New And Precise In American Wilderness: A New History

New And Precise In American Wilderness: A New History

Week 2: E-response to Lewis, Simpson, and Alone

For this week’s e-response, please read the pieces by Michael Lewis 

Actionsand Sherry Simpson,Actions watch the Season 1, Episode 1 of Alone (Links to an external site.), and respond to the following questions:

1.  In American Wilderness: A New History, Michael Lewis argues that “wilderness is simultaneously a real thing and a human construction.”  What does he mean by this?  How does he distinguish between “wildness” and “wilderness”? According to Lewis, how have (western) ideas of wilderness have changed over time?

2. Both Sherry Simpson and the contestants in Alone have chosen to live on their own in the wilderness for a period of time.  What similarities and differences do you find between their experiences?  How do they narrate their relationship with nature?  What connections do you see between these relationships and the history that Lewis described?  Cite specific examples from both text and film to support your answers.

3.  Select a specific scene that stood out to you in both Simpson’s essay and Alone.  What happened in these scenes?  What is your reaction to them?

4.  Each of these pieces use Humanities-based approaches to consider human relationships with nature.  Lewis primarily relied upon environmental history, Simpson engaged in nature writing, and Alone used documentary film (the reality TV-esque version).  Which of these approaches did you find most effective and why?

Your e-response must be at least 400 words in length (total, all answers combined).  It may be longer if you wish.  Thank you!


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