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An Analysis of the Topic of an American Indian Wilderness Short Story by Louis Owens and the Role of the Reflective Lone Ranger
Word Count: 548
An American Indian Wilderness A short story by Louis Owens The Reflective Lone Ranger In Louis Owens essay An American Indian Wilderness the author projects a self-reflective and in the end pessimistic persona As a young man Owens works as a park ranger in the American Wilderness of Washington State He has the task of burning down an old log shelter in the wilderness to return the surrounding area back to its natural state After completing his task he meets two elderly Indian women who tell him that their father had built the shelter in the previous century He suddenly feels ashamed about what he had just done however the two women forgive him and he starts to understand the Indian philosophy in regards to Mother Nature and his own detachment with it In the first half of the story Owen recalls that he felt good and smug about the job he had just completed because he was returning the wilderness to its original state He writes that it was a task he heartily approved of His feelings change after he meets the two elderly Indian women as he learns that their father had also been a park ranger as well as a descendant from the original Indian inhabitants of the Indian country he is working in The two women seem ancient to him probably wise as well and one with nature They still know about the relationship that humans used to have with nature before the Europeans introduced the wilderness to America As Owens tone turns darker he realizes that he too had succumbed to a 500 year old pattern of deadly thinking that separates us humans from the natural world He realizes that the term wilderness is an absurdity and that there really had been no wilderness before the Europeans came to the land The upbeat tone from the beginning of the text turns into a self-reflective analysis which ultimately turns
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