Wilderness Versus Wildness BY teeiku1620 Wilderness and wildness are two words that present two different views of how nature effects civilizations. Wilderness has a positive connotation, meaning the forest and the beautiful aspects of nature. Wildness means living with no rules, and relying on the basic human instinct to survive. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur has displayed contradictory views on New Britain, and how the people living there conduct themselves.
Both wilderness and wildness are concepts that represented New Britain nd show the struggle between incorporating what the Europeans brought to a new land, and the untamed land they settled. In Letters from an American Farmer, de Crevecoeur does not show any respect for those for those he considers “wild. ” He views those who live in the forest as little more than “savages. ” (p. 4) He believes that eating uncultivated meat has a physical and mental effect on them, which is ironic since now it is has been proven unhealthy to eat anything other than natural meat and unprocessed food.
He onsiders people who live in the “wild” to be “ferocious, gloomy, and unsociable. ” (p. 4) Also, he believes that they do not have much of a future, because they do not trust the other people who live like them. He views as animals, wing with each other for the next big kill. He is exaggerating some characteristics of frontier culture, and does not show proof for his generalizations. Although he is a little harsh in his beliefs and criticisms of people living in the forest, he does, however, tap into a core feature of settlers coming to a new untamed land.
De Crevecoeur is making a case for pastoral living as opposed to hunting and gathering which can be more risky. Like so many others at the time, de Crevecoeur is quick to point out the beauty and opportunity for European immigrants that lay in New Britain at the time. He is amazed by the idea of infinite space and opportunity. Here, de Crevecoeur is not Just thinking of wilderness in terms of nature, but in terms ofa lack of restrictive social structure. He confirms this by saying, “the rich and poor are not so far removed from each other as they are in Europe. ” (p. He is especially excited about the removal of the aristocratic families. He said, “We have no princes, for whom we toil, starve, and bleed. ” (p. l) This quote also incorporates the idea of opportunity. The profits they make in this new land are for themselves, because there is no hierarchy requiring them to pay high taxes. Even though de Crevecoeur was harsh in his description of the “wild” people, he has really captured one of the biggest challenges of establishing a new civilization on a new open land. How do you protect the promise and opportunity of vast amounts of ature without living like a savage?
If men are truly “like plants” taking all of the aspects of their lives from the environment around them, their social structure, and their religion to create their civilization, how do they prevent themselves from becoming an invasive species that crowd out all of the natural elements that existed before they came? (p. 2) There may never be right answers to these questions. As you can see with de Crevecoeur, he was constantly changing his mind about the balance between infinite space and an idealistic civilization.