fill his stories with the reality of nature and the shocking situations that can occur. Muir may have had experiences in nature, but seems to have led a life sheltered from the harsh world that one can experience. Therefore, giving his beliefs a more optimistic view which is more pleasurable to humans, especially since everyone wants a happy ending.

Optimism and pessimism give balance and contrast to the world. Horacio Quiroga and John Muir are a perfect example. Through these two authors, one is able to see the differences between the two views. To look at the authors with an open mind one may find both sides to be convincing. Muir‘s optimistic outlook on nature tends to be more popular because it coincides nicely with the general public’s view. Quiroga on the other hand takes readers outside their comfort zone and challenges their beliefs. Despite this there are still lessons to be learned from his tales are and should be respected and appreciated.

2nd Abstract

Final Paper Abstract

 

Horacio Quiroga

What does the text offer from an environmental perspective?

How nature can provide but also take away

Man v. Nature – Nature will always win

Natures feeling of immortality (1)

Describes the area of the story before they begin (1)

What do they say about nature/ideas about nature?

Provides jobs (45, 46)

It can be unruly (47)

Unpredictable (47)

Personification (48)

Be only afraid of snakes (73)

Sand Fleas (77)

If it wasn’t for his nature life he would live (77)

What are the implications of the ideas presented?

Nature is evil and unpredictable

How does he present the idea? Is it effective?

Story, yes

How does the text dialogue with the non-human world?

Does it advocate for its preservation/protection?

It doesn’t really, it just shows that nature can provide food, work, life but it can also take it all away

John Muir

What does the text offer from an environmental perspective?

Friendly, Fun, Beautiful,

Better than the human world

What do they say about nature/ideas about nature?

it’s a home and its safe

What are the implications of the ideas presented?

Nature is better than the developing world

How does he present the idea? Is it effective?

Tells his own experience, yes

How does the text dialogue with the non human world?

Personification

Does it advocate for its preservations/protection?

Yes!!!!

Show how they are contrasted and if one way is more effective

References

Cronon

http://www.galenet.com/

Rediscovering America : John Muir in his time and ours

John Muir and his legacy : the American conservation movement

1st abstract

Final Project

In the finally essay I want to use William Cronon as my US nature writer. He would be good to use to compare and contrast to Quiroga. Cronon has negative outlooks on nature, but solutions to wilderness problems as well. He is a good author to argue with because he is very strong on his beliefs and states them in a clear insightful manner. He also uses many references to other authors which only helps back his ideas up more and good to use in the paper.

Horacio Quiroga as my Latin American writer will be excellent because he presents his ideas in a different writing style. He uses stories with characters that seem to reflect his own past and allow for the reader to connect making it more personal and persuasive. He, like Cronon, shows some negative aspects as nature, but also shows the good. He also shows the importance of nature because that is how the characters survive. They eat, make shelter, and obtain money because of the nature around them, therefore Quiroga seems to advocate for preservation where Cronon sways both ways in this area.

Resources

http://www.galenet.com/servlet/LitRC?YBE=A.D.&locID=viva_mwc&srchtp=advathr&c=5&NR=Quiroga&stab=512&ai=U13694878&docNum=H1420071485&bConts=12597951&vrsn=3&OP=contains&YDE=A.D.&DYQ=is&ca=2&ste=16&BYQ=is&tab=2&tbst=arp&n=10&GD=any

http://www.galenet.com/servlet/LitRC?YBE=A.D.&locID=viva_mwc&srchtp=advathr&c=9&NR=Quiroga&stab=512&ai=U13694878&docNum=H1420071489&bConts=12597951&vrsn=3&OP=contains&YDE=A.D.&DYQ=is&ca=2&ste=16&BYQ=is&tab=2&tbst=arp&n=10&GD=any

http://www.galenet.com/servlet/LitRC?vrsn=3&OP=contains&locID=viva_mwc&srchtp=athr&ca=1&c=1&ste=18&stab=2048&tab=2&tbst=arp&ai=U13022975&n=10&docNum=A62990393&ST=William+Cronon&bConts=12585119

Luis Rodriguez

Rodriguez has a very different sense of nature from all the other authors that have been discussed so far. From living and working in the city it has become his environment that he wants to protect. Reading his poems it is interesting to read about how the city should be something to protect since all the other authors tended to write how city life should be stopped from expansion and is unhealthy for the environment. When Rodriguez mention machinery, part of his non human world, he would personify it. In the poem/story Music of The Mill he talked of the mill retaliating back at a man. “It began to throw up the years of lies and fingering and turning his back to the hands that reached out to him” (pg 75). There were also many times in his writing that the non human world took a human’s life. This of course made some poems very depressing to read, but he still kept hope that the environment has potential to get better.

The Concert River shows hope of his thoughts of a better society and healthier surroundings. He even visualizes it at one point when he gets high off of fumes. Rodriguez also finds a connection with the river in that fact it is always there no matter how far he travels. It is something he can rely on “When all was gone, the concert river was always there and me, always running” (pg 54).

Rodriquez has a sense of place in the city. Some of it is due to his work, family, friends, and even those who has passed on. His life there has made him feel a dedication and love for it and a want to help make it a better place.

Both Diaz and Rodriquez discuss environmental justice and how it effects the people. “Conflict with powerful state and economic forces stemmed initially from police vigilantism and bitter labor struggles” ( pg 4). There is also lots of discussion as far a what land belongs to who.

