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Since the beginning of mankind, even before civilization, man lived off the land and depended on it for it survival even in the first civilization, nature controlled all aspects of life. Slowly we began to learn how to control nature and use it to our advantage. Today, man’s connection with nature is limited, and as Roheal Louv argues In the Last Child in the Woods, this is a sad truth that continues to progress in severity. Louv argues against the captivation of man and nature using the device of anecdote, hypothetical example and rhetorical devices. Louv uses an accessible anecdote to advance his claim. The reason he uses a friend’s story of being pushed to buy an in car multimedia system, using hyperbolic description such as ‘the salesman’s jaw dropped’ In order to create a dramatic effect. The result of his description of the event is that he leads the reader to experience the same annoyance the customer must have felt in the anecdote. By making the anecdote seem like a common event, he attempts to show that the salesman attitude towards dependence on technology is one that is nearly universal in today’s society. Louv emphasizes the commonon opinion of a constant need for technology and his disapproval of that opinion.
To continue building off the in-car entertainment anecdote, Louv uses juxtaposition to help him show his disdain towards the idea. He proposes that ‘we’ll someday tell our grandchildren/that there was a time when kids looked out the car window/instead of playing on phones or watching backseat television”. The key to the effectiveness of this juxtaposition example is that it is frequently realistic. Even today our grandparents tell us about their childhood without TV or internet, so certainly Louv’s analysis could prove to be true. The shocking realism of this makes the reader realise the immediateness of the issue and the pace at which the issue is progressing effectively causing the separation between man and nature and possibly creating more hypothetical examples in the reader’s mind.
Lasty, Louv uses the devices of abstract and concrete imagery to advance his claim of the separation of man and nature perhaps his most effective device, Louv’s imagery paints a scene that is virtually unable to write off in that it is deeply familiar, evoking and an emotional connection to the issue. His description of the ‘fogged glass/ the telephone poles tracking by/ counting cows and horses’ evoking a nostalgic remembrance of a reader’s own childhood, rendering him or her unable to resist the desire to preserve these memories for future generations. He makes the reader realize that this experience may be lost on the children of future decades if the separation between people and nature is not linked. Louv’s imagery creates a sense of mournful loss that brings the issue home on a personal level to anyone who has ever gazed out a car window as a child.
Louv’s argument relies on anecdotal evidence, rhetorical devices and imagery, but more importantly, it relies on a sense of personal attachment to the issue at hand. He subtly proves that the disparity between humanity and nature is an issue that affects all of us in order to preserve the good days of our youth, we must close the gap. Louv effectively proves that the separation is unnatural and needs fixing. Luckily, the fixing is not impossible, it begins with our own decisions.
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