De Crevecoeur was an American farmer during a time when the flora and fauna in the Americas were greatly despised and seen as naïve forms of life by the Europeans. He once described how the things that surround an individual play an important role in that individual’s development. He believes that ideal Americans are products of generations-old of cultural exchanges. And along that process of assimilation, native religion and portions of cultural identity “evaporated in the great distance it has to travel” (De Crevecoeur 51).
White was a naturalist, ecologist and a scientist. He studied different types of flora and fauna but was most fascinated with birds—he was an ornithologist. He is one of the pioneers of the modern world views about local birds. He did not fail to recognize and discover things based on his own observations. He did not rely in common knowledge and folklores. “Should I omit to describe with some exactness the forest of Wolmer, of which three-fifths perhaps lie in this parish, my account of Selborne would be very imperfect, as it is a district abounding with many curious productions, both animal and vegetable, and has often afforded me much entertainment both as a sportsman and as a naturalist” (White 23).
Wilson was most fascinated with evolution, sociobiology and ants and other insects. He was able to see some similarities between how evolution happens and how poetry or an epic is retold. “The true evolutionary epic retold as poetry, is as intrinsically ennobling as any religious epic” (Wilson, 1998).
Thompson, Hopkins, and Olson
Thompson’s sensibility about the northern light was not actually focused on scientific ideas. His was focused more on creativity. This must be because he lived in a time when there were a lot of transitions. If I were to see the northern light me and if I was living in Thompson’s time, I’m sure I will be fascinated as well. I will not speculate and became curious first but instead I will be more attracted by the beauty of what I am seeing.
“My eye was caught by beams of light and dark very like the crown of horny rays the sun makes behind a cloud” (Hopkins 161). Hopkins was so vivid when he described the northern lights as something that has something to do with clouds. But sure he was fascinated. His statements kind of show how ignorant people seem to be in his time when it comes to unusual world phenomenon.
Olson was an American author, wildlife protector and an environmentalist. His works were much focused on protecting wildlife. He participated in activities that aim to protect forests and lakes. “Sometimes there were shafts of yellow tinged with green, then masses of evanescence which moved from east to west and back again” (Olson 12). He vividly described what he saw. It was clear however, that many people have already seen the northern light and perhaps Olson heard some people’s recounts about their experience seeing such phenomena. It was clear as well that he cannot explain the mechanism behind the northern light.
St John De Crevecoeur, J. Hector. What is an American? Letters from an American Farmer. New York: Dutton. 1877.
White, G. Tha natural history and antiquities of Selbourne. London: Cassell & Company. 1887.
Wilson, E. Consilience. 1998.
Hopkins, G. Gerard Manley Hopkins. U.S.: Huskell House Publishers. 1930.
Olson, S. A sense of Place: Northern Lights. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 2012.