Essay on Human Exclusion and the Personification of Nature

Submitted By ccbruno
Words: 563
Pages: 3

Human Exclusion and the Personification of Nature

In Mary Austin’s book The Land of Little Rain, human proximity to nature is far from close. In the chapter, “Water Trails of the Ceriso”, humans are unnatural to the desert valley and nature reigns. Austin’s personification of the wildlife in the Ceriso Valley portrays the community that the land has; yet, this use of personification highlights man’s far proximity from nature because it shows that man does not fully understand this world of wildlife and does not belong in the community of nature. Austin begins the chapter by describing the water trails left in the Ceriso Valley after the rainy season, “spread out faint and fanwise towards the homes of gopher and ground rat and squirrel” (15). Home is a personification of the dens where these animals live—“den” being a more technical term. And the dens of squirrels are far from similar to the home of Austin (presumably she does not live in a hole in he ground). Not to mention gophers, ground rats, and squirrels are all a part of the same family of rodents—a family where humans do not belong. Austin then says, “getting down to the eye level of rat and squirrel kind, one perceives what might easily be wide and winding roads to us if they occurred in thick plantations of trees three times the height of man” (15). Austin desperately tries to see the world from the point of view of these rodents only to personify their lives even further. Instead of water trails, the natural paths in the valley turn are seen roads, which are typically unnatural because they are manmade. Austin tries to join this family of rodents through their point of view, yet rodents would never see the natural water trails as roads… Probably because they do not know what roads are. Immediately, within the first paragraph of the chapter, it is clear that humans are outsiders through the personification of what home is for the wildlife of the Ceriso Valley. Austin then remarks that seeing the valley from man-height is the least fortunate point of view—an elevated sight being the best. The only way for a human to reach an elevated point of view is to gain