Blog Posts on Linda Hogan’s “Dwellings” and bell hooks’ “Touching the Earth”

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26 thoughts on “Blog Posts on Linda Hogan’s “Dwellings” and bell hooks’ “Touching the Earth”

  1. In the short passage above Touching the Earth it says, “I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful, and that which is love. Therefore, since I have known all of these things. I have found them to be reason enough and- I wish to live.” I know that it was not a direct quote from Touching the Earth, but that passage really spoke to me because life is complicated but if you can find the good things in it, it is so worth living. Life itself is beautiful and everything that comes along with it the good and the bad. In Dwellings, something that stuck out to me was the passage, “I’ve noticed often how when a house is abandoned, it begins to sage. Without a tenant, it has no need to go on. If it were a person, we’d say it is depressed or lonely.” I guess I had never really thought of comparing a house to a person. As person needs other people to be happy, just as house needs people in it to “be happy” or thriving.

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    • 5 points. Did you sense any connections between what Hogan says about houses with no one living in them and what Sanders said in “House and Home”? Some interesting parallels/intersections there.

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  2. While reading Linda Hogan’s “Dwellings,” I thought her writing to be calming to her reader. All the different stories about how a man moved into a cave, the cathedral birdhouse, the ant-bitten mice, and the bird nest were simple. However the simplicity of all the short recollections created a bigger picture on what Hogan thinks a dwelling is and what it should be. She writes that back then, “people paid more attention to the strong-headed will of earth” and that due to this, “the house would hold together more harmoniously.” This almost makes it seem that if people were more in touch with the earth, their homes would feel more peaceful or tranquil. Hogan also gives the impression that since the earth helps us that we, in return, should also help it. I think she came to the realization of this when she came upon the birds nest on a hike. The blue thread interwoven with the other items was from one of her skirts, while the gnarl of hair belonged to her daughter. Even though it was indirect, Hogan helped create a home for someone else similarly to how she believed the earth had helped to create a home for her.

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  3. Linda Hogan’s article, “Dwellings” to me was about nature being our dwelling or home. In her article she referenced many of Seamon’s themes of home. Hogan talked about how the earth was warm and inviting meeting Seamon’s theme of warmth. She said how earth is “intelligent architecture of memory” this seemed to fit Seamon’s idea of rootedness, how a persons becomes so familiar with the earth that it is something quite memorable. She also said how earth was “learned by whatever memory lives in the blood,” this fits with Sander’s idea of making a house into a home. To make something a home Sanders says there must be memories made within the walls, Hogan is saying that we have memories in nature which makes us feel a connection to nature like it is home. Finally, Hogan states that, “I felt right in the world. I belonged there.” This quote meets Seamon’s idea of at-easeness. Home is a place where you feel welcomed, comfortable, and feel a sense that you belong. Linda Hogan is explaining how nature is our home. Another thing Hogan repeats several time through the article is the idea of renewal, and how nature renews itself. It reminded me of the cycle we made when talking about the ecosystem (life->death->renewal->life, etc.) She states how “death and life feed each other,” and how nature has this natural process of renewing it self.

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    • Good connections with a lot of the other pieces we’ve read!

      Regarding points, it seems you’ve already made two blog postings this week–did you intend for this to be a third (which would get no points)? That’s OK, just making sure.

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  4. When I first read, Bell Hooks, “Touching the Earth,” these few sentences from the beginning of the passage stood out to me. “When we love the earth, we are able to love ourselves more fully. I believe this… Before I understood anything about pain and exploitation of the southern system of sharecropping, I understood that grown black folks loved the land.” From my point of view, I think Hooks meant that in order to learn how to love ourselves we have to be able to love the earth. Part of loving earth, we learn how to appreciate and cherish what we have. Without earth, we are basically nothing. The earth provides everything of us, such as water, food, air, etc. If we don’t learn to appreciate it or love it, then we are bound to destroy it and therefore we are destroying ourselves. In addition to that, I think she is trying to say that if we ever feel unappreciated, we should think twice about that because we do the same towards the earth. We don’t appreciate it as much as we should, and if we did, we would live at a more at peace and “fully.” Similar to Linda Hogan’s, “Dwellings,” I think both, Hooks and Hogan, have a some similarities on how to find one’s way to love and care for nature, and how to engage with it more. Although, Hogan talks about experiences and Hooks talks more about learning history and our ancestors.

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    • 5 points. We’ll be reading hooks’ “Kentucky Is My Fate,” and I think you’ll see how she moves into specific personal experiences there, too, following up on what she says in “Touching the Earth.”

