Forgive And Forget Essay, Research Paper
Forgive and Forget
Jack Turner begins his piece, The Abstract Wild: A Rant, with a powerful anecdote about a Jewish client who makes the
decision to begin his journey ill-prepared rather than wear old Germany army pants. The speaker of this piece is a climbing
guide and although he is annoyed by his client coming without the necessary equipment, he greatly respects his integrity. The remainder of the piece speaks of the many sins against humanity and nature, and our tendency to forgive and forget them all without the slightest signs of anger or resentment. The author wrote this piece with the intention of stirring up emotion in the reader over our ecological and cultural crisis. He wishes to, first, raise the awareness of people toward the ongoing destruction of nature and destruction of themselves. Next, he tries to enrage the reader over their lack of care and effort to sustain that which is being taken from them. Finally, he wants this piece to provoke the reader to act, show their anger, and prove they will no longer accept the many wrongful deeds bestowed upon them. Turner accomplishes his goal through his treatment of the audience, his persuasive language, and personal tone.
This piece was written for those Americans who are concerned with the destruction of our environment or the loss of values and culture, but have yet to gain the volition or time in their already busy and stressful lives to act on their natural urges of anger and aggression. He utilizes the characteristics of his intended audience to convey his message more effectively. The author chooses his speaker and main character to be an intelligent outdoors man, a mountain climbing guide because he knows this opinions and comments will be regarded with a greater amount of respect and authority then perhaps a big city
business man. It seems this piece was also intended to reach young people. He states, “These…have a common source, a
source that deserves our scrutiny and anger but a source we do not quite comprehend.” His purpose was to inform, anger,
and provoke his reader, and a college or high school student would be most likely to respond to this type of persuasion.
Furthermore, he chooses a dynamic and appealing character who would be likely to be respected by a young adult to speak
his message. In addition, the author identifies with his audience by including both them and himself together in his argument.
He indicts himself as well as others saying, “This is denial, and behind denial is a rage…but it is suppressed and we remain
silent in the face of evil.” He does not put himself above others and cannot be resented for his accusations because he also
accuses himself of these wrongdoings.
The author cleverly manipulates language to support his argument and achieve his purpose. Perhaps the most effective usage is his allusion to and comparison of the Jewish holocaust to the destruction of nature and society. The speaker states that he admires his Jewish client for his code, “if justice is impossible, honor the loss with acts of remembrance, acts that count for little in the world, but which, if sustained, might count for oneself.” For his Jewish client, this code honors our once beautiful natural environment. The author also uses simile in description of his client’s convictions. He states, “his decision was visceral, as private as the touch of fabric and skin,” which emphasizes the strength needed to act, even in the most simple
ways, on what you believe. In addition, the author makes several lists of examples in order to intensify his point being made.
He brings to the reader’s attention their tendency “to accept, to forget, to get on with life, to be realistic, to get over our losses,” and then he precedes to state the many crimes against humanity that we fail to “even think about…most of the time.”
The author uses a great deal of denotative language, which is useful in persuading the reader, but at the same time, he uses
connotative language to emotionally charge the reader. He describes the image of “eleven severed mountain lion heads
stacked in a pyramid at the base of a cottonwood,” which in its vulgarity, angers and shocks the reader. Then, the author
goes on to state that “these are only eleven of the 250,000 wild predators killed by the US government in 1987.” This
statement of a fact adds to and supports his previous statement , which together can leave no room for tolerance or
question. Finally, the author uses metaphor to further his objective in angering the reader. He gives the reader numerous
reasons to become angry, and he compares this anger to “one of constriction…a constriction in the heart that cuts off the vital
life force of blood. The author’s many powerful uses of language greatly enhance the effectiveness of his purpose.
The author’s handling of tone is very effective in accomplishing his purpose. His informal speech gives the reader the ability to understand what he says on a level they can both understand and relate to . He is honest and personal, saying “I am not ignorant of the difference in magnitude, but I refuse to recognize a difference in causation.” This tone creates respect and
trust in the speaker, which opens the reader’s mind to persuasive ideas. In addition, the anger which is evident in the author’s
writing is effective in arousing emotion in the reader and provoking them to act. He exclaims, “Refuse to forgive, cherish our
anger, remind others.” If this were said without the force of his tone behind it, it would be much less useful to his purpose.
Anger and bitterness are also present in his tone when he speaks of the damming of Glen Canyon. He states that he is “angry
with friends who kayak and skin-dive” in what is now Lake Powell because he was once able to hike through the beautiful
canyons. His personal experience of destruction is meant to remind others of their experiences such as this, and hopefully
influence them to become as angry as he has.
Jack Turner’s excellent usage of audience, language, and tone operate together to achieve his purpose. Turner succeeds in informing the reader and arousing emotion in them, but it is questionable as to whether any permanent or short term changes will occur in the character of the reader.