The two poems, “Happiness” by Jane Hirshfield and “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins and Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” have the theme of nature and how resources are used. They all revolve around how important nature is to the world and use different things to correspond it. While participating in Care-A-Van, I see first hand how much some people can use the resources others throw away or take for granted.
The poem, “Happiness” is a poem about the qualities and traits of a good person Saint Francis learned from animals. He discusses that he learned about fierceness from wolves and fearlessness from birds. Upon reading the poem in more depth, readers can see that he personifies Hopelessness, Desperatelessness, Loneliness and Anger stating, “Nor could he forget those other companions, /the shifting, ethereal, shapeless” (lines 18-19). These attributes are relatable to people and without them one has not experienced the full meaning of life.
The people Care-A-Van serves are most likely experiencing or have experienced all of the “companions” the speaker of Hirshfield’s poem writes about. It is a depressing thought that people in this world today face hopelessness, desperatelessness, loneliness and anger. As humans have evolved from animals, it is only natural for us to receive and display animal instincts in extreme situations.
In the poem, “God’s Grandeur”, the speaker first seems to urge people to have more respect for nature and appreciate the world God created. After closer examination, the first half of the poem discusses how man has negatively affected the world and its resources, “Generations have trod, have trod, have trod…/And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil” (lines 5 & 7). The advancement of technology has allowed us to obtain more of the earth’s precious resources in a faster amount of time, therefore depleting the limited supply. The second part of the poem seems to describe the beauty people are missing. He stresses the argument of appreciating God’s creations and using resources more wisely. The speaker tries to persuade readers to take some time out of their day to enjoy nature and use resources more scarcely.
Last semester when I started to participate in Care-A-Van, I was happy to hear Starbucks donated the leftover desserts and sweets to CCSJ so we could bag and distribute them along with the sandwiches we had made. I always feel guilty and ashamed when I throw away uneaten food knowing someone would be more than happy to eat that food. The amount of goods Starbucks donates to us is insane and thinking about how much eatable food is thrown out at Boulder almost disgusts me.
Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is about a family who decides to take a ride trip even after a dangerous criminal is on the loose. One of themes is nature. Although it is not easy to find, it is subtly shown through the grandmother. While the family is occupied by their activities, the grandmother looks out of the car window and seems atuned to the outside and nature, “She pointed out interesting details of the scenery…The children were reading comic magazines and their mother had gone back to sleep” (O’Connor 999). In the car, the family sleeps and reads comic books, which slightly resembles modern generations. Older generations tended to spend more time outdoors and with family, as technology and new individual games were not as popular. The author urges readers to be spend quality time with family and to be as observant and attentive to nature as the grandmother.