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In the essay “The Modern Hunter-Gatherer” by Michael Pollan, the author struggles with his emotions towards taking “responsibility for the killing that eating meat entails”(Pollan 3). The essay revolves around a homemade meal that the author wants, or rather feels obligated, to make. This meal will be made with foods he has gathered from nature, including his own garden and the animal he has hunted. The author gives a detailed account of his first hunting experience with his friends whom are already skilled hunters. After his first time out hunting he found it “felt very much like meditation”(Pollan 4), but failed to be ready to pull the trigger when the time came. Pollan believed not being prepared was not the result of forgetting to have a bullet in the chamber of his gun, but rather his subconscious not being able to take the responsibility for the death of an animal. He had better luck on his second outing, killing a boar that weighed as much as he did. One of the author’s friends showed him how to clean the boar. The whole process led him on a thought trail of how humans and animals deal with the thought of death. The author said he could even “taste the death”(Pollan 11) of the boar as his friend pulled it open. Pollan also dealt with the satisfaction he had for killing the boar and the feeling of disgust with himself and others for enjoying killing in some ways. Finally once the “cleaning” was finished he was able to make the meal he had set out to make from nature. The author throws a dinner party and everyone loves his meal. Throughout the course of bringing this meal together the author grasps that it is not the morality of hunting and eating meat, but the feeling of gratitude and respect for the meal the animal provides. However, those who rely on livestock do not feel the same appreciation for the life the animal has given. In the end he realizes it is not important how the meal came together, but “that, no matter what we eat, we eat by the grace not of industry but of nature” (Pollan 14).




Pollan, Michael. “The Modern Hunter-Gatherer.” NY Times 26 March 2006. 22 Dec 2015. <>

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