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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 454

Here are some quotes from Dust Bowl by Donald Worster:

  • "But remote and unappealing as they may be, the plains are still important to us all. They remain, after much abuse, one of our greatest agricultural treasures—a crucial source of food, not only for ourselves but for an undernourished world. They are also a land with which we have not fully learned to be at peace, where our institutions, even after 100 years, do not fit in and belong" (4). The author discusses the ways in which human abuse of the plains is a modern-day reminder of how sensitive our environment is. The Dust Bowl is a lesson in how we should not treat the land, but many have forgotten this lesson.
  • "My argument . . . is that there was in fact a close link between the Dust Bowl and the Depression . . . Both events revealed fundamental weaknesses in the traditional culture of America, the one in ecological terms, the other in economic" (5). The author's argument is that, while some historians do not see a link between the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, there is a link. Both disasters show the results of abuse; the Great Depression was the result of economic abuses, while the Dust Bowl was the result of environmental abuses.
  • "For the Plains Indian, use was definitely implied in man's relation with the ecological community, but reverence, it was always insisted, is where use must begin. There was nothing unusual in this ethical-religious stance. It seems to be the way of thinking everywhere among people who have lived for a very long time in intimacy with the land, who have never thought about devising elaborate technologies, who have scaled their wants to a limited world, and, above all, who have a lively sense of their dependence upon nature" (77). Unlike whites, Native Americans lived for a long time in a delicate balance with the land and revered its continuance. They were aware of the land's limits and sought to preserve it.
  • "No single idea has become more deeply embedded in the American mind than this notion of a democratic society that must always have more of something to be secure and at peace with itself" (136). The author writes that the Dust Bowl really originated with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Jefferson believed that America had to expand to provide opportunities for farmers, and this expansion would go on to ruin the Plains.
  • "The Plains once offered a great soothing peace to the harried mind. Now they are filled, obliterated, shattered by the noise and clatter of industrial America, drowning the sound of the meadowlark and the rush of the wind" (235). In the Epilogue, the author traces the continued destruction of the Plains in the modern era.