Analysis Essay-Hetch Hetchy.docx - Word Count 1716 Enriquez...

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Word Count: 1716 Enriquez 1 Dominic Enriquez Dr. Megan Allen College Writing 1 13 October 2017 The Murder of Hetch Hetchy: Hidden Realities Revealed Following a terrible earthquake in 1906, the city of San Francisco was in a state of distress and looked upon the Toulumne Watershed as the perfect site to build a dam. The only problem was that this valley was revered by many people, including John Muir, a Calvinist naturalist, so the theory sparked large controversy. In 1913, Congress passed the Raker Act which permitted the damming of Hetch Hetchy to provide water to the growing city of San Francisco. Muir, to no avail , furiously wrote an exigency statement in opposition to this act as an advocate of Hetch Hetchy Valley. Despite his failure to stop the damming of Hetch Hetchy, Muir, through his choice use of diction, uncovers hidden realities regarding the divinity of nature and a direct correlation between the government’s actions and conspiracy. Firstly, Muir uses diction to describe the spiritual relevance of the valley by drawing comparisons between the valley and religious institutions. For instance, Muir completes his passage by saying that building a dam in Hetch Hetchy would be like doing the same for the “people’s cathedral and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man” (608). In this quote, Muir is alluding to the severity of destroying the valley in the fact that he compares its importance to holy places. However, he could have gotten the same message across by simply comparing its destruction to that of some famous edifice. So, this draws the question as to why Muir decided to compare it to something much more devout. Muir did so as a
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Word Count: 1716 Enriquez 2 way of showing his own philosophy of nature. For members of religious affiliations, destroying or desecrating one of the sacred spaces mentioned, such as the cathedrals and churches, is considered dastardly, almost evil. This is because these places are understood to be places of worship and vulnerability, where individuals are free to offer themselves without judgment. To destroy something so vulnerable and pure without a second thought would be considered villainous. Muir, knowing this, chose to compare the destruction of the Hetch Hetchy Valley to the destruction of these sacred places as secondary means of describing that the valley is his own place of worship and vulnerability. This revelation pertains to the concept that nature possesses divine aspects by showing that it is not only a place of importance, but a place with spiritual meaning.
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