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John Wesley Powell
Transcript of John Wesley Powell
HISTORY Lost an Arm Fighting for the
Union in the Civil War Studied Ancient Greek & Latin The first to scale and
chart the Grand Canyon
and Colorado River Born 1837 in New York His father was a preacher who
emigrated from England Studied at Illinois College, Wheaten
College, and Oberlin College He was interested in Natural Science and a series of expeditions led him to become a Geologist His most famous work is
a detailed informative passage
concerned with the Grand Canyon
titled... The Most Sublime Spectacle on Earth "Probably there is no portion of the
whole region from which there have not been
more than a thousand feet degraded, and there
are districts from which more than 30,000 feet
of rock have been carried away. Altogether,
there is a district of country more than
200,000 square miles in extent from which on
the average more than 6,000 feet have been
Concerned with specifics
Sounds like a report "Consider a rock 200,000 square miles
in extent and a mile in thickness, against
which the clouds have hurled their storms and
beat it into sands and the rills have carried the
sands into the creeks and the creeks have carried
them into the rivers and the Colorado has
carried them into the sea."
Setting the scene
Concerned with the reader
"The black gneiss below, the variegated quartzite, and
the green or alcove sandstone form the foundation
for the mighty red wall. The banded sand
stone entablature is crowned by the tower
limestone." "Clouds creep out of canyons and wind into other
canyons. The heavens seem to be alive, not moving as move the heavens over a plain, in one direction with
the wind, but following the multiplied courses
of these gorges. In this manner the little clouds
seem to be individualized, to have wills and
souls of their own, and to be going on diverse
errands—a vast assemblage of self-willed
clouds, faring here and there, intent upon purposes hidden in their own breasts." Personification
Analogy "We think of the
mountains as forming clouds about their
brows, but the clouds have formed the mountains.
Great continental blocks are upheaved
from beneath the sea by internal geologic
forces that fashion the earth" American Identity Immigrant Fought in Civil War Educated Overcame Disadvantages Explored New Land How else does Powell's work depict the American identity? Would you be able to imagine what the Grand Canyon looked like from Powell's Description? Would you like phrases like "Sublime Spectacle" used in modern every day language? (yes) Discussion Questions: