Literature and the Theme of Nature

As part of my love for reading, I’ve always wondered and found fascination around shared themes throughout the evolution of literature. I asked myself; What does a work dating as far back to the earliest forms of recorded literature in Mesopotamian times have in common with literature in 2016 and throughout the years? What makes a piece from the 1800’s popular or even relevant in today’s world? The answer is simple, in it’s most basic and complex forms it dictates human nature, it commands social order, and remains an eternal duty. It is survival. Survival depends on two prospects, man vs. self, man vs. man and man vs. nature, building a strong foundation for many literary pieces throughout time. Survival and natural events are relatable, and leave the writer with a great deal of room to express their creativity in which ever manner they choose; attracting readers of all interests, ages and times.

I believe with its limitless mystery, merciless power, irrefutable beauty, and sometimes even sinister elements, nature makes for the perfect plot and conflict. Themes of nature can mean whatever the writer wants it to mean; or even what the writer wants the reader to interpret it as. It also allows the author to introduce additional themes of struggle. We see a perfect example of this in London’s “To Build a Fire; he beings his story with his character cold, dark and alone in Alaska’s Yukon trail. From the beginning you know London is telling a story of the battle this “newcomer” will have against the raw, unstoppable forces of nature. London also introduces another theme of fate. This story is not as straightforward as it seems. The reader must questions whether the characters fate has been predetermined or if he is to blame for his dreadful ending. I’m certain that we can all agree the world and nature is hard, but the literary devices used in this specific story convey a larger directive. The lessons and character omi…

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