The theme of man’s unity with and need for the Land dominates both The Outermost House by Henry Beston and A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. These texts explore the cycles of nature and how they relate to the human spirit. Beston begins his journey to understanding when he is captivated and in awe of his surroundings that he cannot leave Cape Cod, but stays to observe and be a part of the nature all around him. He not only becomes aware of man’s part in the cycles nature, but also gains a sense of peace and stillness along the way. The ideas of loving and caring for the land are prevalent throughout both of these nature novels. Leopold takes this idea step further in discussing the obligation that we have to the Land to care for and love it, not only for its own sake but also for ours. This calls for a complete change in the way man views the land, as well as a change in his relationship with it. Leopold would argue that this is ethically right as well as necessary for the health of the entire community, both mankind and the Land included. Society is increasingly heading toward economic dominance rather than a consciousness of the Land, both of these texts call for ethical action to love and respect the Land rather than conquer it.
The Outermost House explores the beauty and awe of nature, and its ability to sustain and bring life. This thought implies that mankind must care for the Land in order for it to
continue to give life to both itself and man. Beston’s original intentions were to spend a short couple weeks on Cape Cod, but “…the beauty and mystery of this earth and outer sea so possessed and held [him] that [he] could not go” (10). Without knowing exactly what was keeping him there, he began to observe and be a part of the wildness nature. Even before he may have known it himself, he feels a deep connection to the Land within a couple weeks, and spends the rest of the year developing a great...
Bibliography: Beston, Henry. The Outermost House.
New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 1948.
Leopold, Aldo. “River of the Mother of God.”
Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac.
New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1949.
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