Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ridiculous Consumerism

Over the past few days I’ve noticed a little change in consumers. In the beginning of this semester, my fellow classmates and I have read about how men have been the dominant figure. Therefore, it would only make sense that they make the decisions on what should be bought, and according to our readings, the men did just that. The women had to check with their husbands on everything before they bought anything.

However, after a little while, women had become the main consumers. Women look after the house and kids. They have to buy food, supplies for the house to keep it clean and looking good (this includes decorations), clothes for the family members (kids, husband, and self), and other purchases. Confronted with the question: who is the main consumer, man or woman? Many would answer woman.

However, times seemed to have changed again and I’m not sure how recently. Children seem to be the main consumer now. Yes, the parents have the money, most of the time. However, how many children suck their parents dry for money and then spend it on the first piece of crap they see? Recently, I paid a visit to a few popular teen stores in the mall for a school project. The prices of the items in there are unbelievable. For example, there is a tiny (and I mean tiny) pair of shorts that costs around $20, when the material to make it was probably only $3….and the item has holes in it! Yet, these stores are thriving. I have a hard time seeing moms go into stores like that.

It is not just teens who are big consumers. Little children also influence purchases made by parents. It can be seen very often in a grocery store. Mothers are trying to get their shopping done, but the little children are hanging out of their seats in the baskets or running around the isles begging their mom to buy something for them. Frustrated, the mom usually gives in and just throws the item in the basket to get the children to stop shouting and bystanders to stop staring at her.

I understand that parents want their children to have the best there is; however, the children also need to learn a little discipline, and modesty. I’m not condemning anyone to hell or anything, I just think it’s slightly ridiculous that twelve-year-olds are having hissy-fits because their mom won’t buy them a transformer, and 17-year-olds are blowing over $100 on an outfit that’s smaller than the tag attached to it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Assignment Purpose/Findings

The recent assignment in class was to wonder around campus and stop at random places, observe, question, and write about whatever. Near the end of this process, it became semi-fun. I normally don’t write poems on the spot; however, for the last stopping point, I managed one. Now while this was all good and fun. I can’t really see how it fits in with American Studies. Is it because we’re supposed to be observing the world around us? Maybe it’s specific to the American part of the American Studies because American’s don’t often stop and look around.

My group stopped at three points, just as instructed. While wondering around, there was no one that I could spot that would just sit and take a look outside of their own world. While heading for lunch the other day, I even heard one professor saying that all of these “kids think the world revolves around them.” I don’t know exactly what her topic was, but I do believe that statement is a little true. I’m sure there are a few “kids” that aren’t so self-centered. However, even when we were stopped, I couldn’t spot anyone picking their head up from their books to gaze around at anything else, or just stop the power-walk toward their specific destination. We American’s don’t make time for the unexpected anymore. We are becoming control freaks, or we’re getting to lazy and become bums. Either extreme is not good.

I should also note the types of places my group stopped at. The first was outside with two tables and a few seats, all surrounded by bushes. The second stop was still outside, but between two buildings with only two trees, with their bases surrounded by bricks—like a little flower pot…only for a tree…so a tree pot. The third stopping place was in the nursing building. The thoughts from the first were not too bad. People wondered about the creation of the place. The second stop brought on thoughts of the grim and general yuck of the place. At the final stop, all we could think about was gloom and doom, and we wanted out—out of the building and into the open. I can’t help thinking back to previous blogs about cutting out nature. Our series of stops slowly cut out nature, and with each progression, we grew more disgusted. Is this because humans don’t take care of what they have? Or is it because we missed the nature? Could it just be because of the season switch and we’re tired of being locked in classrooms for so long and we want to pretend to be free for a while?

