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Wendell Berry's They Knew But Little/A Letter from Chief Seattle

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Wendell Berry tells a story of how people in society are arrogant and selfish. Wendell describes the many consequences of such corruption and vanity. He hopes to persuade the viewer to change their ways and follow positive values. Furthermore, he tries to depict the state of beauty and worth of land and the environment. The author's key goal is to strengthen the need to restore the beauty of the world in order to derive the requisite rewards from it. The text, in fact, uses a historical setting to express the intended meaning. The author was born in Henry County, Kentucky, in a small village. However, he knew not much about his people at the beginning Berry and Chief Seattle employ the use an Agrarian approach in their works to reinforce their caustic and persuasive arguments to refute the predominant idea among the settlers that what was good for human beings was also fit for land.
Discussion
Throughout, there is a sense of comparison between the pathfinders and the road constructors in Wendell's essay. A number of differences are evident. . However, there are some similarities in their beliefs about land, nature and the environment in general. In a similar fashion with Seattle’s expression about the value of land, Berry believes that it is one of the most important components of the economy (Berry 1). In particular, Seattle asserts that land and nature form the backbone of life and that there is a need to control the trading of the land. On the contrary, the road builders underestimate the importance of land. . Unlike the pathfinders who scout for the preservation of the environment, the road constructors contribute in its destruction. As opposed to the roaders, Berry thinks the land can be rehabilitated despite the fact that it has been exposed to many agents of destruction and erosion. In a similar vein, the pathfinders second Berry through their actions.
The main difference between Chief Seattle and Berry regards their view about the relationship between land and man. Seattle indicates that human beings and land are united in the same way blood unites individuals (Clark, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) 1). On the contrary, Berry suggests that the two are different in the sense that they deserve unique treatment for them to thrive. In other words, people cannot care for others in the same way they do for land. Additionally, Seattle appears to advocate more for animals than Berry, as the former laments about the plight of wild horses and buffaloes (Clark and NARA 1). Conversely, the road builders do not care about land, animals, or the future human generations. It appears that they represent the current capitalistic approach employed by developers and businessmen. On the contrary, reverend Young opines that culture and education should be integrated to reap maximum benefits of preserving the environment. Although the American settlers acquired better formal education than the Natives, they were unable to achieve a state of harmony with the land. Hence, there is a need to apply education to protect land (Berry 1).

Nevertheless, Berry is right in his opinion concerning the land. I feel he is right and that there is an urgent need for people to change their attitude concerning it. Although human beings might not have the ability to restore the beauty of the land to its original level, they should attempt to reclaim it to avoid further degradation. Notably, conservation of natural resources such as land plays a pivotal role in supporting life for animals and human beings, thus, maintains an ecological balance. When Wendell Berry notes “they knew but little”, he refers to the fact that the people did not exhibit responsible behavior in their response towards land in the 20th century (Berry 1). According to him, they ought to have known more about the importance of preserving the environment. When he writes about "they", he refers to the road builders and the pathfinders, but most importantly, the settlers. He encountered the roaders when he received a request to help in unfolding a road. The road starts from the current position of Newcastle and ends at the depositing point of river Kentucky.
Conclusion
Wendell Berry’s Native Hill and Chief Seattle’s letter employs the use of an Agrarian approach to present the arguments in favor of land protection. Barry presents opposing viewpoints concerning the pathfinders and road builders. The former are mindful of the land while the latter are not considerate. According to Barry, people should not use similar methods to cater for land as they do for land. On the contrary, Chief Seattle believes that the land should not be sold because it harmonizes people and wild animals. Conversely, Reverend Young asserts that individuals should integrate culture with education to achieve sustainable conservation. To a large extent, Berry is right because he requests his audience to change its attitude and adopt responsible behavior about land.
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Works Cited
Berry, Wendell. The art of the commonplace: The agrarian essays of Wendell Berry.
Counterpoint, 2003. http://www.sabatinomangini.com/uploads/4/5/9/6/4596832/a_native_hill_--_wendell_berry.pdf. Accessed 22 March, 2017.
Clark,. J, Jerry, National Archives and Records Administration. Chief Seattle’s Letter.
http://www.barefootsworld.net/seattle.html. Accessed 22 March, 2017.

August 18, 2021
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