Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Buried in Nature

James Peabody-Harrington
Understanding Literature

Buried in Nature
        In John Ciardi's “Suburban,” Thomas Lynch's “Liberty,” and Edgar Allen Poe's “The Cask of Amontillado” there are reoccurring themes of reconnection with nature wether by will or not. In “Suburban,” Mr. Ciardi teases Mrs. Friar at her displeasure with a natural action his dog supposedly committed. The speaker in “Liberty” searches to reconnect with nature by “pissing in the front lawn”(Ciardi 1). Montresor buries Fortunato alive, in “The Cask of Armontillado,” deep in the burial chambers returning him to a natural state even though it is not Fortunato's will. Human nature reveals a constant quest to reconnect with a natural state and at the end of life all people are reconnected with this natural state wether they like it or not.
        In “Suburban,” Ciardi expresses tension between characters with different views on the natural state. Mrs. Friar is upset by what she believes to be Mr. Ciardi's dog's “repulsive object in my petunias”(Ciardi 5). This is a joke to Mr. Ciardi because he could care less about a pile of animal feces in his garden. Mrs. Friar obviously does not have a strong connection with nature or else she would understand the benefits feces can have with fertilization for her petunias. As Mr. Ciardi goes to despose of the feces Mrs. Friar says, “I always have loved dogs…but really!”(Ciardi 15). It is a natural physical thing for a dog or any animal for that matter to go to the bathroom and Mrs. Friar is shocked and disgusted by it. She acts as if the dog could help it's self because it is doing something wrong or unnatural. Mrs. Friar is clearly disconnected with the natural world or she would not be so shocked by the natural act. The problem is solved when Mr. Ciardi buries the feces in his petunia bushed where it will rest “until the glorious resurrection”(Ciardi 20). This is a sarcastic comment by Ciardi and it shows how ridiculous Mrs. Friar is in her request and her disconnection with the natural world. Some people are disconnected from a natural state while others are always searching for a way to reconnect.
        Lynch presents a speaker who seeks a return to nature and a “liberty from/porcelain and plumbing”(Lynch 3-4). The speaker searches to reconnect with the nature through the act of peeing in his yard some nights. The speaker wants to reconnect with nature because he is from what he calls “a fierce bloodline of men/who made their water in the old way, under the stars”(Lynch 6-7). The speaker means that the way his ancestors went to the bathroom was outside in the natural state they were meant to with nature. The freedom that nature presents the speaker is what is so enticing to him. “For years now, men have slipped out the back door/during wakes or wedding feasts or nights of song/to pay homage to the holy trees”(Lynch 27-29). He mentions how the way all men across the world connect with nature is to step outside a go to the bathroom. Through all times of life death, marriage, or celebration men reconnect with nature in this simple way because it reaffirms them of their liberties. It lets men “consider liberty in that last townland where/they have no crowns, no cappers and no ex-wives”(Lynch 31-32). The return to nature gives the speaker the liberty of no responsibilities and frees him from his day-to-day hardships and returns him to his natural state–going to the bathroom outside.
        In “The Cask of Armontillado,” Poe expresses the rectnecction with nature in death as Montresor, a man who seeks revenge over Fortunato, buries Fortunato alive in a crypt. Fortunato is a man of wealth and prestige yet he is disconnected from the natural world due to his wealth and power. “Fortunato…was a quack–but in the matter of fine wines he was sincere”(Poe 1062). Montresor explains how he can tell wines apart just by the taste which would have been viewed as a skillful trick. Montresor tricks Fortunato by bribing him with a luxurios wine called Armontillado. Fortunato is lead into the deep dark of the tomb where Montresor chains him to a wall and seals him in reconnecting him with the bones of the dead around him–a total return to the natural state in death. Fortunato thought it a joke at first but then begged for his life. “For the love of God, Montresor!”(Poe 1066). Montresor was consumed by revenge and with this hatred he returned Fortunato to a state of nature.
        In the three works there is a common them of the search for reconnection with nature that is presented by human nature wether intended or not. In “Suburban,” Mr. Ciardi and Mrs. Friar’s views of the natural world are at opposite ends but Mr. Ciardi understands the natural state. The speaker seeks a return to nature by going to the bathroom outside in “Liberty” because the return to the natural state makes him free from the unnatural world around him. In “The Cask of Armontillado,” Montresor sends Fortunato back to a natural state by burying him alive in the catacombs with the already dead around him. The reconnection with nature is a key aspect of the human nature because nature is where we come from and it is where we return in death.

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