Pollan, M. 2002. The Botany of Desire. New York: The Random House Trade Paperbacks. p.3-58.
We are no unfamiliar friends to Michael Pollan. I was overjoyed to once again dabble in his words in Botany of Desire, as he dedicates a hefty chapter to life of apples.
I was taken by surprise when I read this chapter. Don’t get me wrong, it was very intriguing and informational. Pollan is a natural storytelling. BUT, it was a little less… alluring? Seductive? I’m not quite sure of the word exactly. I just found myself highlighting less, feeling awed less. This chapter seemed less quotable than I expected from Pollan.
When we read the introduction to this novel, Pollan pitches the idea that plants seduce us, and perhaps control us. I found this notion lost throughout the first chapter. It seemed more like a history lesson through story time for me. Which is not a bad thing! I learned quite a bit, it was just far from what I was expecting.
Okay away with the negativity, Anisha! Get outta here!
I loved hearing about Johnny Appleseed. He is a character we often hear of, but don’t quite know why we quote the name, or where it originated. It was very interesting hearing the history of this figure, it gave this chapter a lot of charm. Much of the writing was dedicated to his story, which took me by surprise.
If Pollan can do anything, it is describe, describe describe. His descriptions of the apple had my mouth watering from page to page, craving anything from a fresh slice of apple, to a sweet glass of apple cider.
Hey Pollan, I think you’re the seducer, not the plants!
Being a huge fan of Greek and Roman mythology, I adored when Pollan compared Johnny Appleseed to Dionysus. For me, it switched Johnny’s aura from sweet, american charm, to mysterious and alluring as many Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses are.
There was a number of points that Pollan mentions that were so alarming and absurd to think about. For one, learning of the themes associated with the apple in past history compared to present day. How the apple in previous times was linked mostly to alcohol, where as now, it is a major staple of health food. Another was the idea that domestication can lead to a very bad point, if overdone. We could perhaps lose the such vast diversity we once had and reach a point of no return, maybe even lose the species all together.
No! Don’t take away the apple!
“Sweetness is a desire that starts on the tongue with the sense of taste, but it doesn’t end there.” Pg 17