The Berry Patch Ever since the beginning of time, the world has focused on advancement and improved standard of living. This means building houses and factories and continually being busy to support yourself. However, we never realize that we could survive just as well, if not better, if we used nature as it was intended. The story “The Berry Patch” by Wallace Stegner illustrates this point. This busy couple takes the time to drive to the Berry Patch and enjoy the wonders of it. They reflect on their society through a conversation which makes the reader understand that nature provide a better way of life.
One example of how nature is preferred is the conversation about Donald Swain’s place. Donald Swain is the owner of a farm who had to go to the hospital because of stomach problems. Alma describes this by saying, “With Henry and George in the navy, Allen can’t run it alone. Donald’s had him put it up for sale.” (Stegner, 16).
This shows how a lot of help is needed to run a farm, but a person can survive in nature by themselves. Alma is faced with this problem because there is not a lot of people willing to help her, but her husband will soon be leaving her.
Living in as nature intended us to avoid the many problems that come with farming. Another reason that living in nature is more desirable is because of its stability and dependability. Stegner describes a house that was ruined in the hurricane of 1938 and was now overgrown with fireweed and roots. On the other hand, when talking about the Berry Patch.
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Perley states, “Nobody ever plowed it, or planted it, or cultivated it, or fertilized it, or limed it, but there it is Burn it over, its up again before anything else. Blow everything down, that’s just what it likes.” (Stegner, 21).
The Berry Patch can take any natural disaster and still support its residents. However, houses are not as trustworthy and can be destroyed at any time The couple, Perley and Alma, have a completely different out look on life when they are in the Berry Patch “Makes you think the world’s all right.” (Stegner, 21) This statement by Perley proves that there are contrasting opinions in the two areas.
When they are in the Berry Patch, everything seems perfect and all of their problems disappear. But when they are liming in the modern would, they are worried about the success of the farm and the many things that need to be done. Living in nature gives a sense of peacefulness which contrasts the fast-paced lives of the farmers. One final piece of evidence that supports this idea is how Perley chose to spend his last days. “I already saw everyone that I wanted to see I was saving the last couple days.” (Stegner, 22) He made a conscious effort to see everyone and saved the best for last.
There must be something special about nature if Perley wanted to spend his final two days alone with his wife in the Berry Patch rather than with all of the people that he loved. The author goes further into describing this point at the end of the story. When Alma asked Perley how he was doing, he responded, “I wouldn’t want any more.” (Stegner, 22) Although she was referring to the berries and how he was doing with them, his response had a much deeper meaning. He was saying that everything he wanted was right in front of him. He was with the woman that he lived in the most calm and serene place he had been to. Although they had been talking about all of their problems with the farm and the fact that he only had two days left, he was happy with his life at that moment.
Choosing the Berry Patch as the place to spend your final days in shows how nature can be more appealing than the modern society. The world is full or houses, factories, and technology. It has drastically changed over the years and maybe in a negative way. The story “The Berry Patch” supports this idea. The swain family may have been more successful in nature because they did not have enough help to keep their farm from failing. Nature is more dependable because natural disasters cannot destroy it indefinitely.
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Spending time in the Berry Patch made this couple forget their problems and enjoy its peacefulness. Perley’s choice of where to spend his final days shows that nature can be more desirable. This story makes people think about their lives and maybe everyone will realize the many benefits that come with living in nature.