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In The Omnivore's Dilemma, what are some important quotes from Section 3, Personal?

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bisraelb | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 7, 2012 at 3:12 AM via web

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In The Omnivore's Dilemma, what are some important quotes from Section 3, Personal?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 8, 2012 at 2:10 AM (Answer #1)

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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals is Michael Pollan's 2006 book about the food humans eat, how it came to be considered culturally acceptable, and what actually goes into growing organic food or preparing a personally-gathered meal.

In the third section of the book, "Personal: The Forager," Pollan sets out to eat a meal that he has personally gathered or hunted. Since he has never hunted before, Pollan enlists the help of a local, Angelo. Pollan is ambivalent towards hunting, but once Angelo takes him into the woods, he adapts:

I quickly learned to filter out the static of birdsong, of which there was plenty at that early hour, and to listen for the frequency of specific sounds--the crack of branches or the snuffling of animals.

The necessity of catching food does a great deal to mitigate personal opinions; Pollan experiences necessity rather than desire, and so his senses become sharper.

The state felt very much like meditation... I must have lost track of time because the twenty minutes flashed by. Ordinarily my body would have rebelled at being asked to hold a crouch that long, but I felt no need to change position or even to shift my weight.

Although the hunt becomes second-nature, at least while he is in the forest, Pollan does not have the instinct yet; that only comes with long experience:

...the adrenaline was surging now and I was shaking so violently that my finger accidentally pressed the trigger before I could lower my gun... my emotions were as surging and confused as the knot of panicked pigs that had been on this spot just a moment before... the deed was done, thank God, and didn't need to be done again...
(All Quotes: Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Google Books)

Pollan, being a product of today's society, has no need to continue hunting, because his food comes from a store; his reaction to finishing his task is relief because he can now say, "I shot and ate a pig." He has no real empathy for people who hunt for food, not for sport or research; still, his reaction is typical of a first-time hunter, and as his earlier adaption shows, he would likely be able to hunt as a necessity if he had to.

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