Unsettled tones exude from the narrative description of the place, and sadness for the throngs of people seems to leave the reader with an overwhelming feeling of repulsion.This is such an egregious departure from the natural environment that Snyder holds dear, that we can gain a much more appreciable understanding of how uncomfortable it must have made him feel to occasionally find himself in places such as that described in the poem.
One could easily make the statement that the ecological awareness that Snyder possessed and articulated during the heavily industrialized period post World War II, helped establish a basis for environmental awareness, and very possibly helped advance the environmentalist movement itself in the United States.
Although environmental concerns have been discussed openly in the U. since the eighteen hundreds, they reached an all time level of public interest during the era of reconstruction after the Second World War, and with the employment of the atomic bomb by the U. military, radiation poisoning added a new component to the discussion.
Through various talks and interviews conducted over his writing career, he openly shares his views on both topics, and gives insight into how precious and critical they are to him as a man, and an author.
Nonetheless, after extensive research of several of his literary collections, I have arrived at the overwhelming conclusion that Snyder, more than a harbinger of Zen Buddhism, is the unmistakable poetic voice of nature.
The narrative character is clearly inside a multi-story modern building, illuminated with artificial lighting, breathing circulated air.
The descriptive words used to illustrate his surroundings are cold and lifeless.
Snyder has become synonymous with integrity-a good beginning place if your poetics honor ‘clean-running rivers; the presence of pelican and osprey and gray whale in our lives; salmon and trout in our streams; unmuddied language and good dreams’” (Carolan).
In several of Snyder’s works, rather than heralding the wonders and beauty of nature in more direct methods, he chooses to contrast them with illustrations and lifestyles that he clearly finds unsavory.
In the Dictionary of Literary Biography, book critic Dan Mc Leod states in his article, “Gary Snyder,” “Snyder’s main impact on the Beat Generation, and on American literature has been as spokesman for the natural world and the values associated with primitive cultures” (Mc Leod).