I’m still unsure about what the lesson from this assignment is supposed to be. Was it supposed to take us back to the “stop and smell the roses” view of Thoreau? Was it simply an unguided find out your own meaning of life kind of thing? Maybe I’m completely off, the next class will bring closure to this assignment, besides just the report on what the groups found.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Recently I’ve been exposed to a lot of talk on racism. One would have thought this topic would have died along time ago, or at least I did. The Civil Rights movement started in 1930. This year is 2010. Shouldn’t we be done with this by now? In my thinking: yes. In reality: no.
Frequently, I have students come up to me asking for help with their papers. Some of the topics they have are on leadership. They have to say what good leadership is, and then give an example of a historical figure who was a good leader. Of course, there were students who came up with papers about Obama.
For the record, I am not a racist. I treat everyone the same, just as if I were blind. I wasn’t born early enough to know that people of different skin color were weird, or whatever, and it was “wrong” to hang out with them. I had a group of friends who were Hispanic, African-American, Indian, etc. I have nothing against people who are different.
But, these students came up to me with their papers, and it was clear to see that they were choosing their examples of leaders based on their nationality. They would pick our new president, say he is a good leader, and not give any reason why. All they could say was that he went against the odds, got a good education, and was elected president. None of that proves that he was a good leader. The purpose of that essay was not fulfilled. Their reason for picking him was because they wanted to boost his achievement as the first black president.
This subject came up again the other day when I was speaking with a friend. She was talking about how the treatment kind of flip-flopped. White people are practically crucified now for saying something against a black person, because people will flip-out and think that the person is racist. She is also not racist. She is like a mother to all around her. She said that she’s sorry for the way that the history went; however, there’s nothing she can do about history. She doesn’t have a time machine, and can’t go back in time and stop it. All she can do now is work on the present. She does this by treating everyone the same. She also feels that she shouldn’t hang because of other people’s mistakes.
I know that the past was horrible. I’m not trying to make light that this was a problem. People were treated as humans should never be treated. However, the past can’t be changed. All we can do is live in the present and work for a better future. Isn’t it time that this issue was over? Can’t both blacks and whites just drop it and move on? There are a lot of Christians on both sides, claiming to know the Bible and live by it. However, if this is true, why is there so little forgiveness and forgetfulness surrounding these Christians?
The purpose of this blog was not to offend anyone or make light of anyone’s past wounds. What I’m trying to say is that we should have been past this a long time ago. People are people. Do we need to make all mankind blind to overlook these small differences?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Material Christianity Review

I would like to think of myself as religious. I’ve been getting more and more active with my faith, which is hard to do when you live in a society where everything is separate and they’re trying to ban praying in schools and such. My faith is something I hold very close to my heart. It’s a big part of my life. It influences everything I do, and who I am. Given that, this book we’ve been reading in class has had quite an effect on me.
The book is Material Christianity. The first couple chapters were pretty cool. One of them talked about cemeteries. Usually when cemeteries are brought up in a conversation, some of the thoughts that run through the mind are: death, ghosts, perhaps monsters…and other thoughts linked to these. So, it would come as a surprise that people used to walk around cemeteries like they were in a garden. However, it was true. Thinking back to when I was very young, my family went walking through cemeteries. We would look at all of the different grave stones, stone angels, names, dates, flowers, etc.
Some religions celebrate death. Mine is one of them. So, back before the monsters modern day people constantly dwell on started to haunt the ideas of cemeteries, the cemeteries would be associated with a joy. People had died and gone to heaven. This was reason for celebration. In my religion, one does not wear black to a funeral because of this reason. The dead have only passed through the temporary life on earth and have gone home. In this sense, cemeteries are very uplifting. However, over the years they have changed. For example, the grave stones have been modified in order to mow the grass easier.
Some of the material presented in later chapters I found very offensive. Some of it just seemed like trash, bordering on blasphemous, if not out right blasphemous. One particular part was when McDannell, the author, presented John Lyon. Lyon talks about pictures of Jesus, saying how they are very feminized. He says that they send messages of temptation. He links Jesus with sluts and whores. First, this was very offensive to read as a Christian for obvious reasons.
This was also very offensive to read because I am a woman. Throughout this entire chapter, women are seen in one of two extremities: saint or whore. Lyon generalizes women as the latter.
In all honesty, this wasn’t too much of a fun book to read. There are many people who will give their opinion about anything, even if they don’t know anything about the subject. There are also many people willing to give a bad opinion, or review, about religion, simply because they can or it isn’t their religion. What are McDannell’s reasons for choosing this source? She could have picked up a person off of the street and gotten him, or her, to say the same thing. It also does not help that after all of the bashing, she only gives about three lines to balance out that she’s not just going to trash this particular faith, but others as well.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Musical Theatre and the ISMs

