Homework Help

Analyze Faulkner’s depiction and use of nature in “The Bear.”

user profile pic

lifesucks | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 9, 2010 at 2:20 PM via web

dislike 1 like

Analyze Faulkner’s depiction and use of nature in “The Bear.”

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted June 9, 2010 at 3:11 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

In Faulkner's innovative third-person narrative story "The Bear" nature is symbolized by the presence of Old Ben the bear while a contrast to the primeval forest of Old Ben's life is established by the presence of the Commissary. On the one hand, in association to Old Ben and to Isaac's refusal to accept his inherited "birthright," Faulkner depicts nature as regal, triumphant, unconquerable. First, Old Ben has defied capture and has devastated human habitations. Second, Isaac protests that nature cannot be owned.

Faulkner uses nature to pose the question of whether humankind ought to attempt to try to control nature. He demonstrates that nature can be controlled when Boon Hogganbeck kills Old Ben but he then poses the corollary question of what the cost of conquering nature is. He suggests this question through the sequel to Old Ben's death, the squirrels gone on a rampage. Faulkner seems to suggest that even though nature can be controlled to make way for human innovation and progress, the smallest and most insignificant parts of nature may still retaliate and turn humankind's conquest plans to naught. [Isn't this in fact what has occurred and which the present day ecological discussion is all about?]

user profile pic

K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:20 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

In Faulkner's innovative third-person narrative story "The Bear" nature is symbolized by the presence of Old Ben the bear while a contrast to the primeval forest of Old Ben's life is established by the presence of the Commissary. On the one hand, in association to Old Ben and to Isaac's refusal to accept his inherited "birthright," Faulkner depicts nature as regal, triumphant, unconquerable. First, Old Ben has defied capture and has devastated human habitations. Second, Isaac protests that nature cannot be owned.

Faulkner uses nature to pose the question of whether humankind ought to attempt to try to control nature. He demonstrates that nature can be controlled when Boon Hogganbeck kills Old Ben but he then poses the corollary question of what the cost of conquering nature is. He suggests this question through the sequel to Old Ben's death, the squirrels gone on a rampage. Faulkner seems to suggest that even though nature can be controlled to make way for human innovation and progress, the smallest and most insignificant parts of nature may still retaliate and turn humankind's conquest plans to naught. [Isn't this in fact what has occurred and which the present day ecological discussion is all about?]

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes