Blog Posts on Scott Russell Sanders’ “Settling Down”

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24 thoughts on “Blog Posts on Scott Russell Sanders’ “Settling Down”

  1. In the beginning of Sanders Settling Down chapter it says “When the pain of leaving behind what we know outweighs the pain of embracing it, or when the power we face is overwhelming and neither fight nor flight will save us, there may be salvation in sitting still. And if salvation is impossible, then at least before perishing we may gain a clearer vision of where we are.” This is referring to people he used to know the Millers, whose house got damage from tornadoes a number of times yet they kept rebuilding on the same land. I think this is just like having an attachment to where you are from. If you really didn’t have an attachment to where you were from a sensible person would “flight” and leave that area, but sometimes leaving behind all those good memories would be too hard. Just like in the quote when it says when the pain of leaving behind what we know outweighs the pain of embracing it, I think it’s trying to say is that there is more good times than bad and thats why they didn’t want to leave.

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  2. I think the main theme of Sander’s essay “settling down” deals with rootedness. One of Seamon’s themes of home. Sander’s states “the question isn’t whether the land belongs to us, but whether we belong to the land.” By belonging to the land a person must show loyalty, devotion, and care for the land. By becoming rooted to a place a person can have a better appreciation for their home. He also says, “you can not be a grounded person, if you are not grounded to a place.” This to me means that you can never be certain of yourself if you have not established a base, which is this case would be your home. Sander’s explains that rootedness is crucial in order to become a whole person. He also explains that it is difficult to stay put and become rooted because of the many pressures of society like movies, magazines, and even storms/tornadoes. However, people need to realize the importance of their land and how staying put is a way we can heal our earth. Sander’s tells a story about the Miller’s and there devotion t their home. The Miller family had been hit by three tornadoes but still refused to move. Sander’s finds their actions very admirable and believes they did not move due to there investment of their land, they had farmed, planted orchards, dug ponds, built sheds, and more. Their lives were rooted to this place their home and their refusal to move is something Sander’s believes each person should aspire to do. By staying put we can become more aware of the world around us, have a place to belong, and have a clearer vision of the earth and who we are.

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    • 5 points. You’ve touched on a lot of the key ideas for Sander’s concepts of staying put and settling down–care, belonging, rootedness. Indeed, these are all necessary, especially in today’s world, but many people (most?) don’t live by those principles.

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  3. Out of all readings/essay’s we have read, I enjoyed Sanders, “Settling Down,” the most so far. Sanders story about the Millers made me think about my home life. On page 101, when he states, “I believe that the Miller’s response to tornado and my own keen expectancy on the porch arose from a third instinct, that of staying put. When the pain of leaving behind what we know outweighs the pain of embracing it, or when the power we face is overwhelming and neither fight nor flight will save us, there may be salvation in sitting still…” I recalled the time my dad talked about moving away deep in the North side, although I was for that. I had mentioned to my dad that I couldn’t bare the thought of moving into a new house when I was already going to school out of state. It’s already hard adjusting to a new community, it would be too much for me to go back to Chicago and adjust to another one – therefore, when I go back to Chicago, I want to go back to my home, the place I’ve been living in my whole entire life. A place, where I have created many memories and build “roots” in. Similar to the Millers, my home is not just a house, it’s a place where I have invested my life, “intimately known, worked on,” and “cherished.” It would be to painful to leave and live somewhere else. It kind of sounds like when you are trying to let go of someone in your life, but, you can’t because you have invested so much time in that relationship and you can’t bare the thought of starting all over with someone, yet you have to because of certain circumstances.

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    • 5 points. I believe I said at the beginning of the semester that college students are often in the most complex time of life regarding relationships with home since you are dealing with adjusting to a new place at college while you still are closely attached to your homeplace in your hometown (and you’re also thinking about and planning for your future home after graduation). You’ve captured that difficult well here!

