Essay Assignment:: A Shark in the Mind of One Contemplating Wilderness by Terry Tempest Williams
Terry Tempest William’s written essay, “A Shark in the Mind of One Contemplating Wilderness,” delivers to us, with intended purpose using shocking truths of greed and destruction. Actions took under the cloak and disguise of the needs of civilization, creating more jobs, or even to boost the rich man’s governmental legacy of our badly raped and abused national economy. How continued acts of greed and wanton disregard for the environment, are endangering nature the wilderness areas we have sought to protect? Acts that leave behind damage and destruction where once nature and wilderness thrived. A land no longer able to maintain and support the natural balance of the animal populations as it once did.
William’s uses Damien Hirst, her example of art, that’s not art, throughout her writing of, “A Shark in the Mind of One Contemplating Wilderness. She cites some of his displays. I looked up one, and disgusted I went no further. He is as much an artist a butcher working in some cattle yard warehouse is. Displaying the mutilated carcass’ of slaughtered animals, is not art. I agree with William’s disregard of this as a form of art. It is a display of a nurtured talent for cruelty. Nature’s very own version of, “Jack the Ripper.” William’s spoke of bringing Hirst to the wilderness, “let him bring along his chain saw, Cutting Ahead (1994), only to find out somebody has beat him to it, creating clear-cut sculptures out of negative space, eroding space, topsoil running like blood down the mountainsides as mud. Mud as material. He would have plenty of material.” We should invite him to southern West Virginia. Mountain Top Removal is exactly that. Communities once rich in family and generations of mountain tradition, now broken. Homes flooded, mudslides, with some of the no longer passable. Destructive actions not only damage the area of where they are performed. These actions have far reaching impact. Communities that once sheltered and gave home to generations of mountain folk, gone. Small valleys’ rich in mountain tradition, and blessed with the raw beauty of the mountains and nature, gone. Leaving behind echoes of remembrance of a way of life, forever gone. Many have paid a high price to fill the pockets of so few.
William’s has spent the majority of her adult life with her pen as the sword of environmental enlightenment. Seeking to educate and inspire social consciousness and responsibility in mankind. She opens the eyes of her readers not to entertain, but to awaken them to the beauty of nature’s wilderness, and the very real threat it is under. She is a strong environmental activist, a legendary writer, a visionary realist, and driven with a pure purpose. She is the voice of the earth, its people, animals and the wilderness area’s. She cautions us to listen to the earth, seek the quietness in the wilderness, and see it’s irreplaceable value before it’s to late. As a writer and naturalist she has worked diligently to spread awareness of the very real hostile attitudes and acts of violent behaviors and
Gwinn pg 2 greed threatening the survival of nature and the wilderness areas. Her tireless efforts are well known to many. Now they are known to one more. They are known to me. Through the reading, rereading, and then rereading, “A Shark in the Mind of One Contemplating Wilderness,” I finally understand what she intended. As she writes with shocking awareness revealed is the fact that we as civilization are losing our connections to the natural world, the land, and its wilderness. Her vivid words showing her own personal connection to the tiger shark mounted on the wall of the wall of the American Museum of Natural History, and then her thoughts turning to the killer whales kept in tanks for the amusement of humans, “day after day after week after month,...