Personal Reflection

Personal Reflection

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Rachel Carson: The Obligation to Endure (pg. 83)
When Carson cites Schweitzer, she is referring to the “devils”, or harmful, unnatural creations of man that dramatically alter nature, that often go undiscovered or avoided. She is specifically referring to the contamination of air, plants, earth, rivers, seas, and organisms with dangerous lethal materials. Additionally, Carson is referring to the ways in which man physically alters the environment such as importing plants that are non-native, or invasive, and practicing agricultural monoculture. The point Carson is trying to make is that the effects of humans unnaturally altering the environment produces a chain reaction that eventually harms the causes of the damage; humans themselves.
Carson uses scientific and historical facts to support her argument that humans are destroying the natural balance of the earth that took hundreds of millions of years to develop in just a matter of years. Carson makes the available knowledge more useable by emotionally appealing to the reader in order to make an impact to prevent humans from further disrupting the delicate balance of earth's natural systems. Additionally, she makes a point to discuss the fact that humans understand the harm they are causing, but chose to ignore it. Ultimately, the purpose of Carson's paper is to make the reader come to that realization.
Carson's “The Obligation to Endure” is similar to Aldox Huxley's novel “Brave New World” because both pieces mentally paint a picture in the readers mind that depicts the long-term negative affects that humans have on their environment. Additionally, both discuss humans manipulating the environment for the betterment of human kind and not considering the negative effects on the earth's natural processes and components. Basically, both serve a purpose to cause the reader to sympathize in order to make a change in the lifestyles of modern day people.
I definitely agree that the extra expense for organic foods is worth it because health is far more important than finance. Additionally, if more people were to purchase organic foods, the prices for organics would go down and it would result in better health for the world. By people purchasing foods from companies that use pesticides, they are supporting the chemicals that harm organisms and grow a population of “pests” that have built up an immunity to the pesticide anyway and ultimately cause the problem of chemicals in the environment to become even greater.

Jared Diamond : The Ends of the World as We Know Them (pg.

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Personal Reflection Essay

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The five leading factors that Diamond says have lead to the collapse of societies are: “the damage that people have inflicted on their environment, climate change, enemies, changes in friendly trading partners, and the society's political, economic, and social responses to these shifts.”-Diamond. These factors have allowed for prosperous societies to take a turn for the worst. On the other hand, Diamond states that in order for societies to prosper, they have to learn from their mistakes, or ways in which they have depleted their environment.
Diamond builds on the idea of New Years Day by acknowledging the concept of resolution. In his essay, he discusses how societies that were originally going down hill, per say, have been able to make resolutions, or alter their geological footprint, to rise again. On New Years Day, it is popular for people around the world to make changes in their life for the betterment of themselves and others. This idea parallels with Diamond's purpose; to warn Americans so that we don't end up like societies of the past that have collapsed.
Carson's mindset in “The Obligation to Endure” is very similar to Diamond's because they both warn society about the dangers of inflicting harm on itself through environmental degradation. Additionally, both essays present the idea that society should think more long term instead of short term. Both Carson and Diamond do a good job on presenting their arguments by using historical evidence to support their claims. However, because Diamond's historical frame is a lot more vast and he constantly relates to numerous historical societies instead of just the United States, his essay is more effective than Carson's more present view of just the U.S.
I do have hope for the future of American society because we have been able to learn from our mistakes and have founded numerous environmental restoration facilities and developed methods in which we can save our society. Additionally, because of the many prevalent issues that have been addressed recently, I believe that humanity has taken it's toll. Crime has become worse and the minds of American Youth/Adolecents have been adulaterated with unnecessary trash as a result of the increased use of technology.

Anne Dillard: Seeing (pg. 112)

To Dillard, seeing means one is able to lead a life of pleasure and observation. Seeing is important to her because she believes that it allows insight and lets you observe the world from a valuable perspective. Dillard presents the proper way to observe the world and to take advantage of one's ability to see.
Dillard makes her descriptions central to her essay by providing valuable insight and finds grace in the meaning of sight. Additionally, the descriptions work on their own by encircling the central idea of the importance of sight and the descriptions are enhanced with the use of figurative language, anecdotes, and diction to make them seem more natural and inviting. She uses details from her own life to make the descriptions seem more personal. Unlike people who are able to see after being blind their whole life, she puts the reader into the perspective of having a personal interaction with her descriptions. The descriptions enhance her essay by supporting her stand on the importance of sight.
Dillard's essay is similar to Henry David Thoreau's “Walden” because both pieces of literature change the reader's perspective on life. Although both are very similar, the diction used in Dillard's essay is more understandable than Thoreau's advanced vocabulary used, which might prevent the reader from having the same perspective as him. Additionally, both pieces place emphasis on the importance of observing and embracing nature.
Many people today are blinded by what is actually see versus what they expect to see. The ultimate message that Dillard is trying to get across is that our perception are molded by the perception of society and we need to learn the magic of pure observation. There has been times when I have misunderstood situations or events because at first I saw and thought when I expected. For instance, I expected that someone was talking badly behind my back because when I observed them talking to someone else, they appeared to be talking about specifically me when in reality, it was someone else. I let myself be blinded by my own expectations instead of embracing observation. My expectations came from issues of the past such as when a person who I thought was my friend talked negatively behind my back because they were jealous of the part in the school musical I had made. I never forgot that situation and therefore let it adulterate my expectations.

