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The Nature-as-Woman Metaphor in American History

" It is interesting that both soldier (though a most literate one) and scholar perceive nature as feminine in such parallel ways.

This metaphor remains alive today, although without quite as much sexist baggage dragging along behind it. When thinking of America's relatively unpopulated areas, national parks, and areas of wilderness, most people will come up with the term, "Mother Nature," as a personification of the land independent of human interference. It would be exaggerating to say that "Mother Nature" is anything like a goddess or saint or heroine, but clearly the concept is of a natural power (perhaps something like Pele, the goddess/personification of the volcano in Hawaii) with whom or with which humans may interfere only at their own risk.

It would seem logical that the recent concept of the planet Earth itself as being an entity/goddess called, following Greek tradition, "Gaea" is another aspect of this metaphor. The concept seems known, sometimes even believed in, by people who are concerned with ecology, preservation of the wilderness, animal rights, and so on. (One may presume that James Lovelock, the geologist who devised the concept some 30 or more years ago, would not be inclined to carry his concept to this extreme.)

Finally, to consider the most obvious recent manifestation of the metaphor, one need only ask what symbol (aside from the flag) most obviously represents America to people around the world. The answer is, of course, "Lady Liberty," as she came to be called during the bicentennial celebration in New York City. Where did Bartholdi get the concept of representing America, or at least America's most cherished value, as a woman? The idea was certainly still in the air when he was working; it was then the era of the Wild West and the Frontier.

In considering how women immigrants to America used metaphors about the land, Kolodny finds that they do not avoid the feminine metaphor as such, but the...

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The Nature-as-Woman Metaphor in American History. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 13:29, December 22, 2014, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1304042513.html
 
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