I did not like this book. I still cannot figure Edward Abbey out, though maybe that’s why this book is so popular. I think the most obvious theme was his distaste for humans, yet he seemed awfully into himself. He kind of just reminded me of my Texan aunt’s loser “cowboy” friends. Jerks. He doesn’t want to be in civilization, but seemed pretty sour when he forgot to pack his own lunch and instead expected his older friend to have played the part of mommy and pack it for them. He was reverent of the geological side of nature, and even the plants that could survive in the desert, but his tendency towards anthropomorphism (even though he was aware of it) was a little too much.
At least he recognized his frailty in the barren landscape and decided to kill a rabbit for “science” and then realize that even that couldn’t have sustained him. He was very against any kind of settling of the wild, so bringing in the bull snake and letting it get accustomed to him and his trailer was a bit odd. Abbey seemed a little disillusioned with the fact that if it were not for the shipments from what must have been civilization he could not have survived. I did agree with his view on national parks being refuges for animals and not for human enjoyment, though he sure did seem to enjoy them… I also liked his appreciation for natural predators and his reasoning for why a few lambs killed isn’t actually hurting anybody. I’m still not really sure how I feel about his views on the Navajo. To some extent they seemed racist, but I’ve never known any Navajo maybe the things he was saying weren’t stereotypes but actually views from some that he knew. However, I don’t think that forced sterilization is ever justifiable.
Are there certain animals, places, plants that are more valuable and worthy of protection than others? How do we best rectify atrocities such as the relocation of Native Americans without further imposing our culture and values on them? To what extent can nature and man benefit with each other with being compromised?