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poetry1. In poetry (as an example of art) a statement is not didactic. A poetic statement evokes

imagery, emotion, and symbols; it does not make a formal argument based on logic, rules, laws,

and definitions and distinctions. Leopold is a poet, a literary artist, he is trying to evoke a sense of

emotion and imagery of nature and he, in fact, to some degree, does this, he is a good writer.

However, Leopold, tellsus (makes a didactic statement, though in the form of a question)

that awareness of nature has worth but, unlike a philosopher, he gives no justification (i.e. no

reason or logic) for his thought, nor does he explicitly tell us how education is antithetical to

awareness. He makes no distinctions and gives no definitions--he is not exercising critical

thinking. But, Leopold has made a didactic statement and a didactic statement has no place in

poetry and art if it is not going be defined and defended. Leopold, by including a didactic statement

in poetry, has not fulfilled his obligation to defend or explain his argument and gives us every

reason to criticize his statement (as it is didactic and belonging to the realm of science and

philosophy, and, thus, critical thought, and, therefore, allows criticism). But, Leopold is also a

poet, and poetry is open to interpretation and, in fact, the poet or artist wants interpretation. Thus,

because Leopold has not defended and explained his didactic statement, and he is writing in the

realm of art and not science and philosophy, we must (and have every right to) make inferences--to

try to understand his didactic statement. Unlike Socrates, Aristotle, Dennet, and Emerson who are

philosophers, and E.O. Wilson, a scientist, we must assume that we understand what Leopold

means (always a dangerous exercise) as he makes no effort, unlike any of the great thinkers, to

argue and explain what he means. He never exercises critical thought, which is necessary when

making a didactic statement. In fact, it shows poorly on his intellect to include an unsuported

didactic statement in poetry, and egregiously so because he does not justify it. He may be a good

writer but he is not a great thinker.

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1An example of a carelessly dropped didactic statement into literary art of imagery and symbolism can be found on pg. 18 of A Sand County Almanac (1949).I will underline the didactic statement:
"A March morning is only as drab as he who walks in it without a glance skyward, ear cocked for geese. I once knew an educated lady, branded by Phi Beta Kappa, who told me that she had never heard or seen the geese that twice a year proclaim the revolving seasons to her well-insulated roof. Is education possibly a process of trading awareness for things of lesser worth?The goose who trades his is soon a pile of feathers."
This statement is placed among a paragraph of imagery and symbolism and it jumps from this to an analytical paradigm without any cause and effect explanation. We have no understanding of how Leopold goes from a paradigm of literary art to making an analytical statement concerning a hypothesis on the effects of education. He provides no follow through or reasoning for his statement, and it takes the reader away from the "suspension of belief" of Aristotle to critical thought and analysis of the authors text.