DWELLING IN AND DWELLING ON SEWERS: MICHAEL AARON ROCKLAND’S SNOWSHOEING THROUGH SEWERS: ADVENTURES IN NEW YORK CITY, NEW JERSEY, AND PHILADELPHIA
Snowshoeing Through Sewers relates Michael Aaron Rockland‟s sometimes dangerous explorations of his highly urbanized dwelling place (“not where no one has been but where no one wishes to go,” ) by canoe, by bicycle, or on foot. This paper relies on ecocriticism to assess the relevance of Rockland‟s enterprise, which is linked to the famed American fascination for outdoor activities and also constitutes a parody of the “discovery” of America. It analyzes the initiatory aspects of the endeavor, which takes the author on an American odyssey that leads him to face his childhood self, the Americanness of his family and to probe the soundness of his humanistic beliefs. Drawing on the constant references to Walden that pepper the text, the last part eventually questions Rockland‟s ability to offer a stable ethic in the context of an environmental degradation he seems to be taking for granted.