A Comparative Study of the Ecological Thoughts in Walden and Silent Spring毕业论文

 2021-04-02 11:04

摘 要

亨利·戴维·梭罗的《瓦尔登湖》和蕾切尔·卡逊的《寂静的春天》是美国自然 文学史上最具代表性的两篇著作。本文在首先对美国自然文学、两位作者及其作品进行了简要介绍,然后试图分析两位作者生平及生态思想的形成过程,以对比和比较《瓦尔登湖》和《寂静的春天》中两位作者所体现的生态思想,最终得出结论——虽然《瓦尔登湖》和《寂静的春天》分别侧重于“回归自然”和“生态整体主义”,但本质上其核心都是“天人合一”。



  1. Introduction. 5
    1. The origin of American nature writing. 5
    2. Henry David Thoreau, Rachel Carson and their representative works 6
  2. Demonstration. 7
    1. Origins of Thoreau’s and Carson’s ecological ideas 7
      1. The formation of Thoreau’s ecological ideas 7
        1. Influence of the Enlightenment and romanticism on Thoreau 7
        2. Influence of American Indian culture and oriental literature on Thoreau. 8
      2. The formation of Carson’s Ecological Ideas 10
        1. Influence of Carson’s mother 10
        2. Influence of Schweitzer’s and Aldo Leopold’s ecological holism 10
    2. Different ecological thoughts reflected in Silent Spring and Walden 11
      1. Return to nature in Walden 12
      2. Ecological holism in Silent Spring 13
    3. “Return to nature” and " Ecological holism " 14
      1. Differences of their ecological thoughts 15
      2. Common essence of their ecological thoughts 16
  3. Conclusion 18

Works Cited 19

Bibliography 20

A Comparative Study of the Ecological Thoughts in Walden and Silent Spring


    1. The origin of American nature writing

Natural literature is to take nature as the theme of literary writing, the relationship between man and nature as the content to express the author's ecological thought. The nature here not only refers to the natural phenomena, such as the sun, the moon, flowers, and trees, but also the natural environment and all the living things that exist in nature, even the human’s emotional perception towards the beautiful scenery.

Nature writing has its own distinct characteristics. In language, nature writing is the description of the author's own experience and practice of nature in the first person. This experience can be either an external sensory experience or an internal spiritual exchange with nature, so different writers have different interpretations of nature by using limpid, pure and smooth language, which is different from describing nature from the perspective of science or philosophy. Like the complex worlds they reflect, nature writing also shows diversity and individuation in terms of various styles. Its purpose is to cultivate people's love and respect for nature through the subtle influence of literature, and advocate a simple, healthy and harmonious attitude to life.

There is no doubt that American nature can trace its history back to the Aristotelian era. When it comes to its root cause, it can date back to the 17th century when the first European settlers who arrived in the New American continent felt great restraint in the harsh religious atmosphere created by the Puritans. They could do nothing but turn to nature as a refuge for their spirit. At the same time, the difficult living environment in America made it possible for the Puritans to understand the difficulties and obstacles they were facing. Then many of the early Americans described and explained the external things of the world through diaries, travel notes, epistolary prose and other unique ways to know about themselves and their own land. This can be regarded as the earliest form of natural literary in the history of American nature writing. For example, the book New England details the coasts, rock formations, forests and climate there, while Of Plymouth Plantation written by William Bradford praises courage and perseverance shown by the immigrants in the process of establishing colonies.

    1. Henry David Thoreau, Rachel Carson and their representative works

Henry David Thoreau is an American writer, philosopher, transcendentalist representative, and an abolitionist and naturalist. The American natural literature in the 19th century mostly focused on the exploration of nature. Thoreau was honored as the first natural interpreter in the 19th century American history and the first environmentalist saint. He had spent his entire life feeling the real nature in the landscape, and was the visitor and caretaker of nature. From July 1845 to September 1847, Thoreau lived in seclusion for two years on the shores of Walden, two miles from Concord. In the past two years, he provided for himself in order to experience the simple life close to nature, then the long essay Walden came into the world. Walden consisted of 18 essays, recording Thoreau’s life in the Walden forest which lasted for two years and two months. They also recorded Thoreau’s complexity of spiritual journey. In 1985 Walden ranked the first among “ten Books that constitute the character of the Americans."

Rachel Carson, a famous marine biologist, was born in a farmer's family in Springdale, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Pennsylvania Women's College in 1929 and received a master's degree in zoology from Hopkins University in 1932. Silent Spring is the representative work of this American female writer, Rachel Carson, and one of the world's most influential works in 50 years. In Silent Spring, on the basis of a large number of scientific facts, Carson began with a fable to describe the abrupt changes in a beautiful village, from the land to the sea, the ocean to the sky, revealed that the widespread use of insecticides represented by DDT would endanger the environment greatly and irreversibly. This book, by common consent, laid the groundwork for the world environmental movement. It not only reflected the rigorous, realistic, scientific and rational spirit, but also expressed humanistic feelings that respect life. It was a pleasing writing. Its appearance enabled the public attention to ecological ethics to reach the peak of that era, changed the historical process, and reversed the direction of human thought.

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