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Sample1Major1 - Students Name USSY 265Major Writing...

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Student’s Name USSY 265—Major Writing Assignment #1, Spring 2009 Dr. Bassett The Purpose of the Almanac Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac has become a classic among the field of nature writing. The work has become so famous because of the message Leopold was able to show and the way of thinking he helped create. As John Tallmadge says in his essay “Anatomy of a Classic”, “Leopold has been justly praised for applying ecological principles to land use planning and for developing the notion of a land ethic” (110). In this work, Leopold uses various anecdotes to show themes that convey his message and purpose. The themes of man’s power to destroy or create and preserve nature and that nothing in nature is insignificant help develop and reinforce Leopold’s purpose. This purpose is to educate and persuade people to a more mutually beneficial relationship with nature. Leopold’s background helps explain why he wrote this piece and why he would convey the ideas that he does. Leopold was a college professor at the University of Wisconsin and was deeply involved in naturalist positions such as chair of game management at the University of Wisconsin and conservation advisor to the United Nations. The piece was written in the 1940’s and finished just before Aldo Leopold’s sudden death. It has become very popular because of its unique and easy-to-read writing style, and a must read in the nature writing field. The first section of the book contains stories from Leopold’s home in Wisconsin pertaining to each month of the year. The second section is a series of essays dealing with various topics, many of which can be related to the first section. Many of the themes of Aldo Leopold’s work can be found in several of these numerous sections.
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The section “Axe-in-Hand” of A Sand County Almanac displays the theme of man’s power to create and destroy nature through its analogy of the use of the axe and the shovel. Leopold states that with the invention of the shovel, man became a giver and was able to plant a tree. The next sentence states that with the creation of the axe man gained the power to take, and was able to chop down the tree. What is interesting about this arrangement is that the axe and along with it the power to take from nature comes after the shovel and the power to give. This could be an insight that Leopold is conveying that man has only more recently began to destroy nature. This power to create and destroy has given man a divine power. The opening line of the
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