Criticism of the Biases Found in Nature Writing

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Criticism of the Biases Found in Nature Writing Many of the earliest stories focused on the state of being, of living and enhancing comprehension of the natural world, or the wilderness. By experiencing nature firsthand, it allows for the possibility of discovering meaning in our own lives and our relationship with the world around us. There is a very personal connection between the individual and the experiences he has accumulated. From these experiences, private points of view are formed within the self, and every human being will react and interpret these experiences differently. Whether it is a moment of “outsight”, an epiphany, or a heightened sense of awareness, the lessons we learn and the truths we take from experiencing nature are infinitely unique. Following such an encounter with the natural world, humans have a pressing need to express themselves, to share their experiences as best they can, to pass on a part of themselves. This is where nature writing falls short. Such personal experiences are meant to be shared, but cannot be taken for the truth - for we all have our own truths, morals and opinions. What must be understood is that what one person may get out of a sunrise or an avalanche is quite different from the next individual. We all have our own interpretations of nature, and by reading another’s viewpoint it not only taints our own experiences of what is but confuses your beliefs. It may not be possible to truly experience nature any longer, because of this phenomena called ‘nature writing’. Too many ambitious author’s have described the world as they see it, that today we cannot help but seeing things through their eyes and not our own. We are told how to experience
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nature, and this takes away from the personal interaction. Nature exists only when “filtered through out optical nerves, our ’senses’, our fiercely romantic expectations.” (Oates, p.230) We expect what we have been told to expect, and get just that, nothing more. Oates goes on to state that, “a wise man filters his emotions through his brain” (Oates, p.231), and not through his prose. Then why are so many talented writers buying into this? This is exactly what Plumwood explains in “Being Prey”, that “we all want to pass on our story” (Plumwood, p,192). The question is how honest and unbiased ...

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