Sad Farmers in The River Warren

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Sad Farmers in The River Warren

As farmers and small farming communities become more and more distanced from the land and one another, a greater dissatisfaction results in the farmer's perception of his/her life. In Kent Meyers' novel, "The River Warren," Two-Speed Crandall becomes a victim of this trend. To understand why this dissatisfaction is becoming more prevalent, we must look at the decline of more traditional methods of farming in favor of contemporary agriculture. Also, we must explore the disintegration of community in the lives of rural farmers. These two factors are inevitably correlated; a transition to industrial, corporate farming leads to the farmer feeling less a part of a farming community.

Technology has served as the prime force in removing the farmer's hands from the soil. This technology has come in the form of machinery - and bigger and more "advanced" machinery - and in the form of chemical fertilizers. In a book review of Kent Meyers' The Witness of Combines, Pat Deninger writes:

"What his father. . .felt powerless to counteract was the overwhelming pressure to use unsustainable agriculture practices, to embrace newer technologies without question, to grow larger and larger and divorce themselves from those seasonal rituals that brought meaning to their lives. . ." (Deninger 13).

By this account, one may better understand the helpless feeling of the farmer. The pressures are there, both economic and social, to expand. When the farmer is conscience of this drifting away from a more direct contact with the soil, as Meyers' father was, the sadness may be greater, but even farmers who are not alert to what is happening will suffer. This is ...

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... correct, perhaps we have an explanation for the deaths of Two-Speed Crandall and his wife.

Works Cited

Berry, Wendell. The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996.

Deninger, Pat. Rev. of The Witness of Combines, by Kent Meyers. The Land StewardshipLetter April/May 1999: 13.

Groh, Trauger and Steven McFadden. Farms of Tomorrow Revisited: Community Supported Farms - Farm Supported Communities. Kimberton, Pennsylvania: Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, 1997.

Newman, David. Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press, 1997.

Shepard, Karen. Blackberry Hills Farm Newsletter. Wheeler, WI: August 1999.

Stiling, Peter. Ecology: Theories and Applications. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1996.

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