The Meadowlands was a great book to start off the semester. It shows that one person’s wilderness is another person’s swamp; Robert Sullivan finds his own wilderness and freedom in NYC’s dump yard. Wilderness is dependant upon your perspective. I was unfamiliar with the area of the meadowlands, so personally learning about the massive territory the meadowlands takes up, just miles outside of NYC was interesting on its own. This was a fun read, with various excerpts from the quirky people Sullivan meets and befriends during his journeys.
Desert Solitaire and Red:
Edward Abbey and Terry Tempest-Williams both observed the same wilderness of the Utah desert, but were written in completely different ways. Abbey remarks on his experiences alone in the desert and his love for the nature around him and describes how he becomes one with the nature by the end of his summer. He is very negative toward everyone that visits the land and possible ruins its beauty. Much of his novel is written in this negative tone and he continues by describing American’s disrespect for the land they live on and nature as part of the “American culture”. Tempest-Williams is written in a more passive and abstract way, filled with imagery. She examines the meaning of “red” the color and the spirit of the people and animals living near Moab. However, she also fully discusses the government involvement with the land and the need to protect this wilderness. Overall, I enjoyed both of these novels, especially in comparison to one another and thought they individually added different qualities to the class.
- Julia F.