I was finishing up Hull’s book Infinite Nature tonight since I’ve been working on my paper this week and I definitely see a lot of similarities between Hull’s chapter 12 and Thoreau and Emerson’s essays. Hull speaks about people using nature in a relaxing way – in order to get away from the stresses of everyday life. This reminded me a lot of the things Thoreau spoke about in his essay. Hull writes about modern times, whereas Thoreau was writing about simpler times back when he was around, but both are making the same statements: Nature is soothing. Hull also gives many descriptions of nature that remind me of Emerson’s essay. Hull writes about being able to “smell the soil…, feel the cool breeze against your skin, hear the leaves rustle in the air, and watch puffy clouds float above a swaying canopy” (page 183). The description of this scene in nature reminds me of exactly the kind of scene one would read in Emerson’s essay. I just thought it was kind of cool how we were reading the last couple chapters of Hull’s book at the same time as reading the two essays by Emerson and Thoreau and how much all three tied in together.
Everyday I go to work and stare at a computer the entire day. Everyday, just the same, I come home and stare at a computer all night long doing homework.
Some days this drudgery just completely baffles me. This continual absorption of technology is like the meaningless work that Thoreau and Emerson discourage.
If that’s true, I completely understand where they are coming from. Some days all I want to do is go outside and enjoy the fresh air. Sometimes the confines of my house just suffocate me.
I’ve found that just getting out of the house can refresh my mind. It can give me a new perspective on the drudgery and allow me to reconnect with myself.
I don’t think “the healing power of nature” is just a saying.
This movie was one of the most interesting that we have viewed so far. I found myself getting frustrated with our character Chris at several points in the film. I felt like the conclusion was on of resolve still because it seems Chris discovered what he was looking for; to be alone. The difference was that he was totally and completely isolated, but it may not have been what he wanted. He was pressured to leave mainly because he didn’t have a very good family life. His parents didn’t get along well and the clip where his father was abusive would make any child want to not be around home. The pressure of living a very “ambitious” life from his wealthy parents was obviously another reason that he wanted to leave. So Chris sets off looking to escape the way the world has become and find a place where nature is the only thing that’s around. I like how the director uses a lot of motion shots with lots of camera movement to show the dynamic change that takes place both in Chris and in the places around him. One thing I didn’t understand was how much Chris placed the principle of reaching nature over people. Meeting people like Ron Franz (the old guy) would have made me want to stay because of his great compassion and trust to a stranger. I even thought that he was really going to return and see Tracy Tatro (the 17 year old) with his hippie “family” because it seemed like that was the most compassion he had ever seen. It just seems all to perfect a life to return to and with the entrapment of the river, I wasn’t surprised that the thing Chris wanted most ended up keeping him there (actually caught myself saying be careful what you wish for). I definitely think this movie was an emotional appeal because it shows scenes that make us wonder what it would have been like if Chris hadn’t been able to touch all the lives of the people he met, and then was able to go back and see them again. It being a true story (and not revealed until the very end) made it an even more appeal to our senses. Did Chris find peace out there? I think he did, but unfortunately he never got to see the real reaction of his parents that was very much imprinted on his last thoughts.
Emerson’s chapter about beauty was my favorite part of Nature. Some of his descriptions of his experiences in nature in this section really stuck out to me. One passage that I liked was when he described a January sunset. He writes that the “western clouds divided and subdivided themselves into pink flakes modulated with tints of unspeakable softness, and the air had so much life and sweetness…” (page 15). Does this not remind you of a sunset from here in Kansas? Kansas may not have the best scenery to look at compared to, say, the mountains in Colorado, but we do have spectacular sunsets. To watch the sky turn into shades of reds, oranges, and pinks is truly beautiful. The sunsets never quite look the same either, which is pretty amazing as well. I also liked how he mentioned that many city residents think that nature is only pretty during half of the year (summer). He says that he finds just as much beauty in winter, too. I must agree with this. To look out over a snow-filled field that has not been touched by the feet of animals or humans is quite a scene. It’s peaceful and has a sense of tranquility. Although I do not like the cold and do not like to go out into the cold, looking out at it is always breathtaking.
I decided to go with option A and write my paper about the film Castaway. First I will write about how Tom Hank’s character ends up stranded. Then I will talk about the experiences that he has on the island, and how he relies on the materials provided for him on the island to survive. Then I will discuss his life after being saved, and how is experience has changed his life. I will conclude my paper by sharing what we can learn from this movie.