One of the classes I’m currently enrolled in is Topics in Drama. This class requires us to read many plays. The most recent one assigned was a musical. This class also explores the different styles of plays, or the “isms” as my professor calls them. There is realism, naturalism, absurdism, etc. The method of realism is used by playwrights to show the reality of characters and situations; they do not overdramatize situations. Some of these plays can be very dry and seem like nothing is happening. Anton Chekhov wrote The Cherry Orchard which is a really good example of a realist play.
After being instructed in these “isms”, it was interesting to hear what Dr Adams had to say about theatre. At one point he said that theatre is a “metaphor.” It’s like peaking through the windows to someone’s life. My professor for Topics in Drama said something very similar when she was describing the shift into realism. The people who made the plays wanted them to appear very real. In earlier times, the actors would use a presentation style and speak to the audience. When switching to realism, they would sometimes have their back turned to the audience. Those who made these realist plays would have most of the rehearsals with four walls and not decide until later on which wall to take out. They wanted it to really appear as if the audience was really just peaking into a window of someone’s life. After learning about realism, it was surprising to hear Dr Adams speak about peaking through windows into ordinary people’s lives and musicals in the same conversation (or lecture).
One of the other “isms” my Topics in Drama professor spoke about was expressionism. This was one of the later movements breaking away from realism. It would attempt to show the audience what a character was thinking. They did this through props, the stage setup, costumes, etc. The musical theatre songs are used to get inside the characters mind. Dr Adams showed the clip of Chicago, the song was the “Cell Block Tango”. It was a song showing the memories of the main character, Roxy. The song was meant to show the audience what’s going on inside Roxy’s head. The musical theatre seems to fit in with this category.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Clothing Families with Feed Sacks

So, I was in the car with my sister and my friend, Sophie. Sophie presented an idea that I had never thought about before, and I found it slightly interesting.
I don’t know the time period, but I know that it was before the West was fully tamed. Because of the wild nature of the land, trading was difficult. There were not many people just traveling around with a bunch of supplies looking to sell to a bunch of people. The colonies they traveled to needed specific things, food among them. Food was one of the big things to be bought and sold. Clothing, however, was very expensive. Because of this, the women would make their clothes, blankets, etc. out of the feed sacks. They would buy some flower or wheat and use the packaging to make a blanket, or a coat. I hadn’t thought of this before, although it seems very fitting. The women had to make due with what they could. They had little money and would waste very little of it. They would save all of their resources and find a way to utilize them.
It was interesting to hear about that. Then I start to compare it with how we utilize our resources. How many people recycle? There is so much stuff that’s thrown away. Scraps of food and “left-overs” get scraped off into trashcans, instead of fed to the poor or even used to save on dog food. We buy expensive stuff, just because we can. I think it makes us feel powerful knowing how much money we can just throw away.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

American Stereotype

There are many Americans who like to stereotype people. I've seen it happen to a bunch of people. However, recently I visited the Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta and saw The Canterbury Tales acted out. There were many types of characters. There was the nun, the businessman, the fun-loving goofball, and others. There was also the American couple. The characters were introduced by the nun, and the way she said "the Americans" made it quite clear that this was a stereotype. Just as she finished their introduction, the American woman shot up from her seat and lived up to her intro. She was loud and obnoxious, dressed fancily, and the boss of her husband.
While some might be offended at this, I found it mildly amusing at the time--though this may be because I went the tavern to be entertained. It was also kind of interesting to see what the stereotypical image of Americans has changed to.
When we first came to the New World, we were pioneers with axes. Then there is the image of the colonies. Thinking back on the Revolutionary War, we didn't exactly look all that powerful. Yet, we came to eventually be the most powerful force in the world. Now, we are seen as obnoxious, and loud. In movies, we are put next to the British and people make fun of the contrast, laughing at our crudeness and stupidity. We are seen as having grown fat and greedy. We know better how to handle a virtual gun than a real one, unless of course one is the American redneck huntin' over yonder for a propane tank.
After watching the play, it was interesting, and afterward not too pleasant, to discover the new stereotype of Americans after our great history.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Attitude Toward Women in "Raisins"

