The Botany Of Desire Summary

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Michael Pollan’s book tells the story between the relationship of Man vs Nature, and the connection it has with life on Earth. He mentions his objective for his book: to view plants in an intimate relationship with humans by looking at ourselves differently. The book makes an adventure through history to forms of life now, and examines plants through multiple points of views. The Botany of Desire demonstrates a unique comparison of the terms “Botany” and “Desire” through his four chapters:apple,tulip,marijuana, and the potato. Pollan explains human desire and its exploitation from plants through the combination of sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control.
In chapter one,Pollan depicts the sweetness of apples(malus domestica) as a certain kind of “perfection.” He explains how the power of sweetness has lost fulfillment over time, but proceeds to be a driving force in evolution. “Could it be that sweetness is the prototype of all desire?” The chapter ventures through the evolution of the apple, and the historical advancements apple growers have made in order to change the taste of apples. For example, Pollan travels to Mount Vernon, Ohio to trace the remaining foundation of John Chapman’s apple trees(Johnny Appleseed). Pollan was enthused to trace the remains of the seeded apple trees, although
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Pollan illustrated human manipulation in the chapter of apples and how it has transformed the modern apple into require more pesticide than any other food crop. The tulip was an influencing factor in human behavior by tulipmania capturing the beauty that attracted the Dutch. Cannabis plants made humans desire intoxication to alter the way the brain operates. Lastly, the potato has contributed to the ongoing GMO debate due to biotechnology changing our relationship with nature. Pollan’s book was well-written, and influenced the way I view plants
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