Burleson, Wade and Rachelle. Castaway’s Great Ending and Lessons Learned When Facing A New Crossroads in Life. Istoria Ministries, 20 September 2009. Web. 28 July 2013. <http://www.wadeburleson.org/2009/09/castaways-great-ending-and-lessons.html>
Anonymous. Double Escape: An Analysis of Castaway. Ohio State University, n.d. Web. 28 July 2013. <http://www.ohio.edu/sharpe/eng151/text/analysis_cast-away.htm>
Goldman, Rebecca. Ecosystem Services: How People Benefit from Nature. Environment Magazine, September 2010. Web. 28 July 2013. <http://www.environmentmagazine.org/Archives/Back%20Issues/September-October%202010/ecosystem-services-full.html>
Davis, John. Psychological Benefits of Nature Experiences: Research and Theory with Special Reference to Transpersonal Psychology and Spirituality. Naropa University, May 2008. Web. 28 July 2013. <http://www.johnvdavis.com/ep/benefits.htm>
Ryan, Richard. Spending Time in Nature Makes People Feel More Alive Study Shows. University of Rochester, 3 June 2010. Web. 28 July 2013. <http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3639>
Into the Wild is about a young man, Christopher McCandless, who just graduated from college. His parents want him to further his education and tell him they will help him with the cost of going to Harvard. Chris decides to go out into the wild to Alaska and leave everyone behind. He then donates all of his savings and belongings to charity.
The film follows Chris’ journey as he meets many new people. He crosses paths with a hippie couple that lives in a RV. He stays with them for a while. He also meets a girl that develops feelings for him. Chris works in a grain elevator for a man named Wayne. He also meets another couple while canoeing. Chris cares for each of these people he meets, but has to leave them to complete his final goal.
The movie appears to be a series of flashbacks that Chris is having while in Alaska. During his journey Chris gives himself a new name, Alex Supertramp. Chris eats some poisonous berries in Alaska and becomes very sick. He loses a ton of weight from not eating anything. Chris is remembering his life and is happy with how he lived. Chris then dies and the movie ends.
This movie shows how one can live a happy life in nature. The material possessions that we love so much are really not that important. Chris crossed paths with many people that he could have let into his life, but he did not need to have them to be happy. All he needed was to be one with nature to be satisfied.
Into the Wild begins with a quote from Lord Byron that speaks about nature. The quote is very fitting for the movie with the quote speaking about loving nature more than loving man. The movie then moves into a close up of a woman’s face as she springs up from her sleep, in what seems like a bad dream. She says something about seeing “him” to her husband who tries to comfort her. The movie then transitions into scenes of nature that we come to learn is in Fairbanks, Alaska as yellow words come across the screen. The words seem to be a letter to someone, as if the man is speaking to someone directly. A high camera angle shows a car pulling up into the middle of nowhere and zooms in on a man exiting the car and heading out into the wilderness. This man then finds an old, abandoned Alaskan transit bus out in the wild and decides to make a home out of it. Up until this point, the viewer has no idea what the woman has to do with the man that we are watching, but it is easy to assume that she was referring to this man when she spoke of her dream.
We find out that the woman is the mother of the man in the next part of the movie, as we see her and her husband at a college graduation. They call the name of Christopher McCandless and we see the same man from earlier, only much more clean cut and younger. We then hear this man narrating a poem to his sister as they are on their way to lunch with the family. The poem he is reading is stating that the parents should not have met and when his sister asks about it, he says that it could fit for either of them. This is a foreshadowing of what we will later learn about Christopher’s parents’ relationship.
Although his parents want him to further his education and tell him they will help him with the cost of going to Harvard Law, Chris decides he would rather go out into the wild and leave everyone behind. The viewer sees him donating all of his savings to charity, while we hear his sister narrating. His sister speaks of Chris never liking the material possessions that his parents have always had.
The movie continues through Chris’ travels, where he meets many new people. He comes upon a hippie couple that lives out of a camper and stays with them for a while. He meets a girl that develops feelings for him and works in a grain elevator for a man named Wayne. He also comes across a foreign couple while canoeing through a river and meets an old man on his last portion of his journey before going to his final destination: Alaska. Although he cares for each of these people, he leaves them each, in turn, to continue towards his final goal. The movie is a serious of flashbacks, where the real time is Chris in Alaska surviving on his own and the flashbacks are his journey up to where he is. During this journey he gives himself a new name, Alex Supertramp, and only gives this name to the people he meets. After eating some poisonous berries out in Alaska, Chris becomes very ill and can no longer eat. He becomes increasingly skinny until he gets to the point of death. The viewer sees a sign saying that he lived a happy life and he signs it with his real name. The final scene of the movie is a close up on Chris’ face as he dies and then zooms out to the surrounding area above the bus.
Into the Wild demonstrates how one can love the people around him, but still love nature more. Chris had many opportunities to stay with people he cared about (including his sister who narrates throughout the whole movie and misses him), but chooses to go out and live in the wild instead. Chris’ life demonstrates the ability to have a close relationship with nature, one that does not require destruction.