So we recently read the play A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry. In some of my other classes, my professors talk about the role of women throughout the late 1800s and the 1900s. Women were suppressed. They couldn't write, air their opinions, etc. They were to remain in the house cooking, cleaning, remodeling, or creating babies and then rearing said children. This same view could be seen in the play.
Walter was not a favorite character of mine. He seemed shallow and self-centered. At one point in the play, he says, "That's it. There you are. Man say to his woman: I go tme a dream. His woman say: eat your eggs. Man say: I got to take hold of this here world, baby! And a woman will say: Eat your eggs and go to work. Man say: I got to change my life, I'm choking to death, baby! And his woman will say: Your eggs is getting cold!" While he is "dream[ing]", his wife is cooking his eggs, caring for him. She tells him "eat your eggs and go to work." He is never going to "take hold of this here world" if he keeps dreaming. She's telling him to get up and do something. While it's fine if he wants to change his life, he needs to think of his family and not just himself. He can't just quit his job and chase a dream without anything to fall back on. The wife can't do everything by herself.
He also says, "We one group of men tied to a race of women with small minds." Walter seems to be philosophizing the whole time, while the women of the story are working to fix thigns, even if they're not big things that are going to change the world. They're keeping things livable at home, while Walter goes off to get drunk and Travis weasels out of chores at home, knowing all to well that his grandmother is going to take care of it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gray Flannel Suit

In the past week, we did a book discussion in class. The book was The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. I actually liked the book a little. In my literature class, I learned that the literature reflects the times. There was some things reflected in here, I hadn't picked up on when reading. For instance, the children in the story play a very small role. They are seen in the story enough to know their names, and a few other little details, but they're "flat" characters. They don't have any deep background history. This could be seen as a reflection of the role children played in reality in the 1950s (the time the story takes place). In previous books we've read in class, authors say that the people of this time are all about family; yet, this book tells something completely different.
We did a slight character analysis and a lot of people thought that Mr Rath needed more conviction. Someone said that he needed to find something he is happy with and go for it. For instance, he was happy with Maria. Maybe he should have gone back to that relationship and let things blossom. However, I think this is another reflection of the time. Things were difficult. People weren't exaclty having the time of their lives. They had just gotten out of the World Wars, Depression, etc. They were still in recovery mode.
While I agree, it was kind of annoying that he didn't show any real passion for anything, I don't think he could have gone for simply anything and given up at the slightest unpleasantness he felt. Any choice he could have made would have its positives as well as negatives. Again times were tough. He was a paratrooper, set free from the horrors of war, and survivor of the Great Depression. I think the lack of conviction was partly due to he "shell shock". What the author could be trying to communicate through this character was the difficulty the soldiers had trying to fit in with the city folk and adjust to the life after the war.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Use of Religion

