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Literature is one of the most powerful tools that can be used by people to attract attention to certain problems or present their thoughts and ideas. It has always been the main and the most effective way to communicate with society and discuss topical issues. That is why it has passed a long way as it has been evolving along with the world to be able to reflect the current ideas, values, and problems. Today, in many cases literature revolves around aspects people face.
These might include ethical issues, hesitations and choice, the questions about the further evolution of society, and the environment. Authors try to reconsider traditional ideas and pose questions about how people should live and act. That is why their contemporary literature acquires multiple specific features that differentiate it from works of previous epochs. For instance, the problem of the environment and people’s attitude to nature becomes a significant topic (Franklin 13). In the novel Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen, a similar question is touched upon as Florida, and its environment becomes one of the fundamental elements of the work.
The whole story rests on the idea of harm done to the natural habitat of Florida by tourists. The main characters belong to the eco-terrorist organization which pursues the goal of minimizing the negative impact of incomers via a set of cruel and threatening actions that would make tourism impossible (Hiaasen 10). However, the plot is not so simple as it might seem because of multiple problems touched upon by the author.
These might include the idea of choice, ethical issues related to the interaction with nature and ways to protect it, tourism, individual’s role in the world, and how they should behave to defend their values. Additionally, the book is notable because of the unusual character the location plays in it. Being based in Florida, the given story considers nature as one of the central characters that are given significant attention and discussed from different angles to show readers the importance of the problem and the necessity of actions.
In such a way, there are two central themes of the story which contribute to the increased level of readers’ interest and help the author to show his ideas and attitudes. First of all, it is the mystery of a man who wants to preserve the nature of Miami and area, save it from being destroyed by tourists and other people who disrespect it (Hiaasen 8). From the very first lines, Hiaasen states that “They were determined to love Florida” (7) emphasizing the unique beauty of the environment and attracting attention to the idea that this location will become one of the central characters of the story and will impact all events described in it.
This motif preconditions the appearance of another important topic which is the destruction of the natural environment. “They preserved only what was free and immutable—the sunshine and the sea—and marked the rest for destruction, because how else could you sell it?” (Hiaasen 12). This statement reflects the mood of the book and the main cause of the main characters’ actions. Interacting with each other, these two themes create a unique plot and emphasize the importance of Florida for the story.
Florida as Victim
Analyzing the book, it is possible to admit that Miami and the whole area is presented as a victim. It suffers from millions of people who come here to have a good time, enjoy the sunshine, and then leave, not caring for the preservation of its environment and unique beauty. It also suffers from tourist firms, developers, investors, and bangers, whose main goal is to “lure as many people to South Florida to spend as much money as was humanly possible in four days and three nights” (Hiaasen 27).
These patterns do not presuppose any additional care or protection to the area; on the contrary, every year new arriving people threaten its beauty, landscapes, and unique nature. That is why in the book Florida is presented as a victim suffering from multiple problems and gradually losing its natural beauty because of the ruthless exploitation with the primary aim to generate higher income by attracting thousands of tourists every year. It resulted in the critical transformation which is described as “Newark with palm trees” which emerged because of “developers, hoteliers, bankers, and lawyers who have made South Florida what it is today” (Hiaasen 35)
These problems serve as the main motif for the main characters’ actions. Trying to protect the area, a small terrorist cell Las Noches led by Skip Wiley performs a set of violent actions with the primary aim to distract people from visiting Miami and give it time to restore. Accepting the fact that new victims were “just what South Florida needed, another grisly murder,” activists start to kill people who play a significant role in popularizing the resort and making slogans such as “Florida is… Paradise Found!” or “Miami Melts in Your Mouth” to attract new people (Hiaasen 25; Hiaasen 35).
These actions can be analyzed from the perspective of Florida’s central role in the story as the area becomes the main motivator and factor contributing to the appearance of violent and aggressive moods among people who love it and care about nature.
Sense of Invasion
At the same time, there is a certain sense of invasion peculiar to the story Tourist Season. Due to the peculiarities of the plot, and the main characters’ actions and views, people who arrive every year to these lands are taken as ruthless conquerors who want to take everything they need, benefit from gifts, climate, and other elements of nature, disregarding the basic needs of Florida. They are taken as hostile elements playing a critical role in the deterioration of the environment, climate, and critical transformation of lands that used to be unique (Watkins 87).
That is why the book introduces the idea of the ‘last of South Florida’s Wilderness” as the remnant of the magnificent and fascinating wildlife that were peculiar to these lands (Hiaasen 45). However, under the pressure of invades, it had to retreat, giving place to new buildings, hotels, entertaining facilities, and other objects of infrastructure. Due to the peculiarities of discussed problems, they are taken as vanguards of enemy forces that came to the land with the primary aim to establish their dominance, rule, and will not move away.
Finally, because of the character of described events, and multiple appeals to its needs, Florida becomes personified in the story. The author speaks about it as if it is alive and has its own demands “what South Florida needs most is a killer hurricane” (Hiaasen 55). In such a way, readers start to think about the area as about the person who suffers from multiple problems caused by other people and their inappropriate attitude to some unique needs or requirements. This approach also contributes to the appearance of numerous ethical issues related to the story (Jeffries and McIntyre 45).
Using personification as a potent stylistic device, the author raises questions about the ways people interact with nature and their place in it. It is shown that there are some basic problems that are still disregarded because of the focus on entertainment, joy, and other types of activity, instead of trying to protect nature and create the basis for its future recovery. From this perspective, the actions of eco-terrorists also become disputable as their final goals were clear and understandable; however, violence becomes not the best option to achieve them.
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Altogether, the story Tourist Season touches upon a critical problem of relations between people and nature. The main characters want to protect Florida from the harmful impact of tourists who invade it every year and damage its unique landscapes (Flank 45).
By using these themes, the author wants to emphasize the unique recreational importance and relevance of the area; however, at the same time, he shows the consumer attitude to the environment as local businessmen, banks, and investors consider it as a source of income that should be utilized to generate revenue (Revels 56). Emphasizing the spirit of invasion and victimhood, the author personifies Florida with the primary aim to sound more convincing and show readers the importance of issues touched upon in the story, which becomes fundamental from the perspective of current problems related to the environment and individuals’ impact on it. (1404)
Hiaasen, Carl. Tourist Season: A Suspense Thriller. Berkley, 2016.
Flank, Lenny. Florida’s Invaders: How Introduced Invasive and Non-Native Species are Changing the Ecology and Environment of the Sunshine State. Red and Black Publishers, 2018.
Franklin, P. Backroads of Florida. 2nd ed., Voyageur Press, 2016.
Jeffries, Lesley, and Daniel McIntyre. Stylistics. Cambridge University Press. 2010.
Revels, Tracy. Sunshine Paradise: A History of Florida Tourism. University Press of Florida, 2011.
Watkins, Jerry. Queering the Redneck Riviera: Sexuality and the Rise of Florida Tourism. University Press of Florida, 2018.