Monday, February 8, 2010


We have examined the distinctions between "space," "place," and "land" as conceptual and physical descriptors. Yet, it seems like we have the greatest difficultly distinguishing between "place" and "land." In today's class, we listened to analyses and participated in discussions of poems by Robert Frost and Wendell Berry. How did these ideas -- "place" and "land" -- come into play in these poems? Also, what benefit derives from distinguishing between these two terms? Does distinguishing simply help us to be more precise and help us to identify the physically activist from the abstractly ideological?


  1. Frost seems to view the land as the raw material of westward progress and manifest destiny: he views settlers from Europe as "a gift," seeming to indicate that the land, were it sentient, would actually be grateful to them for finally making something of it. Berry, by contrast, seems to promote a more symbiotic role of people and land; this relationship between the two constitutes a "place," since there is more meaning to it than untapped potential. (Or maybe I have things backwards. Not sure.)

  2. Frost viewed land and place as one in the same, and that you are part of the land and place.That you belong to both because they are the same thing. Even if you do not live somewhere, you are still destined to belong to it, like you were ordained by god. I think Berry viewed them as two different things, and appreciating that a person can be placed somewhere, and belong to that place (as Liz describes).