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  4. Scott Russell Sanders’ chapter “Settling Down” is an excellent representation of the idea of rootedness, the main concept that Sander’s conveys throughout his book. I most enjoyed Sander’s quote in response to the Miller Family’s decision to stay. He says, “Psychologists tell us that we answer trouble with one of two impulses, either fight or flight. I believe that the Millers’ response to tornadoes and my own keen expectancy on the porch arose from a third instinct, that of staying put.” The Miller family decided to stay put despite all the tornados because they were devoted to their home. I found the point Sanders’ made about a third response, staying put, especially interesting and relevant. I have had a difficult time adjusting to living in my apartment with seven girls, and at certain times miss the comfort of relaxing at home. There is nothing quite comparable to the tranquility of your own home, so I understand being drawn back to that place.

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    • 5 points. Longevity–how long you live somewhere–also has a lot to do with rootedness and a sense of home. That’s one reason why it can be difficult to develop a sense of rootedness while in college.

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  5. After I read sander’s stories in “setting down” I found it’s really similar in our cultures.In the stories of sanders,his said that Millers moved back to his address even after tornado for several times.In my hometown,we had long history since 179 B.C. And remain plenty of relics such as rampart and weapon field.Most of my family members and friends lived in my hometown love it so much for the beautiful mountain and gorgeous lake.However,even we don’t have so much natural disaster,we couldn’t kept our address in same place for government reason.Chinese law is kind of different from some other countries. In Europe,if the owner of the house don’t consent new building build in their address,government won’t force them to leave their home.In our country,government would give money for people who must remove from their original address.But even people don’t want to accept money and house in new address,government would forced them to lived by violence.These news happened all the times in our country while no one can stop these kinds of behavior.It’s so sad for me to saw different people have to leave their home.

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    • 5 points. We actually have something similar in the US, called “eminent domain.” If the government deems it necessary, they can force you off your property with compensation. If you don’t agree to it, the measures to get you off are legal, though, and not by force of violence.

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  6. There was one main thing that stood out to me from Scott Russell Sander’s chapter “settling down”. The big thing that stood out to me was the quote “When the pain of leaving behind what we know outweighs the pain of embracing it, or when the power we face is overwhelming and neither fight nor flight will save us, there may be salvation in sitting still..” This quote reminded me off this past summer. During this past summer my parents were thinking about moving into a new house because our current home is getting to small for all of our family events with the addition of grandkids joining the family, so my parents started going to open houses looking for a bigger one they could buy. Right at first, my siblings and I strongly encouraged this; however, after thinking about the idea of never being able to go back to our home which we had lived our whole lives in, we started to think of an alternative for buying a new house. After weeks of persuading we finally talked my parents into just putting on an addition to the house. The main point to this story is that my family and I are too attached to our home to just pack up and leave it, much like the Miller family from the chapter.

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  7. I felt very strongly about the main point of this essay. I am very glad that this was the piece I got to do my oral presentation on. I think that Scott Russell Sanders wrote “Settling Down” to make people more aware about the effects of too much mobility. Growing up, my family was constantly moving. I lived in 13 different houses before I even turned 18. So I experienced most of the negatives that Sanders spoke about — the idea of rootedness does not process in my mind, I have never developed a sense of place, I admit that I had a certain carelessness when it came to preserving the Earth, however that did change as I got older. The big negative for me was that my friends knew each other a lot longer than I have. I did not like moving so much when I was younger and I definitely will not let my children experience the same pain. It is obvious that more negatives come with being too mobile. However, I have realized that there are a few pros to moving so frequently. I can adjust well to new situations, and I have a lot of interesting stories to tell. But if I could trade those for a solid home, I would in a heart beat. Settling down is always going to be a major goal for me, and reading this essay strengthened my need to do so.

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    • 5 points. I’m glad Sanders’ essay spoke to you so powerfully. I’m also glad you have been able to find positives in your mobile existence–certainly nothing is all good or all bad. But I also very much sympathize with your desire to be less mobile! My wife and I moved around quite a bit when we were younger and our children were very small, which I did not like–we were glad to settle back in Iowa City and raised our kids here.

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  8. I enjoyed reading about Sander’s piece, “Settling Down”. When I first read this article I immediately felt a connection to my own life and experiences throughout it. Throughout my childhood and into my teenager years I have moved a lot, especially compared to my friends around me in the community and at school. When I was eight my dad passed away in a car accident, leaving my family feel lost and loss of our roots. Ever since then we had moved to several houses but never stayed there for more than three years. Until years later when we moved to the house my family currently lives in and finally felt “rootedness”. I feel as though this article’s main idea is “rootedness”. Of how every time you might move to a new pace, such as going to college and living away from your family, you have to develop a sense of belonging.

