John Steinbeck’s Flight made numerous references to nature. His fate is foreshadowed once by his sister, Rosy, and other times by the philosophy of naturalism. Nature plays a big role in this story by showing where Pèpe stood in comparison to the other beings of the world, such as snakes and lizards. Pèpe was between the two on the food chain. He killed a lizard, but the snake didn’t show any fear toward him. Flight was naturalistic.
In naturalism, nothing is at random and everything is explainable. Every event can be explained in terms of natural causes, or natural laws. Pèpe’s death was justified by nature. It was as if he was a polar bear with no fur, which clearly can’t survive in its natural habitat. Pèpe didn’t have any sense of nature’s obstacles. As the less intelligent being of nature, he was destined to die at a level below those that could survive.
Naturalism doesn’t attribute spiritual or supernatural support of any kind. Pèpe couldn’t be saved by any means of a miracle. The story had followed the philosophy of naturalism throughout Pèpe’s entire journey. His fate could be evidenced by the stupid actions he took to try and save himself, such as putting the dirty spider web in his cut, resulting in an infection. The philosophy of naturalism is a way of having everything be explained by nature.
Flight supports naturalism by giving detailed explanations to Pèpe’s actions and consequences. The environment that Pèpe was in didn’t seem to offer any help to him due to the demanding climate “The dust gathered quickly in the deep valley.”(Steinbeck, Flight, 434) He wandered into the valley hoping for help, but only came into more trouble. Nature wasn’t intending to help him survive. He was unprepared and therefore didn’t have a chance to last amongst the others. We see Pèpe’s environment ripping him apart, indeed, as he walks “The brush grabbed at his legs in the dark until one knee of his jeans was ripped.”(Steinbeck, Flight, 434) Pèpe didn’t have knowledge of his own well being in the wild. He thought he was a man, and didn’t bother to stop and think about his safety. This led to even more difficulty as he tried to continue on. It’s partly Pèpe’s mothers fault, for never helping him to learn what he would need to know. Pèpe had no chance after proving to be incompetent, concluding naturalism had taken place.
Flight was proven to be naturalistic. Pèpe couldn’t survive in the mountains surrounding Monterey. They seemed to stretch on forever, and he was unable to cope with it. He was like a helpless animal in a biome which he could have no chance of escape. Pèpe paid the price for being a fish out of water. His death proves naturalism in Flight.