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Reflective Response on the Dreamt Land by Mark Arax

In the Central Valley of California, Mark Arax gives clear insight into the valley’s nature and unveils its great geographical features of land where agriculture is performed. He describes water-land relationships as well as human relations. The Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys are compared; the two regions have unique features, such as water availability influencing farming methods. Arax paints a large-scale portrait of Agribusiness Central Valley by focusing on the dominance of farmlands, the diversity of some crops, and attitudes towards adjusting the supplied product based on market response. He narrates the changing nature of agriculture after he talks about farmers who change from one crop to another depending on what demand and profit they present in space (Arax, ch. 1, 2019).

He goes on to mention the issue of water management, showing the possibility of rivers like Sacramento and the rest of the world feeding California’s agriculture and carrying the state’s matchless beauty. He discusses more about the impacts on the environment when rivers dry. A strange fact is seen as the San Joaquin River dries before reaching the ocean. Arax, ch. 1 (2019) elaborates on the differences between the east and west of the Central Valley to explore how the soil types and the source of water lead to different cultures and lifestyles on both sides. The story describes the difficulty faced by farmers who have to deal with the quality of their land and decide which crops they want to invest in.

According to Arax, ch. 6 (2019), in the middle of the 19th century, Captain Sutter set off on a bold northwesterly expedition into California with dreams of settling at the meeting spot of the Sacramento and American Rivers in his colony. Though the beginnings were rather complicated, with constant threats of mutiny and initial obstacles on Sutter’s way to a fertile valley where he founded New Helvetia (later Sacramento), he began the dawn of civilization in the wild by using a signal gun. The Maidu tribe, the Native tribe affected by Spanish and Mexican actions, had contact with Sutter, thus deriving from historical tragedies.

Arax’s story ebbs and flows through the intricacies of California’s birth, capturing the ethnically roiled collisions of empire-obsessed people and individuals capable of creating revolution as Sutter. After the Mexican-American War, Captain U.S. Major John C. Frémont and American settlers rose against the bear flag under a provisional government in California and swore themselves their heads of state. Charged by Mexican Governor Pico as highwaymen, Frémont and the Bear Flag rebels led insomniac leaders to meet Mexicans to draw guns, arguing for the creation of the California Republic (Arax, ch. 6, 2019).

According to Arax, ch. 7 (2019), the California Gold Rush, which began with James Marshall’s accidental find of gold, perfectly represents the propensity for serendipitous occurrences to mark historical turning points. Marshall’s accidental discovery revealed a treasure chest and exposed one of those strings of events that paved the way. However, the unanticipated outcomes of Sutter and Marshall’s attempts to hide the discovery or Samuel Brannan’s impositions prove that seemingly harmless human actions can lead to revolutionary historical changes.

The announcement made by Brannan participates in a flamboyant way in the general phenomenon that demonstrates how isolated cases form packets with collective destinies. According to Arax, ch. 7 (2019), the Gold Rush not only changed the face of California but also attracted a wide range of fortune hunters who left a trace mark in American history. It demonstrates that history does not always progress as scripted by the people in charge but reflects an interplay between individual human choices. The Gold Rush makes us realize the dynamics of historical accounts, how powerful the impact of unforeseen effects is, and why the hunt for wealth and opportunities never dies completely.

The relentless championing of water in the development and maturation of California by James Mason Hutchings demonstrates the enduring value and relevance of understanding resource use (Arax, ch. 8, 2019). While the floods of 1861 undermined his belief in water’s power and majesty, he chose to deny climate change, a cornerstone of environmental dynamics lacking predictability. The struggle between vision and reality also suggests a call for adaptive strategies to meet the uncertainty posed by nature. This is because, in response to the floods, Leland Stanford was addressing broader concerns, such as a nationwide war known as the Civil War. He did this by prioritizing others over needing to do so himself, and he also showed the delicate balance needed in governance.

The opinion in 1884 that led to the revolutionary decision against hydraulic mining based on environmental grounds remains relevant today as an argument for responsible resource utilization. Even though it is a century and a half away, the triumph for nature conservation resounds with the present-day need to harmonize between the development and maintenance of natural sustainability. The closure of North Bloomfield Mining and Gravel Company is a clear sign that societies can always change for the better when they face destructive things.

This story about the protagonist’s grandfather getting through his post-genocide choices reveals a paradigmatic trait of humanity: hope and much expectation, sometimes coming up harsh against reality. The allure of California in the letter speaks about the power of storytelling in forming dreams and influencing critical life-changing decisions. According to Arax, ch. 11 (2019), the main character’s grandfather was convinced by a vision of the Armenian paradise that made him decide on Fresno rather than Paris, and it showed how vital narratives are for decision-making regarding migration. The story admonishes the complications of entitlement in pursuing a better life. It induces reflection on the fine line between positive thinking and pragmatic assessment of facts when deciding. While analyzing the embellished stories, we must never rely on hearsay simply because it is expedient to maintain false ideas shrouded in fallacies.

On a larger scale, this story reflects life as an immigrant because hopes for wealth and identification with the dominant culture are compounded by the struggles of adjusting to a new nation. It promotes reflection on the resilience of the human spirit, tenacity despite defeat, and wisdom in undertaking bold ventures towards a better future.

According to Arax, ch. 12 (2019), the issues surrounding water resources posed a significant challenge to Professor Sidney T. Harding during his struggle in early 20th-century California, highlighting the catastrophic consequences that unmitigated growth brings to water property. The story highlights the delicate dance that provides for sustainable agricultural consolidation, as too much groundwater pumping is not encouraged. The dialogue between Harding and the Navy illustrates the tensions in society necessitated by the scarcity of resources, reinforcing the need for convergence.

The 1924 drought is an image of overexploitation in ecological settings, encouraging proper reflection regarding responsible households. This history of the drainage project serves as a painful reminder to proceed with contemporary resource management in the light that long-term sustainability is better than immediate benefits based on the knowledge, effective planning, and mindful practice that should be used to save things like water resources available for survival while moving ahead with progress (Arax, ch. 12, 2019).

How Jimmy Rolph Jr. went through the Great Depression shows that the political reputation is fragile, and it takes only a sudden event to cause devastation by destroying a leader, as argued by Arax, ch. 13 (2019). The change from “Sunny Jim” to “Governor Lynch” highlights how closely leaders approach an impasse between justice and public opinion. The narration reveals the difficulty in balancing regional practices and the public opinion of complicated policies such as what is known as the Central Valley Project (Arax, ch. 13, 2019). The historical account of nature’s hearing continues to stress the importance of following caution and practicing sustainability amidst environmental troubles. It can also be seen as a lawyer’s reminder of the adverse outcomes that result from ignoring ecological issues in the quest for short-term benefits and calling for a cautious, progressive spirit in governance.

Mark Arax is correct, for he reflects on his family’s life and the larger social story by relating this journey to broader societal narratives. Thus, the water becomes an equalizer and separator that shapes the democratic processes of the state by telling the story of California’s transition and how it has affected the individuals involved.

In conclusion, Arax tells a somewhat elusive story, appreciating the refined complexity of the development of California. Scenes of personal stories are interlaced with the narratives of broader society, highlighting dependencies created by resource extraction and the water control struggle.


Arax, M. (2019). Dreamt Land: Chasing Dust and Water Across California. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.


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