Study Guide

A Walk in the Woods Technology and Modernization

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Technology and Modernization

Although we personally tend to think of new technology as the greatest thing since sliced bread, not everyone shares our rabid desire to have the latest shiny toys. Take Bill Bryson, author of A Walk in the Woods, for example.

It's not that Billy Boy hates modern technology or anything—in fact, he greatly appreciates all of the conveniences these amazing innovations offer. What he does hate, however, is the use of modern technology without regard for the fragile natural world. That's no good. And after seeing so much evidence of environmental devastation in A Walk in the Woods, we just might agree.

Questions About Technology and Modernization

  1. What are the benefits of modernization depicted in the book?
  2. Are there ways to reverse the environmental damage caused by modernization? Explain.
  3. Do you agree with Bryson's distaste for the use of technology on the AT? Why or why not?
  4. How have modern cultural changes affected Americans' view of the natural world?

Chew on This

Bryson is right to criticize the use of advanced technology on the AT because it goes against everything that the AT stands for.

Bryson is wrong to criticize the use of advanced technology on the AT because progress is inevitable—all of that fancy equipment he uses would be considered "advanced" just generations prior.

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