The Nonchalance Of Nature Essay

918 words - 4 pages

Nature is not animate. It is composed of a multitude of living components, yet nature itself is no more alive than a rock or a grain of salt. Therefore, the natural world is powerless to exercise control over the experiences and interactions individuals have with it. The naturalist school of literature and thought supports this assertion. Naturalist writers Stephen Crane and Jack London, and cinema director Joe Carnahan provide clear examples of naturalism in their work. Their respective works “The Open Boat”, “To Build a Fire”, and The Grey all employ the notion of the universe as indifferent to the plight of its constituents to strengthen the naturalist vein which runs throughout each ...view middle of the document...

According to the article by Ms. Campbell, naturalism involves “nature as an indifferent force acting on the lives of human beings”. This is true of the short stories and of the film. Every man who dies in The Grey, with the exception of Ottway, has a wife, a family, or both to live for whom he would like to live. Despite this, they all succumb to the crisis they are experiencing. Before Ottway dies, he glimpses the photographs of the loved ones of each deceased man and thinks back to his own departed wife. He, who wishes to die and attempts suicide, lives longer than every other man. Had nature the ability or the desire to grant Ottway his death wish and the other men the hope of seeing their loved ones again, it would not have taken a neutral position. Billie the oiler, the only character in “The Open Boat” important enough to possess a title of any kind, is the most physically capable of the men. He is also the only one who is killed, which illustrates the fact that neither importance or strength are meaningful in the face of nature nor do they attract its concern. The knowledgeable John Ottway is met with the same fate as foolish man in “To Build a Fire”; knowing how to survive does not ensure that one will survive. The man does not even consider “man’s place in the universe”(London 651). The man is ignorant of his insignificance, but that doesn’t change the reality of it. Nature does not take any of these traits into account. A man could be anyone, yet no one would compel nature to go out of its way to accommodate or disrupt him.
During the men’s conflicts with their...

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