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    • 5 points. I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your father, especially at such a young age–yours and no doubt his. Often our mobility is unavoidable. Life’s circumstances can make it difficult to “settle down.” I’m glad you have been able to find a sense of rootedness where your family lives now!

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  9. Scott Russell Sanders truly came through to me in this reading. While reading “Settling Down” I would have to agree with everyone and say that I definitely felt that he was trying to display the theme of rootedness in this reading. A quote that jumped out at me was “the question isn’t whether the land belongs to us, but whether we belong to the land.” This quote explains the way that Sanders feels about how he thinks the connection to where we live should be. In the reading he clearly shows how he wants everyone to feel a deep, unbreakable connection to the land on which the live, in good times and in bad times. He explains that we should always feel obligated to “stay put” right where we originally planted our roots. His theme of rootedness cannot be missed, it is evident throughout the entire reading. I personally agree with the way that Sanders feels about rootedness because I have lived in the same house for eighteen years and I am almost positive my parents are never leaving there. If I had to explain it, having roots like that is a feeling like no other. I always feel like I know exactly where my home is and exactly where it will always be.

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  10. I found Scott Russel Sanders’ “Settling Down” to be very relatable. Especially his short story about the Millers not wanting to switch houses even though their house was hit by three tornados. This story reminds me a lot of my grandpa who used to live in Ethiopia and his un-paralleled stubbornness for change. Till the day he died he refused to sell his farm even after he became too weak to do the daily farm chores and a fire destroyed most of his crops. Everyone including the government was telling him to sell it but he kept on refusing. He would always say “I’m not going to give my families land up”. The farm had been in our family for four generations and is where my dad grew up. No matter how much money the farm was taking up or how much time it took to take care of, my grandpa would always refuse to sell it because of the farms history and meaning to him. Shortly after he died the government decided to just take the land but my dad and uncle were able to save the farm house. To this day my dad and uncles visit the house every couple years to relive old memories, however almost everything including the foundation has been rebuilt in it.

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    • 5 points. The power of home can powerfully override any financial or “practical” considerations–that’s not an unusual phenomenon. It’s good your family has at least a piece of the traditional family homestead.

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  11. I thought Sanders “Settling Down” took a little piece of out of Seamon’s essay as it related to his theme of rootedness. He talks about in this piece about how you have to stay in a certain place for some time until you actually care for it, and I found this very relatable. We moved around to a couple different cities and throughout the process I learned that the places you remember and care about most are the ones where you simply reside longest. You start to find yourself attached to the routine that it involves, and the whole point he’s trying to get across in this piece to me is that everyone should have this feeling somewhere. I think he’s trying to get the point across that If you stay somewhere for a longer time it not only could benefit yourself, but it could benefit everybody else around you as well.

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    • 5 points. Yes, time is a very important element in creating rootedness and a desire to care for a place. Sanders does emphasize, too, that it takes some intention–a sense of place and home take work and desire, too, not just passing years.

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  12. I really liked this chapter in the book because It gave away the meaning for the title of the book in such an eye-opening way. When I was taught in high school that there was 2 responses to danger (flight v fight) I accepted this idea without thinking twice. When Sanders mentioned how he thought that there was three responses, the other being staying put, I could only sit there and agree. I believe he best explains this instinct by providing the story about the Millers and how they would not leave their house even though they knew a tornado was heading right at it. He then goes on to say, “I believe that the Miller’s response to tornadoes and my own keen expectancy on the porch arose from a third instinct, that of staying put.” I also know this is true from personal experience. Around 5 years ago there was a large fire in California and the whole area around where my grandpa lives was warned to be evacuated. Instead of leaving as quick as he could like most, he sat on top of his roof with a house ready to put it out. He did this knowing he was no chance against the fire. I don’t think I’m that rooted to my home but i may not be able to say this in 60 years.

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    • 5 points. The phenomenon you describe is not unusual–when disasters strike, many people refuse to leave their homes, whether it’s a hurricane, flood, or wildfire. I understand the feeling, but I guess I’d have to say that sometimes such decisions can be foolish. 🙂

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