Friday, September 5, 2014

Prompts for Darwin & Abbey, week 2

  1. At various points throughout Desert Solitaire, Abbey claims to hate humanity, either directly or indirectly. See, for instance, pages 154-5. Paying attention to this passage but also making use of evidence from other parts of the book, explain/argue to us how we should interpret Abbey’s apparent misanthropy, and why? Should we take him literally? Metaphorically? A mixture of both? What does this misanthropy ultimately mean?
  2. Explain/argue how we should use the journey(s) down the river we discussed at length in class to interpret the journey down the river in the chapter “Down the River,” or vice versa, showing detailed knowledge of the text.
  3. Using multiple passage either from week’s reading or last week’s reading, make an argument that addresses the relationship between Darwin’s understanding of nature and his understanding of humanity. The prompt is broad, but your argument should be specific - you might, for instance, focus on human vs. animal encounters in a single chapter, or you might deal with his interest in humans who live at least closer to a “state of nature,” e.g., the gauchos in chapter IV.

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