Lars Eighner: On Dumpster Diving (pg. 146)

Key terms and definitions:
Dumpster- A large bin-like structure used for emptying trash into a large truck. (Dempster Diving)
Scavenging- To collect useful things from a pile of disregarded waste. (animals usually)
Scrounging- To obtain something from the generosity of others
Foraging- To search for food or provisions.
Eighner's states that the beginning Dumspter- diver stages include one searching for useful items in order for the diving to go successfully. Then, Eighner states that they must never give up and avoid inedible foods that have been contaminated. His analysis tells readers that they must learn the art of deciding if the foods/provisions are good or bad. He gets the message across that Dumpster Diving is a meticulous task and needs patience. His writing style tells me that he disregards how others sees him and chooses to write freely and openly.
This essay is similar to Henry David Thoreau's “Walden” because both authors despise human wastefulness. Specifically, they both view humans from a different perspective and choose to be as environmentally friendly as possible and take value in things that still have value, instead of disregarding them. However, Eighner chooses to not be as isolated as Thoreau because Eighner forages in city dumpsters whereas Thoreau tucks himself away in a cabin in the woods.
After reading Eighner's essay, it makes me reflect on my lifestyle values and males me want to not be as wasteful. The essay was very inspiring and it made me see dumpster diving in a different light. I relate to Dumpster diving because my family and I like to go to thrift shops and recycle clothing. Additionally, my sisters and I like to swap clothing and accessories if they are not one's style instead of giving all of the items.

Stephen Jay Gould: Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs (pg. 169)

Gould states that three different ideas for the reason of the extinction of dinosaurs are Sex, Drugs, and Disasters. The three contrasting ideas have good explanations as of why the dinosaurs became extinct. Even though many believe that it was primarily (a) disasters that caused the demolishing of the creatures, it explores the idea that it could have been sex and/or drugs and goes through why the ideas could be true or false. Gould analyzes each idea and provides readers with scientific knowledge.
Gould is merely “Preaching” by providing his knowledge to people who are most-likely not scientists. The message of his sermon is to never not question scientific hypotheses and to not accept any concept without knowing for a fact the hypothesis is true. Gould gives readers a different perspective regarding the background of scientific knowledge.
Gould's essay compared to the other author's essays is similar because all of them provide the readers with scientific knowledge so that they come across with a “preaching” effect. However, Gould picks out each idea and discusses them separately within specific paragraphs to avoid confusion and makes the essay organized. Gould's language, or diction, is different than the other author's because he uses common, non-scientific words such as “sex” and “drugs”, whereas the other authors use more of a scientific language. All of the authors connect their science and their preaching, however, because they use their scientific evidence and backgrounds to support their arguments to come across as “preaching” to the common folk.
The texts that I have read that instruct the reader on “How to” study or observe something explore the aspect by making the language more personal in order for the instruction to relate to the reader. For instance, when the text is trying to instruct the reader how to analyze a specific piece of literature, it discusses aspects that the reader might be able to relate to.

Michael Pollan: What's Eating America (pg. 300)

Today, Americans genetically modify corn to suit the needs of scientifically altered food products. Specifically, Americans use corn as the by-product of oil, flour, and leavenings, to feed the farm animals we consume, to make the the triglycerides and coloring in modified, processed foods, to produce artificial sweeteners, and for other products of mass-consumerism.
The difference in Pollan's cause-and-effect claim versus how a car engine or the carbon cycle works is that the processes provide altercations during the process and do not produce a circular reasoning effect. Pollan uses his cause-and-effect explanation for emphasis on how damaged America's food consuming is. Additionally, he uses them to make his larger argument by connecting the different altercations to embody one central idea regarding the problems with American food.
Both Authors (Carson and Pollan) write with a negative tone to provide emphasis on the faults of American society. Additionally, both author's conclusions include reflection and provide the readers with instruction on how they can change their ways.
Another invention that “Changed everything” in ways it wasn't intended to is insect pesticides. Like Carson states in her essay “The Obligation to Endure”, pesticides have done opposite of what the inventors intended to achieve; it has created numerous problems and has created a larger population if insects that have evolved to be immune to the harsh chemicals and the chemicals are very harsh on humans. There is really no way of reversing the pesticide's effects.

