Wilderness And Pioneer Civilization Essay

716 words - 3 pages

Civilization is often seen under a positive light and associated with progress, order, and morality ;however, there are many negative aspects to civilization as well, especially seen thorough the eyes of a female settler. In Susanna Moodie's memoir, Roughing it in the Bush, symbols, diction, and figurative language are used to paint a picture of the perceived wilderness and this in turn shows her views on civilization and address the Victorian, European settler perception of nature as a double edged sword. Her descriptions and use of characters as symbols give the readers a window into the life of a female settler and her experiences of wilderness, civilization, and culture shock.

In Moodie's Roughing it in the Bush, her representations of the characters gave readers insight on what each person represented as well as her impression of them. Brian is shown as both a representation of nature and how the wilderness can taint civilization. Brian encapsulates the essence of Victorian views of nature. On one hand, he is kind and benevolent, often bringing Susanna the gift of milk, but on the other hand, he is “ as savage and as quarrelsome as a bear.”(Moodie 123) Even the description of his dogs, Musie and Chance, symbolized this dichotomy of brutal power and graceful beauty in nature. The “great contrast between the dogs” (Moodie 122) one being a large powerful dog and the other a strong and graceful shows Susanna's representation and view of nature. In the memoir, Brian is not only a symbol of nature, but also an example of how nature can corrupt the civilized. Giving Susanna the gift of milk showed that he is “a man of benevolence and refinement,” ( Moodie 124) reminiscent of the “model English settler” Brian once was. Layton describes Brian as a handsome, successful settler who did everything that was expected of him. After being tainted by the wild he started to spend more time in the wild and less with “civilized” society. Layton's recount of Brian's gruesome suicide attempt showed the readers what is thought of wilderness and civilization. Brian “ lying [ like a pig choking] wallowing in his blood with his throat cut” ( Moodie 125)...

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