Overview of Flight of the Iguana by David Quammen

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Chapter Analysis- Introduction This chapter, or in this case the introduction, is exactly what it is labeled as; an introduction. The main ideas of this introduction are more or less used to explain the goals of this book and also used to familiarize the reader with what is to come. Throughout the introduction, the author, David Quammen refers to a wide variety of unique and unheard of organisms that exist in nature. Not only do these organisms sound weird, but many often behave in unordinary ways. The okapi, the Xylocaris, the chambered nautilus, and the plant that eats frogs are just examples of the many different organisms Quammen talks about. The reason for Quammen’s use of such organisms is not to scare readers away from nature, but to actually lure them in. The main idea of Quammen’s whole introduction is basically to show readers that nature is not a freak show, but to show simply nature itself. At first this whole idea may seem a little cloudy and vague, but as you read on, one will start to understand what Quammen is really striving for. Quammen uses animals and plants as examples to show the very intricacies of nature and the natural world. One example that he uses that has helped my understanding of this idea was the black widow spider. Quammen tells us of his strong fear of spiders and he goes on telling us how the black widow is very poisonous and menacing, yet possesses an undeniable beauty. He also states the black widow as being dangerous but not malicious, and gorgeous or hideous depending upon how we see it. Quammen’s point is that no matter how you see the spider, it is still part of nature. Adding to this idea that nature and all of its ugliness and abnormalities is still in fact nature, Quammen goes on further by addressing the human attitude towards nature’s intricacies. By this, Quammen refers to the human attitude towards nature as a whole based solely upon his/her opinion of one organism. As textual evidence for this idea, the example of the spider can be used again. Most people associate the black widow as being venomous and deadly, and so they unfairly associate the same characteristics with harmless beneficial house and garden spiders as well. This attitude toward the spiders can also be applied to nature as a whole. Since humans posses this attitude towards nature, a lot of nature’s beauty is often overlooked.

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