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  5. In the reading “Touching the Earth” one idea stood out to me quit predominately to me “How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land?” this quote was attributed to Chief Seattle in 1854. He was saying this to the white man because he did not understand how they could grow crops and then sell them for money. If they are using these resources to produce crops why is it their right to be able to profit off of them. This idea made me stop and think about all of the farmers in the United States and that without farming they would be making a living working somewhere else. It this scenario who would provide food for everyone. In this case would everyone crop their own foods on top of their jobs to make sure there would be food on the table? Or would women still have to stay at home and be in charge of preparation of food for the family? I think that as our world had evolved and with society changing we had no choice but to have farmers grow our crops and produce them to put on shelves at grocery stores. This idea though will make you stop and think about if we did not have these farmers though snd thats why I enjoyed it so much.

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    • 5 points. I’m not sure that the Chief Seattle quotation is referring specifically to farmers, though you raise an interesting point about the relationship between private property and our food supply. (By the way, I’ll probably mention in class, too–the famous “Chief Seattle speech” does not come from the real Chief Seattle–it was written in 1971 for an environmentalism documentary.)

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  6. “A fish out of water” is a common expression used when talking about feeling out of place. It happens to everybody in some sort of way. It could be like Miss Pauline from The Bluest Eye, who left her southern earth to chase a dream with Cholly but instead lived a sad life within the white community. What Hook is trying to get at in her excerpt “Touching the Earth” is that you can’t forget about, or run away from, your true heritage. Hook explains how the black have always been close to the land like the Indians and how the older folk loved the land and this is true but this is the case for everybody as well! White, Black, Yellow, or red people were all, at one time, close to the earth. One group may have grown apart from nature before the other but everybody has a history with nature. We need to realize this and take more pride in nature, even with our busy schedules. “Taking the time to commune with nature, to appreciate the other creatures who share the planet with humans”, Hook explains. We can take time out of our day to grow closer to nature which will help us grow closer to our neighbors and even ourselves. Once we realize we are not the center of the universe we can live a fuller, happier life.

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  7. Linda Hogan describes the spiritual history of the living world in her piece entitled ‘Dwellings.’ In this she associates a home as a nest that helps center and shape our lives. I personally like this metaphor because often times we associate our home with where we wish to go to to relax or feel at peace with ourselves. Nests our designed to protect, form, and comfort those that occupy it. The same is with a dwelling, it was created for the purpose to shelter us and give us somewhere safe to reside in. My favorite part of this piece is when she compares a house to be treated in the same way we treat our relationships with other human beings. If we take care of our home and make it our own then it will prosper and not break down. We are to do the same with relationships with other people, we are to respect and create a stronger bond through time and effort. She then goes on to describe the interactions between us and nature, or even the creatures among our feet. These can consist of ants or mice, either way we see the connections whether in death or life that they coincide with each other. We are to respect the nature around us. ‘The whole world was a nest on its humble tilt, in the maze of the universe, holding us together.’ Her perspective shows that a home is an important place for us all and in the same way we live on the earth. It is our home and we need to show that same importance in how we care for it because we all coexist together in a nest of perfect harmony.
    In the next piece, ‘Touching the Earth,’ we see how the black community was a tight group of people who suffered through slavery and many burdens of prejudice white people. They would find spiritual connections through out all of this and truly felt a sense of union and harmony with nature expressed here almost echoed in there testimonies. They believed in respecting the life forces of the earth, the nature around them. In this it is discussed that being with nature and respecting it brings a sense of healing that is often needed. In another form it is discussed that their relationships could be restored in their relationship with the natural world. This piece brings up a lot of good points and I would have to agree with nature giving you a sense of piece and wonderment with its beauty. Maybe it even gives you peace and healing. Overall though I would have to agree with your individual connection with the earth to be a healthy needed release from the loud, business of our lives today.

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    • 5 points. The nest is a powerful image for home, as you’ve nicely explained here. Sanders uses it, too. Keep hooks’ “Touching the Earth” in mind when we get to her other essay “Kentucky Is My Fate.”

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  8. Author Linda Hogan (not Hulk Hogan’s ex wife as so promptly mentioned) describes home, in ‘Dwellings” as a nest. Just as birds go to their nest to be at peace, humans go to our nest to be at peace. Similar to the thoughts of Bell Hooks, home is a nest in which we have control. It is mentioned how we treat our dwellings like we treat our social relationships. We maintain and care for our relationships and when the opportunity presents itself we move on. Linda Hogan describes how our true dwelling is this earth and how we treat earth impacts how we treat other people.

