Formal Abstract (Muir and Childhood)

Childhood experiences in nature and how we perceive it in later years seem to be derived from how it is shown to us. Movements and media displaying it as pure and worth protecting have grown popular, and not just with tv and movies. Poetry about nature with adolescent life? is vast and growing with each generation. 

My goal of the paper is to bring more connection between childhood experiences and nature. I intend to conclude by arguing that one’s perception of nature in childhood affects our views on it later in life. With mother nature being close to some in the most influential years it only makes sense to have a strong connection to it later on.

Does  nature connect to our experiences or does that perception change over time?  I will be analyzing the work of John Muir, Thomas Hood, and Gary Snyder?  to describe the many ways in which childhood can bring positive experiences of the natural world. Muir uses nature for personal growth. Thomas Hood articulates his nostalgic feelings derived from the plants and trees. Synder’s writing connects the lives of different ages with a common love of the natural world around them.

All three authors seem to have a deeper connection to nature that grew over time; a love of the natural world to be looked back and admired upon. The point of my paper is to string these poems to make a clear insight into the themes expressed in the poems, connection, growth, and nostalgia. I will also compare  my personal childhood experiences in nature to those of the poets and observe how the themes in the poems line up with my memories and see if my view of nature has grown or changed like the poets have.  The main idea will be to see how these poems and stories (John Muir’s narratives such as “A Geologist’s Winter walk”)  can bring to light the true effect of nature within childhood and how the love of mother nature and all her surroundings can start as early as a first word and end as late as a final breath. What about the texts and the way that they were written helps them to achieve this effect in the reader?  How can you support your argument through analysis of their texts?  How a lifetime in nature and a deep understanding and companionship with it can help push your life in a more positive direction and show the world as it once was through the eyes of a child. 


Muir, John. The Wild Muir. Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Conservancy, 2013. Canvas,

Hood, Thomas. Poets of the English Language. New York, Viking Press, 1950.,

Snyder, Gary. Turtle Island. New York, New Directions, 1974. Introduction to Nature Writing,

Very interesting idea of analyzing Muir along with Hood and Snyder.  It may be a lot for this one paper but is doable if you’d like to also incorporate Snyder and/or Hood.  The idea was that you would write on one of the literary writers we read in class.  Were you able to find any scholarly sources on Muir?

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