In reading these past chapters, I'm surprised at how religion crops up. In the chapter titled "Borderlands," Catherine Beecher tries to bring peace to the suburban family by telling them that it is "the home church of Jesus Christ." Women must "master efficient house design and gardening, as well as the spiritual nurturing of large families." She tells them that their place is in the house. While reading over this, it made me think of that infamous line: a woman's place is in the kitchen. Could this have been where that line originated? It was surprising to get this impression from a woman. However, to push her agenda, she says that the house is "the home church of Jesus Christ." This would give a home new meaning. A church is very neat, clean, peaceful, and beautiful. A church is where one would usually go to pray or attend to spiritual needs. When entering a church, most people believe they're entering the house of God. Beecher says that the home is similar to the church when she says that the home is the "home church of Jesus Christ." Women would want to keep their houses clean, neat, peaceful, and beautiful. They would clean for hours, then go out in the garden to create a flourishing garden of pure beauty, then cook for the family, etc. The list goes on. As for being cut off from the world because of all the work that had to be done at home, Beecher said that their sacrifice would be rewarded in heaven.
Religion crops up again when people were trying to sell homes. In a Sears catalog, they said, "to get the most out of life as Our Creator intended it to be, A HOME OF YOUR OWN IS AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY." This works in harmony with what Beecher previously said. If a home is like a church, then it's an "absolute necessity." They're trying to pull on people's spiritual sides to sell houses. It was interesting and surprising to see this method used in order to sell houses.
Again religion showed up after the sale for "mail-order and self-built suburban houses" began to drop. A lot of people chose to lvie in houses near churches and synagogues. Perhaps some people thought their house wasn't exactly "the home church of Jesus Christ" and wanted to be near the real thing.
In "Second Creation," Nye kept talking about the way people moved away form the church, or replaced it. Now, it's interesting to see the shift back to religion in Hayden's book.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In previous years, the settlers came to the New World and began hacking at trees to make room for their log cabins, trains, factories, etc. Now, around 1800, people didn't want to live in the stone cities. They wanted to be part of nature as well; thus, the coming of the suburbs. Unlike before, there was no making of a grid. They followed the land. There were winding roads and pathways. Nature wasn't too extensive, but it wasn't extinct either. When reading about this in Hayden's Building Suburbia, I was reminded of Thoreau's philosophy again. I thought it was interesting that people were looking back to nature for peace.
The suburbs were created as a way out for those living in the cities. They wanted to be near nature. This was a turning back from what the settlers began to do upon arrival. Rather than seeing nature as "in the way of progress," it was a natural temporary escape from reality. The people didn't like living in the over-crowded cities of the 1800s. The suburbs blocked them off from almost everything, but their familiy. Today, people tend to spend $10 at the theater, go to a bar, play video games, etc. just to find some alone time for themselves. I also think it is interesting to look at the methods we use today, which can actually cause us harm if used in excess, and the nature walk from old times, which can increase health benefits.
Of course, the block off from reality caused some people to complain because it felt more like an isolation. They were completely blocked off. One could look at this as the downside of the excess in the "nature walk" method for escaping reality.
I was also surprised to find all of the rules that one had to agree to inorder to live in a suburb. In her book, Hayden said that a person had to sign a covenant. People were not allowed to build fences on their property. They were limited to who they could sell the house to, if they chose to move--this is where race, gender, and religion differences came into play. Special care had to be taken concerning the lawn. I could understand that last one. The lawn was very prized at this time. The lawn was why people decided to move into a suburb. However, these rules are still going on today. Some of them are really strict. There was one woman I heard about who would get a ruler out and measure her neighbor's lawn to make sure it wasn't too high and make her neighbor cut it, if it was. Some of these rules seem ridiculous. If the lawn is over-grown and one could find a car buried beneath the weeds, then that's too much and something should be done. However, it seems rather ridiculous to get in trouble over an extra centimeter of grass.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

American History as Told through Paint

Dr. Reeve presented many paintings. Most of them were pretty astounding. One of the first few, by Albert Bierstadt, inspired some thought. His paintings were shown in a kind of "angelic" light, to borrow a term from another student. He painted a alot of landscapes with much attention to detail. The artist seemed to show this viewing for a purpose. It was not just for a pretty view. Most of his paintings showed a view of the land before it was changed by man's axe, log cabins, mills, and trains. Like Thoreau, the artist is trying to preserve nature. For example, in Bierstadt's "Valley of the Yosemite" painting, there is a kind of glow to it. He draws attention to the nature seemingly saying, "Forget about all the common trains, cabins, etc. and look at this." Nature is much more astounding than the mechanic works of man. The mountians and trees, untouched by human contamination, were beautiful in the paintings.
While looking at these pictures, I was entranced. Then thinking of what was was incredibly sad. Since humans have moved into the area, the lake has probably been drained. The deer have been hunted and are either completely gone from the area or hidden from site. It would no longer be a natural setting. Instead, there would be another log cabin made from the massacred trees.
Humans have changed the face of the earth so much. However, the question that is still debated is: for the better or for the worst? That painting seems to be from another world. There are recognizable characteristics from it; however, nothing like that scene could be found in today's world. Where ever one were to travel, one can't escape the touch of "civilization."
Another interesting quark about the paintings shown was that some artists captured the culture and their mixing. For example, the last painting Dr. Reeve presented depicted the Eve of St Francis at Rancho de Tao. This showed many different people of varying backgrounds (Hispanic, cowboys, Indians, etc) and their different cultures uniting at one spot for one purpose. They were united at a church. It was interesting to me to find that the church united them, when in the early days of America the settlers moved the churches aside for mills and other works of production. Yet, here, they held their candles in vigil and waited at the church. The artist also shows the different levels of devotion by manipulating the positions of the characters. While the white people were one of those appearing less devote, it was still interesting that it was through this ceremony that they were all gathered together.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Mill

