How The Natural World Can Be Indifferent Or Beneficent, Through Life And Death

How The Natural World Can Be Indifferent Or Beneficent, Through Life And Death

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Perspective of the natural world can be indifferent or beneficent, through life and death. This is all dependant on the view of the person interacting with nature. In the works presented, from the eyes of men (in life and in death) nature is indifferent towards his life; Contrastingly, women see nature as being a more benevolent force of gentle good. Perhaps this could be explained by the different purpose of men and women of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Women were even referred to as the ‘fairer sex’ and expected to be generally gentler. They grew up weaned on crafting and caring, prepared not for any serious work. Men however were meant to protect and guard, given the tasks of hunting and providing as well. As boys they went around whacking things with sticks and getting into arguments with one another, things thought improper for girls to do. Through those tasks they had time to only fight with nature, trying to assert dominion over it instead of living alongside it as the women did.
As an instance of indifference in accordance with life, the men in The Open Boat by Stephen Crane present nature as a hard and careless force. Contorting the waves of the sea into sharp, angry points, nature is not kind to the men in peril. But "She did not seem cruel to [them] then, not beneficent, not treacherous, not wise. But she was indifferent, flatly indifferent,” (1003). Because their situation did not bode well, the men in the boat didn’t see anything around them with the light seen in Jewett’s more romantic piece. Instead they blunder around, fighting the waters stubbornly rather than working with them to get back ashore. In this life nature does not provide, but simply goes about her tasks with no concern for the actions of little b...


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...r women of the time period. She’s open to seeing new things without trying to control them, and so can traverse the forest without the wrath of this benevolent nature deity.
Even the topic of death can be viewed as beneficent, under the eye of someone who sees the processes that nature participates in. She provides for all, reusing resources and providing for all creatures in its hierarchy. “The cunningest hunter is hunted in turn, and what he leaves of his kill is meat for some other. That is the economy of nature.”(882). Instead of trying to climb to the top of this hierarchy or discovering the secrets that it holds, the narrator is content just looking upon it’s peace. She can see how death is not bad, but in fact necessary to give other things life. This view is not as selfish as that of the native american man, who only considers death as being his own end.



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