English 207: Appalachian Literature 

 Environmental Issues and Appalachian Literature

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

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Assignment for Tuesday, Nov. 7:

Read chap. 5 in Higgs, Nature and Progress. Also read "Mother Nature Sends a Pink Slip" at http://www.yvwiiusdinvnohii.net/lit/pinkpoem.htm (Other poems by Marilou Awiakta are at http://www2.ferrum.edu/applit/authors/awiakta.htm#poems). Other poems may be distributed in class and assigned for next Tuesday.

Assignment for Thursday, Nov. 9:

Our class will not meet in Britt today. You are required to attend at least one event of the environmental symposium, either this morning or at another time. You must write at least several paragraphs about the event you attend in a discussion forum for this class.  Or you can write a 1-2-page paper for a short paper assignment. Try to make connections with Appalachian literature you are reading if possible. For the symposium schedule, go to http://www2.ferrum.edu/es06.

Assignment for Tuesday, Nov. 14:

Continue discussion of  literature about the environment. In connection with the essay "Death by Eminent Domain" in Higgs, read the picture book When the Whippoorwill Calls (on reserve) by Candice Ransom.

On reserve: Ransom, Candice F. When the Whippoorwill Calls. Illus. Kimberly Bulcken Root. New York: Tambourine, 1995. About a displaced family in the Shenandoah Valley in 1920s.

Also read Cherokee tales and portions of Selu by Marilou Awiakta (book on reserve): In Selu, read "Mother Nature Sends a Pink Slip," pp. 88-89 (this poem is also online at http://www.yvwiiusdinvnohii.net/lit/pinkpoem.htm); the poems, myths and other writings pp. 4-33; "Where Mountain and Atom Meet," p. 72.

Assignment for Thursday, Nov. 16:

Cherokee Literature
Continue discussion of Marilou Awiakta (see Tuesday's assignment) and Cherokee selections in Higgs, vol. 1, chap. 6, 214-29.

Picture book to read in class:

Smucker, Anna Egan. No Star Nights. Illus. Steve Johnson. New York: Knopf/Dragonfly, 1989. Memories of childhood in WV during and after the heyday of steel mills. Nostalgia for childhood pleasures overshadows the reality that the mill furnaces polluted the air, blocked out the stars, and left big slag heaps.

Past assignments and books on reserve to review in relation to environmental issues:

Carson, Jo. Stories I Ain't Told Nobody Yet. New York: Theatre Communications Group, Inc., 1991. Poems in which Appalachian characters discuss their lives and attitudes. Poems numbered 11, 17, 19, 20, 22, and 45 deal most explicitly with environmental issues such as trading home-grown food, development of mountain landscape, building of roads, loss of trees, and changing attitudes toward hunting.  Page on Jo Carson by Amanda McCullough at Virginia Tech.

Ballard, Sandra L., and Patricia L. Hudson, eds. Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia. Lexington: Univ. Press of KY, 2003. Including "When Earth Becomes an 'It'" by Marilou Awiakta, an excerpt from Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, an excerpt from Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer, excerpt from Our Mountain by Ellen Harvey Showell, and many others that deal with nature and environment. Biography and references are given for each author. See section Living in this World: Nature/Environment in Thematic Table of Contents for Listen Here in AppLit.

Poems and River of Earth by James Still

Other poems and stories we have read .........


Different Approaches to Environmental Literature:

Think about which works of literature you have read this semester, especially since Nov. 7, that represent each of these approaches:

- Describing/celebrating the natural world

- Human effects on other species:

e.g., Extinction. Poetry example: "Passenger Pigeons" by Robert Morgan

- Living off the land

Fiction examples: "First Day of Winter," River of Earth

- Effects of Industrialization: on land and natural life, on family and community life

e.g., coal mining, lumbering industry, other industries, dams

Poetry example on strip mining: "The Stripping of Cold Knob" by Baber

Still's poems in Higgs, vol. 1, 134-35 and River of Earth

- Effects of other types of modernization: e.g., creating national parks

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