1. As we have discussed, several chapters of E. O. Wilson’s Biophilia focus on the relationship between the humanities and the sciences. What is E. O. Wilson’s position on the relationship between these two different ways of knowing about the world around us? Why does Wilson see this topic as being so important?
2. Wilson explores and redefines the notion of “wilderness” in Biophilia. What connotations and what range of meanings does “wilderness” have in the text? Does Wilson’s use of the term ultimately present a hopeful view of the world? Please explain your position.
3. Compare the depiction of the relationship between humans and the natural world in two of the short stories from Anthony Doerr’s The Shell Collector that we have read and discussed in class. Are the two stories ultimately anthropocentric or ecocentric in their perspective?
4. We have briefly discussed Anthony Doerr’s use of defamiliarization as means of presenting the reader with a
vivid and expanded sense of the world. Please compare Doerr’s use of defamiliarization in at least two of the
short stories that we have read and discussed in class. What are his preferred approaches to this technique and
what effect do they have on his stories?
• Begin your essay with a title that clearly indicates the essay’s subject matter, including the title of the book you will be discussing (e.g. Wilderness and Hunting in Leopold’s Sand County Almanac).
• This essay, like any academic essay, should contain a strong one-sentence thesis statement at or very near the end of the opening paragraph. Each supporting paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that makes a claim about the text and then proceed to give evidence for that claim and to discuss that evidence.
• The thesis statement and topic sentences must make claims about the text, not generalizations about the world at large (e.g. “In Leopold’s essay, the wilderness is a stage on which men use traditional skills to prove themselves,” NOT just “The wilderness is a stage on which men use traditional skills to prove themselves”).
• Your evidence should include a good balance of direct quotation from the text and paraphrase. Remember to integrate direct quotations in the way you were taught in the course (and in MLA style) and to include a works cited list.
• Each body paragraph must contain multiple pieces of evidence. For the essay to achieve a passing grade, at
least one of those pieces of evidence in each body paragraph must be quoted directly. Please do not rely on
previously chosen online lists of quotations from famous works. Students who do this miss the most important
pieces of evidence, fail to make original arguments, and generally fail to demonstrate deep enough knowledge
of the text that they are discussing.
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