In following passage from The Botany of Desire, what writing choice and techniques did the Pollan use? "So the flowers begot us, their greatest admirers. In time human desire entered into the...

In following passage from The Botany of Desire, what writing choice and techniques did the Pollan use?

"So the flowers begot us, their greatest admirers. In time human desire entered into the natural history of the flower, and the flower did what it has always done: made itself still more beautiful in the eyes of this animal, folding into its very being even the most improbable of our notions and tropes... "

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Pollan in his book, as the title suggests, set out to write not just about the history of various plants and flowers, but also the relationship that these plants and flowers have had with humans over the years. He describes in his introduction to the book that he writes a book that is "as much about the human desires that connect us to those plants as it is about the plants themselves." This is something that is exemplified in the quote that is highlighted in this question. What is interesting is the way that Pollan's choice of language imagines a reversal of the normal order of nature. In Pollan's imagining, rather than flowers being bred and begot by humans, flowers "begot us, their greatest admirers." Note too how this quote personifies flowers:

In time, human desire entered into the natural history of the flower, and the flower did what it has always done: made itself more beautiful in the eyes of this animal, folding into its very being even the most improbable of our notions and tropes...

This personification bestows intelligence onto flowers whilst robbing it from humans, who Pollan refers to as being nothing more than "this animal" in this quote. Pollan's careful choice of language therefore serves to elevate the skill and ingenuity of plants and flowers in the way that they have become entangled and inextricably intertwined with human desire. Pollan thus tries to encourage the reader to see the flower in a very different light: the flower, he argues, is not just an object of beauty, but there is an almost manipulative intelligence behind its quest to ingratiate itself with human desire. 

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