Moraga

Moraga described a correlation between humans and environment that I have never thought to relate to each other. “…land is also the factories where we work, the water our children drink, and the housing project where we live. For women, lesbians, and gay men, land is that physical mass called our bodies” (pg 178). In all the other readings and in my own mind nature is only the woods and animals. I have never imagined nature as my consumption or the buildings that contribute to my life. I also have never thought of myself as a piece of nature. I feel when she describes the interactions between humans and nature she points out that all the horrible actions that people witness or experience is also done on nature. Nature or land is where these actions take place and it feels the effect just like humans do. “land materials suffers the violence of exploitation, even as it is an extension of ourselves. And land suffers there oppressions not only during times of war but every day” (pg 241 Ybarra). Moraga gave some examples of social injustices that people and land are both involved. She mentions the United States and how they “obtained” the land from Mexico in the Southwest leading to Chicano suppression and confusing of their native land. Moraga even goes back into history when there were times of struggle with land, especially with the Indians. Then she mentions the future and how the United States still stands as a country only concerned with profit over people and land protection. “The United States has no intention of responding to the environmental crisis. George Bush’s decision to stand alone on principle and refuse to sign the biodiversity treaty said it all. Profit over people. Profit over protection” (pg 171). Priscilla Ybarra, a writer on Moraga, mentioned the connection with women and environment that Moraga talked about. Ybarra wrote that both of these areas experience discrimination and corruption. “In the same spirit of intercultural critique, she takes up environmental justice, with her more recent work especially condemning the parallel exploitation of the land and the oppressions endured by the queer, female, and dark skinned body” (pg 240). I agree, as a female, that yes both environment and woman experience abuse, but also some men do too. Moraga’s comparisons between women and environment are convincing, but I can not fully side with them because I believe men should be included too.

My Place

My special place is in Front Royal Virginia right off of the Shenandoah River. This place holds so much peace and beauty day and night. I separated this area from being a space in the world to my place when I started to go there and my body would become immediately at peace and all my worries slipped away as I drove further back into the woods on the stony road called Acorn Hill. Another aspect that makes this place so enjoyable to me is how much I can escape from society. When I’m there hardly anyone is near by and there are no rules that restrict me from anything. I can go anywhere and do anything with no thoughts of right or wrong. It is an amazing feeling of liberation. This area is one that should remain untouched from the growing industrial world. Shenandoah Valley is so natural and pure it is almost sinful for anyone to take that away. If urban development started to become popular in that area to many animals would be left homeless and starving and a piece of beauty would be removed from the world eternally. My feelings about development there are much stronger than someone who has not been there. As Lawrence Buell put it… “The more a site feels like a place, the more fervently it is so cherished, the greater the potential concern at its violation or even the possibility of violation” (pg 56). I agree with Lawrence Buell’s insight on this and therefore feel we should take everyone’s word about their “place” and understand it holds importance just as much as your own. This is why we should help each other save our places and keep this world a happy area for everyone.

Memory Fever

Memory Fever was all about Ray Gonzalez childhood and life in the Southwest making it the main theme of the stories. Change could also be recognizes as a theme that even the writer himself mentioned in the intro as being evident in many writings. For example he mentions how the whole area is developing and no longer the desert he knew. I also found that Ray did a lot of self reflection and had showed regret for some of his behaviors making those actions themes as well.

Ray seemed very attached to the Southwest and loved living there. “It was one of the happiest times of my life…” He loved the desert landscape, the animals and plants it contained. It turned him into an adventurous hunter. The one story “The Third Eye of The Lizard” he talks a lot about the types of lizards you see in his area and how they provided a sport for him. “Shooting lizards helped to relieve the monotony of living in a small desert town” (pg 35). The rattlesnakes that also inhabited the area were prey to him a couple times as well. However, he did not go in search of the snakes like the lizards.

Even though Ray no longer lives in El Paso I still feel there is a sense of belonging. His family still lives there and at times he has work to go there for. “Family reunions, literary conferences, and the need to immerse myself briefly in the power of the Southwest landscape have brought me back” (pg vii). Wherever one lives there will always be a sense of belonging because it was your home, an area you knew really well. Ray knows the old El Paso, but the new one he likes less and less with every visit, yet he still maintains a want to go back to revisit his youth.

In his stories Ray’s description of the nonhuman world seems to be mysterious. The first story had all the birds who stopped singing together and be completely silent. I personally have never heard or seem birds do that and it seems different. Also, there were all the grasshoppers who jumped into the random fire which was out of ordinary as well. The last mysterious like animal was the lizard with three eyes. It sound like a mutant and something one would not normally see. All these odd animals and random happenings in the environment gave me the impression that the nonhuman world was unpredictable and unique.

In his stories of reflection I feel that he looked back with love of his town but with some regrets of some actions he did, such as killing the baby rattlesnakes and letting the one slip into the house.

Emission Pollution

Round and round the bird circles the tree,

Where it can land it can not see.

The smog lines the atmosphere so thick and brown,

Leaving the bird to fall to the ground.

There is lies now sick and worn,

While a car drives by,

Leaving only more emissions to fly.

There is also the fish who swims in the sea,

Trying to avoid all the trash and debris,

His whole kind has died off because of the environmental conditions,

Once again it was the result of emissions,

I am tired of seeing the continuous trend,

Leading the world to an unhealthy end,

So lets pull together to protect and care,

Then this world won’t end up in despair and completely bare.


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