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wendell berry`s book entitled What are people for? essay on career and vocation

March 24, 2016 | Author: | Posted in literature and language


Wendell Berry ‘s essays What Are People For ‘ and The Work of Local Culture ‘ both examine the farming profession , which has in recent years been demeaned as the rural population falls and large agribusiness replaces smaller family farms . Berry argues in both pieces that farming is not an outdated lifestyle , but a necessary profession

In What Are People For ‘ Berry discusses the exodus from farm to city since World War II , attributing it to failures in agriculture However , he disagrees with claims that failed farmers deserve [banner_entry_middle]

their lot or that the farm population has a large surplus he comments that It is apparently easy to say that there are too many farmers , if one is not a farmer (123 . Berry maintains that our farmland no longer has enough caretakers (124 ) and that the rural exodus has harmed both urban and rural America alike . Agribusiness has not only harmed small farmers but also the soil itself , and displaced rural people are not often absorbed into the urban economy . Berry sees farming as a necessary occupation , which is needed even more urgently in light of soil erosion and other damage done to fertile agricultural land . It is not simply a job or lifestyle , but a crucial stewardship of nature Farming is a skill , and well-managed farms and healthy soil are proof agribusiness ‘ reliance on machinery and destructive methods may be modern ‘ but ultimately counterproductive . What people are for , he implies , is to work and maintain the land

In The Work of Local Culture ‘ Berry makes a more developed argument in favor of human stewardship of farmland and claims that a good local culture ‘ of farm people is required to perform this important work . He sees farmers not simply as a rural dweller , but as skilled professionals better able to manage agricultural land than big businesses , because they possess intimidate , detailed knowledge of the land , from the weather to its natural processes and its smallest attributes . Land is becoming rapidly despoiled , and only knowledgeable farmers can remedy this danger . Practically speaking ‘ he writes , human society has no work more important than this (155

Farmers form the local culture ‘ which he defines as the history of the use of the place and the knowledge of how the place may be lived in and used (166 . It is based less on money than on community shared knowledge and experiences , and rapidly vanishing skills of managing the land . The local culture can and must educate others in how to maintain and use fertile land , generate its own economy , and maintain its sense of community . Farming is more than a job , but also an important part of a rural way of life that is vanishing rapidly (and should not

Himself a farmer , Berry sees farming not simply in economic terms , but almost as an art or craft , requiring skills and attention to more than just economics . He does not pit city against country and argue for the latter ‘s superiority instead… [banner_entry_footer]

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