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  9. I really enjoyed Dwellings by Linda Hogan not only does she do a great job connecting this piece to the importance and qualities of home but also tells a series of stories all in one. At first the choppiness of her story threw me off guard expecting a traditional story where one section leads to the next and connects or is an extension of the previous. Although if you do really pay attention you do see these connections it is also very different and I really liked looking on these different occasions she goes through. She shows us the qualities of home and communities that we are learning in class through words like safe, warm, belongs, rest, and the phrase “I felt safe there” all describing the cave in the first scene. Home she describes in so many words is a sanctuary apart from the outside world perfect. but yet not a place that closes you off from the world like the man when he seeks a wife. This scene specifically interested me because with companionship the man’s home (the cave) is destroyed. I believe she shows us that harmony with nature is key to having a home, and the importance of both of these things.

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  10. My favorite reading this week was the article called “Dwellings,” by Linda Hogan because she makes very thoughtful points about taking care of a home. It was interesting because she also relates it to human relationships. She mentioned that she felt safe in a town she lived in called Manitou and how she felt safe there due to “the constant reminder of other life, of what lives beneath us” which is the underground movement of water and heat. Hogan also talks about how when a house is abandoned, it begins to sag. Then she compares it to a person being depressed or lonely if he/she is abandoned. I loved this statement by her because I find it so, very true. Houses need life in them created by people in order for the houses to stay alive. Basically, a house needs humans to be ‘taking care’ of it in order for it to stay in an active shape because if this doesn’t happen, like Hogan said, “the roof settles in, the paint cracks, the walls and floorboards wrap and slope downward in their own natural ways, telling us that life must stay in everything as the world whirls and tilts and moves through boundless space.” Overall, I really enjoyed reading this article because Hogan does a really good job in describing what a human should feel about his/her house. A person should have memories built in their house; they should feel welcomed and happy to be in their house.

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  11. In Touching the Earth Bell Hooks conveys the idea that at the end of slavery African Americans became disconnected to their previous way of living and connecting with nature the ways we do today. I especially loved the paragraph at the end by Berry This notion of humans connecting with nature shows the circular connection between the two and how one helps the other. I believe as humans just like the African Americans after slavery became disconnected from nature and it brought them down as people, it is also evident to see that we are very affected today by the same disconnect. When we take care of nature we can start to take care of ourselves. Hooks then takes it as far as saying loving the earth is necessary for us to love ourselves that we share a bond so strong with nature that Its like an extension of ourselves. Nature is our home, this notion also really relates with what Sanders message is in Staying Put reconnecting with nature is important for us all. both of these authors love and respect for mature is so evident and their realization for the effect nature has on the self can be connected to the effect it also has to the notion of our homes helping us further understand and appreciate the connection between these two concepts.

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    • 2 points (second posting of the week). Good connections between Sanders and hooks. We’ll read more essays by Wendell Berry in a couple of weeks–he’s one of the most important writers on the connections between humans and the earth.

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  12. I really enjoyed reading “Touching the Earth”. At first, by reading the title of the essay, I could figure out that this story would be about how people used to be familar with the nature. Especially, I liked the statement where it says, “From the moment of their first meeting, Native American and African people shared with one another a respect for the life-giving forces of nature, or the earth.” I enjoyed reading this part because I was able to know that there had been a great positive relationship between those two ethnic groups from other continents. Because of their close relationship, they were able to settle down easily and get used to the new environment a lot easier. In this essay, African American people migrated to the North where restrictions and racism were not as bad as the southern part of the United States. However, they were not able to forget about the souther life where the new life had begun after their migration from their original continent. Just like African Americans who were returning to the South, it is natural for people to seek where they are from, or even where they started their new lives, because of their great and positive memory. Being in somewhere that I am not very familiar with always makes me to think of a place where I am from or makes me think of good memories from that place. This essay triggered a bond of sympathy because I also understand the toughness of the situation. Again, I really enjoyed reading “Touching the Earth.”

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    • 5 points. It’s interesting how, post-Civil War, returning to visit the South from the North could be something like a homecoming to many African Americans, yet at one time, of course, the American South was the place they were forcefully displaced to from Africa!

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  13. While reading “Touching the Earth,” I was able to really see where the author was coming from within the African-American community. Learning about the Great Migration after the Civil War I never realized the detrimental impact it had on the black population even today. We talked in class as well as Bell Hooks talking about it in the essay that growing up farming, black populations were much closer to the land both literally and figuratively. They relied on the land to both feed them and their families and due to that their culture and society relied heavily on it. So when I reexamined what I had learned about the Great Migration it gave me a whole new perspective as to what happened to the black community. Not only had they been completely freed but with the mass movement they were in a strange and unfamiliar environment. It seems like these people had been uprooted from what they considered their home several times throughout their history. Not only had they been taken from Africa but their lives in the South were drastically different from those in the Northern industrial cities. Although the northern cities continued to have segregated neighborhoods, the African-American population wasn’t nearly as connected as they previously had been. Bell Hooks really brought to my attention in her writing the devastating impact of that move and that made me think of the moves for the Native American populations and the impact it had on them.

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