Scott Sanders: “The Men We Cary in our Minds” (pg. 346)

Sanders sees himself as an ally of the women he met in college because their fathers “ran the world” and the girls wanted to share this power and glory like Sanders himself. However, they were enemies of the male's desires. The women didn't see Sanders and an ally, however, because they saw him as someone who would turn out like their fathers.
Annotated list:
-Black Convicts and White Guards- they never stop working and toil in the hot sun with the boss looking over them.
- marginal farmers, welders, steelworkers, welders, and carpenters: the harshness of work
- soldiers- they scarcely worked at all in Sander's mind. Boredom, waiting.
Sanders embraces the idea of anti-sexism and allies with many of the women he had encountered in his lifetime. Sanders's essay is similar to the novel “The Awakening” because both pieces emphasize feminism.
I believe that people have the freedom and ability to complicate a social critique, however, it weakens it because the so-called supporters are degrading the structural cause of support and weakens the reasons for fighting an idea such as feminism.

Alice Walker: “In Search of Our Mother's Gardens” (pg. 420)

The women who are Walker's subject are driven by experience and the willingness to embrace reformation. The women who Walker discusses are the way they are because they endured the harsh pains of slavery and understand they are worth more they are valued in the white person's eyes.

Walker answers her question by mentioning that the creativity was born in them and by the Grace of God, they are able to live out their lives with creativity and passion. Additionally, Walker mentions that they are able to overcome the lash with their strength and dedication. The Cause- and- Effect that is presented is the cause of the Black women's strength and the passionate aspects of creativity that can come about.
Sander's men in “The Men We Carry in Our Minds” are similar to “the mothers and grandmothers” because they toiled all day in the fields and fought off the discriminatory remarks regarding race. However, they are different because unlike Sander's men described, the women in Walker's essay were not able to work in the fields, but be the homemaker and tended to the children. Thinking about them provide inspiration to the author to make their pieces flow with enthusiasm and the desire to live their lives with the passion that the men and women they wrote about had.
My mother has a creative outlet: primitive rughooking. Rughooking is not the same as what many people know as “latchhooking”. Primitive rughooking is one of the oldest art pieces created since civilization. It is made of strips of hand-dyed, colorful wool and is hooked onto burlap with outlined designs to create beautiful masterpieces. It takes between a few hours and many years to make a rug, potholder, or any creative object in mind. The process takes dedication, commitment, and passion to make the outcome worth while.

E.B. White: Once More to the Lake

White describes the lake as “fade-proof” and the woods as “unshatterable” because year after year, they have lived on through all of the author's memories. From the time the author was a young boy and had wonderful memories of his father during the month of August, up to when he takes his own son to the lake, the location never changes and lives on.
During the 5 times White gives vivid description to his fairly simple story, such as when everyone there got ringworm to the picnics to the thunderstorm at the lake, he uses personal anecdotes and figurative language to make his story rich and lively to make the reader feel comforted and paints the picture in the reader's mind.
“Once More to the Lake” is similar to E.B. White's Charolette's Web because both use many personal anecdotes with a child-like flair to appeal to the reader and both pieces create peaceful imagery and use many metaphors to expand on their heartfelt memories of childhood. Additionally, they both cause the reader to reflect back on one's own childhood memories that continually live on. The diction was effective in presenting the story.
I remember when my family and I went to Disney World for the first time. Even though I was only 5 years old, the memory still lives on and is so vivid, similar to E.B. White's memory of going to the Lake with his family. The artificial water, characters, colors, and lights that lit up the night and day sky will forever be vividly presented in my mind.

Marie Winn “Television: The Plug- In Drug” (pg.438)

The prices of television sets from their invention today represent the importance American's place on being entertained by television and represents the blending of television with family life.
Television prevents families from interacting and does not allow family members to bond because more often then not, many family members don't want to watch the same show anyway and there are usually multiple T.V. Sets in the average modern American's house. Television is a gap between generations and does not promote a healthy family relationship.
This essay's argument is similar to the message that “Fahrenheit 451” tries to get across; technology is ruining relationships among individuals and creates a wider generation gap. Families are not interacting as much and morals are degrading as a result of the “trash” that is presented on T.V.
When I created my television journal, I noted that I felt stressed out at times, because I knew that I could have been doing productive work and getting ahead, however, with T.V, I was able to ignore these signals and felt at ease. Additionally, I was so focused on the T.V., that I was not willing to have healthy conversations with my siblings and my parents. I definitely agree with Winn's argument; television in the house has presented many challenges with the family's, and therefore society's, social interactions and I believe that our world would be a lot better off without the invention of technology used for entertainment.

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