Humanities II

Nature is a key motif in romantic poetry. How does Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” (Reading 27.1) illustrate this fact?
Wordsworth’s poem illustrated the fact that nature was a key motif because in the poem he shows us how nature allows him to “see into the life of things.” It held the idea that nature has sympathy with humankind, and the view that one who is close to nature is close to God.

What does the wind represent in Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind”?
The win din Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind” is a symbol of creativity, to drive his visions throughout the universe, as the wind drives leaves over the earth, etc.

Who were the American transcendentalists? How did they regard the role of nature in human life?
The American transcendentalists were descendants of the English Puritans. They regarded the role of nature in human life by reacting against the material excesses of advancing industrialization and adopted religious roles from Hinduism and Buddhism – who strongly regard nature as a kind of god.

What did Thoreau mean by “the indescribable innocence” of nature?
Thoreau was meaning that the simplicity of just sun, wind, rain, summer, and winter was so forever and affordable; we didn’t need all that we have. That we are appreciating the wrong things and must look towards nature to be happy.

What is free verse? Cite an example from Chapter 27.
Free verse is poetry that is based on irregular rhythmic patterns rather than on the conventional and regular use of meter.
“I loaf and invite my soul, I learn and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.” Line 4-5 pg.227

How did Hegel explain the operation of nature? Did he believe that the dialectic operated in an absolute manner?
Hegel explained nature to be “absolute mind” or “spirit”. spirit and matter obey an evolutionary process impelled by spirit seeking to know its own nature.

Explain in your own words the phrase “evolution by natural selection.”
Evolution by natural selection means that what we have evolved into is only based on what traits have become more or less common in population as a function of the effect of inherited traits on different organisms.

What does “survival of the fittest” mean? Was Darwin’s primary meaning that fit individuals survive?
Survival of the fittest means that the most powerful or dominate races will continue on. Darwin meant that the “fittest” are those who have successfully reproduced their species, not just their survival.

How did American landscapes differ generally from those of European artists?
American landscapes were different from European artists by bringing to their art a nationalistic infatuation with one of their young nation’s unique features – its unspoiled and resplendent terrain. We had mountain ranges, broad lakes and rivers, and verdant forests.

Can you see what Thoreau calls “the indescribable innocence” of nature in Shen Fu’s Six Chapters from a Floating Life (Reading 27.5)
Yes, the way that he describes the scenery and puts you right into the story. It strongly correlates on what Thoreau was talking about how we need to just focus on the simplicity and basis of nature. Which is pulled off here.