Nature 2 Essay, Research Paper
In the story “The Gift”, by Louis Dollarhide, he makes use of nature imagery on both the human relationship with objects and nature. The Oxford Reference Dictionary defines “nature” as “1. The phenomena of the physical world as a whole . . . 2. A thing’s essential qualities; a person’s or animal’s innate character . . . 4. Vital force, functions, or needs.” We will see how Louis Dollarhide comments on all of these.
Several natural themes run through the story, one of which is the image of a stormy sea. “The treetops where the opposite banks had been, the swamp was an empty sea, awash with sheets of rain, the river lost somewhere in its vastness.” (Pg. 357) Dollarhide also uses personification describing the sea as a person. “Down the length and breadth of the swamp others were fighting to save what little they could, maybe even their lives.” (Pg. 357) The author bonds the nature with the woman. Her house is built to ride with the flow of the flood. The only things around her are nature. Another images that runs through the story are the trees. The planks of the trees sounds like they are crying in the dark. “Planks creaked and she could distinguish the sounds of object being knocked over.” (Pg. 358) The planks sounds like they are scratching on the wall as if it’s going to tear its way in. The nature acts like people around her.
Another image that Dollarhide uses is the house. We quickly see how Dollarhide identifies the house as a living thing. “Now the house seemed to shudder around her like something alive.” (Pg. 357) The house floats free struggles up from the clay, and swings out slowly with the pull of the river. The house protects her from the flood. To her, the house is the only “thing” that will stay with her and protect her.
For the first time since the rain begins, she feels hopeless. But the flood gives her a gift, which is a panther. Why do we call it a “gift”? The panther is totally a threat to the woman. The reason to it is because they meet the same kind of situation where they are in the middle of nowhere and starving. The woman understands that if she gets any closer to the panther she might be in danger but she still decides to help the panther. “She had hardly allowed herself to move for fear any sound might give strength to the cat.” (Pg. 358) But she didn’t starve the panther just because she is scared of the panther. She gives the panther food to eat. At the same time, the panther gives her life. After the panther finishes the food, the panther totally forgets about her.
In conclusion, it makes one ponder whether nature is really so simple and perfect. We discover that human nature is weaker than nature. However, there is one crucial advantage in human nature: it is flexible. When everything she lost everything, she still moves on with her life.