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English 101 - Why the Leaves Turn Color in the Fall Summary

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Kyle Luce        

Professor: Jean McDonough

English 101- College Composition

12th October 2015  

Why the Leaves Turn Color in the Fall Summary

In Diane Ackerman’s “Why leaves turn color in the fall”, she describes how the season slowly turns to fall and the leaves began to inevitably change color. She goes into great detail on the scientific process and how it leads to this change, as well as the vast difference in color among the species of plants in many parts of the world. She even makes a metaphorical reference that the fall colors are a sign of death and how death eventually leads to new life in the end.

Ackerman shows the correlation between human life and the life cycle of trees and their leaves. She states that “no two leaves are ever the same” (Ackerman), which is truly meaningful and very obvious to most. This point could not be more accurate as humans are all truly unique and differ from one another. The leaf changing color is a direct representation of human’s constant change of personality and mood; there are no deciding factors in this process it will, as a habit of nature, occur in any circumstance. At the same time the different shape and color of a leaf shows a direct connection to a human’s different ethnicity and race, however Ackerman makes a point to constantly point out the similarity in biochemical makeup of the leafs. Although they appear to be different in color and size, the genetic makeup and process in which they are created is a similarity that creates an everlasting connection that bonds them. This same bond could be portrayed in the human race, although no two are the same chemically no two are different in being human.

The scientific points made in this essay appear quite often and have a powerful impact on its message and meaning. When Ackerman writes “An odd feature of the colors is that they don’t seem to have any special purpose” (Ackerman), it speaks volume to an audience of possibly biased readers. The base of the message stating that the differences of appearance are not meant to categorize and separate as they have no effect on an individual leaf or human beings purpose on earth, rather it helps one appreciate the differences among a species so similar in nature. “Animals and flowers color for a reason- adaptation to their environment- but there is no adaptive reason for leaves to color so beautifully in the fall any more than the than there is for the sky or ocean to be blue” (Ackerman). This quote is a representation to the fact that humans just like flowers are a product of their environment, however their beauty is what separates them as there is no contributing factors to the end result of what they become. Just like flowers humans are raised in an environment out of their control but as time goes on individuals can overcome the factors of one’s uprising and show its inner beauty.

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