A Sand County Almanac

A Sand County Almanac

Round River Symbol Analysis

Round River Symbol Icon

The round river comes from a folktale, which describes a literal round river in the middle of Wisconsin. In reality, there is no round river, but Leopold sees it as a metaphor for the environment, which is interconnected and composed of many different cyclical processes. The round river represents the circle of life, or the interconnected nature of ecosystems. It helps demonstrate how all parts of the natural world feed upon each other, and how damage to one part of the natural world can hurt others as well.

Round River Quotes in A Sand County Almanac

The A Sand County Almanac quotes below all refer to the symbol of Round River. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Time and History  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ballantine Books edition of A Sand County Almanac published in 1966.
Part III: The Round River Quotes

In our educational system, the biotic continuum is seldom pictured to us as a stream. From our tenderest years we are fed facts about the soils, floras, and faunas that comprise the channel of Round River (biology), and their origins in time (geology and evolution), and about the technique of exploiting them (agriculture and engineering). But the concept of a current with droughts and freshets, backwaters and bars, is left to inference. To learn the hydrology of the biotic stream we must think at right angles to evolution and examine the collective behavior of biotic materials. This calls for a reversal of specialization; instead of learning more and more about less and less, we must learn more and more about the whole biotic landscape.

Related Characters: Aldo Leopold (speaker)
Related Symbols: Round River
Page Number: 189
Explanation and Analysis:
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Round River Symbol Timeline in A Sand County Almanac

The timeline below shows where the symbol Round River appears in A Sand County Almanac. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part III: The Round River
Ethics and Ecology Theme Icon
The Round River was a fabled Wisconsin river, described in folktales, which was said to flow in a... (full context)
Types of Knowledge Theme Icon
Ethics and Ecology Theme Icon
...new field of ecology is the best way to understand the natural world and the round river of the ecosystem. (full context)