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Reading The Landscape And Reading A Human

1680 words - 7 pages

The narrator was eight years old and her brother was three when her mother died. They were raised by their father, maternal grandfather, and an old ranch hand named Chubb on land fenced in order to keep other people's cattle out and the wilderness in. On some nights, she recalls, the two children would go running through the moonlight, “through owl-call and cricket-chirp and frog-bellow… There is no other way to explain it: we'd run until Mother was alive. It was like blowing air on a fire, bringing coals to flame. We'd run until we ignited… in her presence. Something was out there - something just beyond” (104).
This brings us back to the image of the mother’s body being “planted”. The narrator also goes on to say that her “Mother returned to the land” (119). Nature is always a balance between life and death. Nature supports the life of an organism and, once that life is extinguished, the vessel of that life is reused to support the life of another organism. Such is the circle of life. After being “planted” in the ground, the mother literally became one with nature again. She helps the grass and trees grow that feed the cattle and house the bird. She supports the life of a flower that feeds an insect that feeds a frog. Everything is connected.
“The Stars, the Sky, the Wilderness” appears to be about the life of a woman who grew up on the plains of Texas, but that is not the main focus of the novella. While the reader thinks that they are reading about the narrator’s life and experiences, they instead are focused on the nature and its connections with the narrator. The land and its inhabitants are important to the narrator’s life, and thus, the only conflict that Bass makes apparent to the reader is one that involves the endangerment of said nature due to the presence of humans. All other conflicts are resolved so the reader’s attention is not diverted for too long from the central idea; that nature is an important aspect that needs to be protected. To make the reader feel interested in this topic, Bass used a human as a narrator to show the problems in an everyday setting. By having such a narrator, Bass is giving the reader something to relate to; another human. No matter where the reader comes from or what their life experiences are, they are a human just like the narrator. Losing a mother is something that a lot of the population can relate to, or at least sympathize with if they have not had such an experience. Bass brings this experience back to nature by pointing out how the mother will always be present as long as the nature that she has joined is present. Bass constantly weaves human experiences and their connections throughout the novella. He never outright says that nature needs to be protected. Instead, by the end, the reader feels a need to protect nature since it appears to be so central in a human’s life. This is all due to the fact that Bass integrated a human-like aspect into his novella.
I believe it is in our nature, as...

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