Freedom Of Humanity Depends On The Connection With Nature

916 words - 4 pages

“The Bear” is a book written in 1942 by William Faulkner that deals with the life of an ancient bear named Old Ben. Old Ben affects the lives of most hunters that know him, and most importantly it he has a great influence on Ike and the wilderness. “The Bear” is not only about the life of Old Ben, but it is also about the wilderness, racism, possession of land, and the meaning of humanity. The interpretation of wilderness Faulkner present in his book is that the forest represents an essential connection among liberty and humanity (Radloff). Through allusion, William Faulkner uses imagery and symbolism to connect liberty and humanity with the wilderness.
William Faulkner, with the successful use of imagery, explains that the only way humans can achieve true freedom is by connecting with nature. In “The Bear,” wilderness consists of “big woods bigger and older than any records of documents [available]” (Faulkner 185), meaning that the only way humans can achieve freedom in nature is by connecting with it, not by terminating it. Connecting with nature allows humans to discover the intimate deliverance that nature offers (Vickery 211). Ike seeks this deliverance when he “enters his novitiate to true wilderness” (Faulkner 189). At first Ike’s purpose is to be the human who “hunts [and kills] the bear” (Faulkner 204). However, once he obtains a deeper connection to the wilderness through Old Ben, his idea change. Ike, who once felt that all he needed in life was “humanity to survive” (Faulkner 186), begins to have a change of heart when he realizes that he shares a connection between him, Old Ben and nature. The relationship between Ike and Old Ben begins the first time the bear makes an appearance, Ike “looking at [Ike]… without any bad intention] or moving” a foot (Faulkner 196). Ike realizes that he is safe, and “he can go almost a mile [in the wilderness] before he will need to see the compass”, because “there is [not a thing] in the woods that is going to hurt him” (Faulkner 2001, 201). His connection with the bear provides him with protection in nature. On reaching this discovery, Ike “dedicates patience to the wilderness” (Faulkner 193) and also risks his well being (Vickery), allowing him to see Old Ben for the second time. On this occasion, Old Ben “[does] not emerge, appear: it [is] just there, immobile, fixed in the green and windless noon’s hot dappling” (Faulkner 202). When Ike happens to be near the bear, Old Ben chooses to have the posture of a man (LaBudde 227). Even though Ike is “scared of the bear” (Faulkner 200), because of the bond that he shares with Old Ben, he is not afraid to go into the wilderness “[without] the gun by his...

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