SaintJoe H2O

In the space below, describe your first reactions to "The Enchanted Braid: Coming to Terms with Nature on the Coral Reef by Osha Gray Davidson." 


What sort of feeling does the first chapter leave you with?  From your reading of the first chapter, how is this book both similar to and different from a typical text you might read in a science course? Be text-based in your responses and provide ample detail to back up your claim.

Tags: Davidson, Osha, bookstudy, braid, coralreefs, enchantedbraid, reading, reflection, response

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Love seeing the "text/world" schema terminology there. I agree with what you're saying about that here as well. Tell me this: do you remember where you first learn to characterize literary "connections" along those terms?
I was amazed after reading just the tiniest bit of The Enchanted Braid. The book was written in such an intricate and beautiful way that at times, I found it hard to put down.

When the writing took a text book route, it was super informational. It stated facts about: color, name, and class of different animals; statistics for the ocean, as well as quotes from other books and scientists. For example, "...620 species of shrimp livin of corals." Along with, "If engineers could build a structure as tall as the Grand Canyon is deep, six of these monoliths could be dropped into the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench, one on top of the other- and the pile would sti8ll be nearly a mile from the water's surface." Also, "Rachel Carson wrote many true and important things... 'Who has known the ocean? Neither you nor I...'" However, with this book you seem to get the best of both worlds.

Osha Gray Davidson, the author, made my read flow easily and effortlessly. Unlike a typical textbook, there were tons of vivid expressions that had my brain busy matching colors, shapes, and textures to what he was describing. I even found myself laughing out loud at most of his metaphors and wanting to share them with my mother as she was driving me to practice. Softball is my favorite sport so it would only make sense that my favorite metaphor so far is, "...however, he tore back into the safety of the tentacles, like a base runner tagging up." Also, the way the book is written so creatively through Mr.Davidson's personal experiences makes it seem less like a text book and much more a story.

In conclusion I would just like to say I absoluely love the book!
Ahhhhh yes... the base runner simile. How can anyone who has ever negotiated a base path not instantly "get it" in that little slice of the story? I have seen that exact behavior on the reef and I can tell you that this was not a clumsily-constructed gimmick of a comparison. Just wait until you see the same. You'll smile so big the first time your mask will leak water in and around your nose. ;)
When I first started reading this book I thought, "Oh, Nash was right, it isn't boring!" So I continuded on with the chapter and I really enjoyed it. I thought that the use of quotes at the beginning of the chapters was a great idea- helped to set the scene for the chapter. It was obvious from the beginning of the book that this was going to be interesting and not just full of difficult words, complicated sentences, and information that couldn't really be used in real life. This book gives real life scenarios, which for me helps for understanding of the content.
An example of the difference between this "easy to read book" and "typical science course text" is the way things are described. For example in the book,"The Enchanted Braid," Osha Davidson describes coral reefs as,"...literally overflowing with life; wherever you look on the reef, you will find life in astonishing variety and abundance." (pg. 5) In contrast, the definition of coral reefs on wikipedia is,"...underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Corals are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters containing few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, and are formed by polyps that live together in groups. The polyps secrete a hard carbonate exoskeleton which provides support and protection for the body of each polyp. Reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated waters." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral_reef) I don't know about you but I would much rather have Davidson's definition rather than a complicated definition. This book is also informational for those who haven't learned about the ocean before. For me, reading the Wikipedia definition makes sense to me, but to those who don't understand about "polyps," "corals," and underwater life, would have to do more research.
Glad you're enjoying it. There is so much more to come. I like how you pulled a comparison between the two types of text. That certainly is a pretty striking juxtapositon there. Very telling indeed. For me what's best of all is how one telling of the story enhances the meaning of the other. If allowed to hold hands... those two approaches to understanding the world can together create a more dynamic understanding. Thanks for adding that. This post made me think...
Lauren,

I checked out that site and that definition is way to confusing. Davidson really makes it possible for the average jo to understand!
The Enchanted Braid is very different then other books and textbooks in many different ways. The author is a writer not a scientist. When he wrote this book he put a poetic feel to the book. Like at the beginning of each chapter he starts them with a quote. When I read this book its like it gives me facts but as well as details. Like I am seeing it through his eyes. But he is still giving you facts, but he is not just listing them. Another way is the author uses footnotes. He uses a lot in the first chapter. A textbook only uses a little in each chapter. This book uses SO much details, thats what makes it so fun to read. I read this and was like wow he isn't a scientist but he makes me feel like he knows what he is talking about. This book was good and fun I can't wait to read more.

Good Job on this book:)
I love the sense of humor the author has! This book is definately not a dry, boring text book. While reading, I felt like the author was ismply talking to me; teaching to me. Davidson continously drew me in, making me want to read more. I also loved his little quotes! Especially the very first one- "In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught." It all comes down to learning. The more you know, the more you can do! By reading this book, we learn more about the ocean and then we can take that information to possibly save the world. Cheesy, but it can happen!

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