During the taming of America, the people took a different path to building towns than most others. For instance, they used a grid, where others went with the flow of the land. Also, European towns were build around a church. When traveling from miles away, the first thing a traveler would see was the steeple for the church. However, American towns had mills at the center of their towns. I don't agree with theis decision; however, I can see where many other people would think it logical. The mills were used to help give them food, lumber, etc. It makes sense for them to want to be closer to this place. For instance, if they were too far away from the mill, then their food might spoil.
However, while this might be logical, it seems like a step away from God. God was the center of their life. He was their source of hope, strength, and happiness. Now they are focused more in the material world. God is shoved off to the side along with the church. This can be seen in many western movies. When they show the towns in these movies, they rarely visit the church. Instead, one of the main scene settings is the bar. The town's people frequently go to bars to drown their troubles in whiskey rather than visit the church to pray. Some of the towns didn't even have churches. Giving the impression that God was replaced by the mill.
In Second Creation, Nye is telling about the influences man made when entering the New World. This one seemingly small change of placing the mill at the center of the town, seems to have a strong effect on civilization. Though the mill is not necessarily at the center of our towns today, its effect of having moved God from the center of people's lives can still be seen in today's society.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thoreau on Preserving Nature

Where Nye's Second Creation is more of an academic retelling of history, Thoreau gives a different account of that history in his Walking. His work is more personalized. It is difficult to read his work because he jumps around so much; however, this style of writing goes very well with the message he is trying to convey.
Thoreau says that we need to experience nature while we can. Looking around today, there are not very many local forests to get lost in. The world has been explored, mapped out, and reorganized. Every day more nature is being destroyed to make room for homes, amusement parks, hotels, factories, etc. How many trees can one find in New York City? Thoreau is saying that while this reconstruction is not a completely horrible thing, we do need to treasure nature.
He talks about going on a walk just to see nature. While one is on this walk, they must just pay attention to nature. Forget about work, school, etc. This walk is just between the individual and nature. If the person's mind is constantly busy with other thoughts, then he is not giving nature the attention it deserves. The walk would be meaningless. Also, the walk should be pointless. The individual must not start from point A for the purpose of getting to point B. He should wander around, explore. Don't try to map everything out.
It seems as though Thoreau wants us to let go of the order mankind has created, and just go with the flow of nature, just for a time at least. Today not very many people do this. We start from point A and rush to point B missing everything in between. We miss the smells of flowers, the shapes of the clouds, the chirps of the birds, the soft glow of the moonlight, etc. We're too busy with out daily lives to notice these things that are not always going to be there. One day those flowers will die. The clouds will blow away. The birds will fly south. The moonlight will fade. In the end, all we could say is that we made good time on the freeway.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Symbolism & Ownership

In class, we discussed the symbols of the "Old West," including the axe and the log cabin. Both were surprising to me. Along with many others I am sure, I would have thought that the rifle would replace the axe. However, I can see how an axe would be more fitting.
This was a time when the settlers were coming into America and settling. They had to make homes for themselves, barns for their animals, etc. While a rifle would protect them, the axe would give them their living.
There was also some discussion of the log cabin, though I'm not so sure I understand the full significance of it as a symbol. I could somewhat understand it because of the popularity of the time. The log cabin was what they had to live in. They did not have the material for brick houses or such. They had wood and a lot of it. They had to clear away trees to make room for their homes, and I could see it as convenient to just turn those trees into homes instead of just piling them up somewhere else.
One interesting concept brought up in class was what some believed qualified people for ownership of land. Among the beliefs of John Locke was that of owning whatever one put labor into. The settlers came to share this belief. I must agree with them to an extent. If you work on something then you have placed your mark, so to speak, upon it forever. You share some ownership because you helped bring it into existence or helped to improve it. However, if you sell it, it is no longer yours.
The settlers decided to take the land from the Native-Americans with this belief as one of their justifications. The settlers believed that the Native-Americans were not using the land to its fullest. Therefore, under this belief (which may or may not have been shared by the Native-Americans), they claimed ownership of the land when they began the back-breaking work on the land, creating factories, railroads, etc. Looking at this, I find it a little ironic. Before the settlers came, the land was flourishing. It was a jungle and the people (the Native-Americans) lived in harmony with the land. However, once the settlers arrived, they started chopping down trees, burning forests, etc--killing the land. They changed the land completely from the jungle it once was and put it on the path to the world we see today with its ever-diminishing forests.