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Is Progress Really Progressive? Essay

1026 words - 4 pages

In Wendell Berry’s Remembering Andy Catlett is disconnected from his entire world. He is removed from not only the community he holds so sacred but also from his family, friends, the land, and even his own body. This disconnect creates several problems in Andy’s life and the blame is mostly placed on the technologies of the world. In the novel Berry exposes the idea that as technology moves forward people suffer because they lose their connections to the world.
The title Remembering can mean a number of things and each of these things are expressed in the novel. These meanings such as “the act of memory, the healing of a body's member, and the restoration of a community's member” relate directly to Andy Catlett and his struggles (Donnelly 279). The act of memory is direct in the novel because Andy has flashbacks to not only his own childhood but also to that of his father and grandfather. In literally healing a body’s member Andy is coping with the loss of his right hand. He must heal his own ego to go on with life, but Andy must also heal his arm and teach his body how to do daily tasks such as writing and working with his cattle. This removal from his former self puts Andy through many stresses which help to lead to his need to be restored as a member of his community. In order for Andy to be restored into his community first off he must move back to the place he originally called home. Andy faces each of these ways of remembering through the novel and must achieve each in order to be happy again.
Andy remembers times that he was not even present for but has heard the stories enough that he knows the order of events fairly well and events of his own life. Andy is not the first of his line to return back to his hometown of Port William. Before him both his father and grandfather had moved off to go to school only to return for the love of their community and the betterment of the land but also for the love and marriage of a woman. He also remembers he worked as a journalist. While working at Scientific Farming magazine for his friend Netherbough, Andy encounters a man by the name of Meikelberger. While on the farm with Meikelberger, Andy begins to comprehend the devastation that machines and corporate farming has on the land, marital relationships, and ones on health. In the same day Andy meets Isaac Troyer. After viewing the Amish way of life with a happy family working small family farms he realizes the benefits of small farms over large farms. Andy realizes at this point much as Berry does in his own life that “Sometimes people cause worse effects by their success than they do by their failure” (Burleigh). The growing success of Meikelberger’s farm is what is causing his health and relationship problems and Andy does not want to face these issues so he and Flora leave Chicago and return to the Old Harford Place in Port William. Another way in which Andy is restored...

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