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draft progression 2 - Gabe Altman Writing the Essay Noel...

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Gabe Altman Writing the Essay Noel Sikorski 10/28/07 An Unlikely Marriage Hanging in the Met, Claude Monet’s Bridge Over a Pool of Lilies may serve as a microcosm for what we humans value when we look at nature. The blue bridge, devoid of any technological gadgetry, stands alone atop a lily-encrusted river in a marshy area amidst lush foliage that drowns out the obvious interference of civilization into this otherwise untainted wilderness. The painting expresses a seeming relationship between the bridge and the natural setting that it is so rudely intruding on. Perhaps that is the allure of the image; perhaps it is the intermingling of the two seeming antithetical forces of civilization and wilderness. Could the enveloping of the bridge in a cloud of vivid color suggest a harmonious, perhaps even artistic, marriage between nature and civilization, in Monet’s painting? Terry Tempest Williams, author of “A Shark in the Mind of One Contemplating Wilderness,” would argue that wilderness and civilization are two concepts engaged in a destructive relationship where nature is the victim, and that by valuing wilderness as art, perhaps we may be able to preserve it. She argues that wilderness is art in itself, or at the very least, she wishes us to “designate wilderness as art,” and that our current ways of living and perceiving our surroundings inhibit any such ‘change’ from coming about. The reader sees her idea develop through an introspective progression as she observes several examples of sharks in different locations. The first resides in an
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aquarium tank, while another lives in a natural history museum and is described through her imagining of the shark “swimming toward the diving black body now rising to the surface, delivering with great speed its deadly blow” with jaws that deliver “such force that skin, cartilage, and bone are reduced to one clean round bite”(481), while the third remains “neither dead, nor alive, but rather a body floating in space, a shark suspended in formaldehyde” (481). She views the first as a “creature that kills,” which reveals the she has a sense of predetermined judgment towards the animal. In regards to the second shark, all judgment has been suspended, as she allows herself to get lost in the life of the shark imagining it in its full splendor as it completes a kill. The first two sharks are our “civilized” classifications for the shark. One is a biological perspective, as we observe it in its “natural habitat,” with the second being a scientific exhibit in a museum. However, the third shark, suspended in a tank filled with formaldehyde is Damien
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This note was uploaded on 06/05/2008 for the course WTE writing th taught by Professor Sikorski during the Fall '08 term at NYU.

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draft progression 2 - Gabe Altman Writing the Essay Noel...

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