Mary Austin's Land of Little Term Paper

  • Length: 3 pages
  • Subject: Literature
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #16349532
  • Related Topics: Informative

Excerpt from Term Paper :

When the author explains why deaths are common in this place, she writes about illusions that desert creates and the effect it has on a thirsty traveler. Austin observes: "There are many areas in the desert where drinkable water lies within a few feet of the surface, indicated by the mesquite and the bunch grass (Sporobolus airoides). It is this nearness of unimagined help that makes the tragedy of desert deaths....To underestimate one's thirst, to pass a given landmark to the right or left, to find a dry spring where one looked for running water -- there is no help for any of these things." This is a vital piece of information and might help an aspiring traveler in his desire to come back from the place unscathed.

Some of the information provided is not meant to help an aspiring traveler but are merely mentioned for entertainment purpose. This is where you see a writer's instead of a traveler's attempt to capture the attention of his audience. The author is often unbiased when presenting this kind of information. It exists in lines such as this one: "There is neither poverty of soil nor species to account for the sparseness of desert growth, but simply that each plant requires more room. So much earth must be preempted to extract so much moisture. The real struggle for existence, the real brain of the plant, is underground; above there is room for a rounded perfect growth. In Death Valley, reputed the very core of desolation, are nearly two hundred identified species." Highly interesting observation this is- but has more entertainment value than informational. Whether the growth is sparse or not is an additional bit of information, which is interesting if you just want to know more about the dynamics of a desert, but otherwise doesn't serve any real purpose.

And then again some are pure facts. There is no force involved, no subtle manipulation at work. They are simple facts and even though some adjectives might be contentious in nature, we cannot deny that these are pieces of pure factual information. "Above the lower tree-line, which is also the snowline, mapped out abruptly by the sun, one finds spreading growth of pinon, juniper, branched nearly to the ground, lilac and sage, and scattering white pines."

The entire chapter is composed of a variety of literary tools. The author uses manipulation, irony, contention and facts to bring forth a piece of fiction cum fact. It is fictional where author exaggerates the beauty or lack of it thereof of the desert and its factual when the landscape and its attributes are…

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