Last Child in the Woods: a Rhetorical Analysis of Nature’s Decline

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Last Child in the Woods: a Rhetorical Analysis of Nature’s Decline

This essay will provide a rhetorical analysis of Richard Louv’s “Last Child in the Woods.” It will discuss how Louv uses persuasive techniques to argue the importance of children’s connection with nature and the consequences of its decline in modern society. At PapersOwl too, you can discover numerous free essay illustrations related to Cognition.

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 As the years progress, it gets harder to understand the society that surrounds us. Technology and resources keep advancing and, as many believe, making the world a more accessible place to live in. An average person tends to look for the positive aspect of something, but what happens when that something is just blurring society from the true beauty of our planet and nature? Richard Louv does his best to express this in his passage from The Last Child in the Woods.

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He relies on various devices to illustrate how vital the harmful separation between the connection between people and nature is.

Louv’s Literary Techniques: Imagery and Rhetorical Questions

Louv does his best to get his audience to believe his point by using relevant examples. One of the many ways he does this is by painting a visual image for readers to understand the beauty of nature. He vividly describes it in Lines 50-53, “…the empty farmhouse at the edge of the subdivision; the variety of architecture, here and there; the woods and fields and water beyond the seamy edges- and all that was and is still available to the eye.” Here Louv used imagery to provide a visual example of what the readers have missed out on since they have let society and its inventions distract them. He uses this strategy to get readers to understand that nature has always and will always be available and is worth a lot more than a screen. Besides imagery in paragraph 3, Louv uses rhetorical questions to better convince the audience of this separation.

In lines 43-46, Louv states, “Why do so many Americans say they want their children to watch less TV, yet continue to expand their opportunities to watch it? Why do so many people no longer consider the physical world worth watching?” Here the author uses this device to his advantage because it allows him to influence the readers and allow them to believe they concluded on their own. He specifically focuses on why Americans allow these types of things, mainly to highlight how although Americans do their best to help their kids, in the end, society will always be a considerable influence. In this situation, a norm that many follow is to be accepted. This use of this device is essential because not only is it a point of reflection, but it gets readers thinking about how big this separation has become without them realizing it. The passage connects with the readers by allowing them to reflect on their actions with technology vs. nature. 

Anaphora and The Lost Connection

At the end of the passage in paragraph 5, lines 61-73, Louv writes, “We looked out the car window…We saw birds. We were fascinated. We started with reverence at the horizon. We held our little plastic cars against the glass. We considered the past and dreamed of the future, and watched it all go by in the blink of an eye.” In this part of the passage, Louv is reminiscing on how significant the appreciation towards nature was in the past by using anaphora.

The use of anaphora, the repetition of “we,” creates a connection with the readers as I said before, which allows them to have a closer insight and realize how he does have a point. This repetition gets readers to understand Richard Louv’s views on the separation between people and nature due to something so small but mighty, like the influence of society and the new “norms.”

Throughout his passage, Richard Louv uses devices to help him express how the connection between nature and people has become negative. He also does this to explain how, as the years go by, society is converting the world into a world that relies only on technology. Technology, which helps people in many ways, is destroying the true beauty of something so simple as nature.


  1. Louv, R. (2005). The Last Child in the Woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Algonquin Books.
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Last Child in the Woods: A Rhetorical Analysis of Nature's Decline. (2023, Aug 20). Retrieved from