Free «Book review: Anthill: A Novel by E.O. Wilson» Essay Sample

Book review: Anthill: A Novel by E.O. Wilson

The ‘Anthill’ is a part thriller-part parable novel story by O. E. Wilson that brings about twist and turns of revelations about the lives of individuals and societies in the modern world. This paper explores the story and its main points. Additionally, it examines how the novel relates to the course material.


The story is about a boy who grows up in the world determined to create strategies and opportunities through which the society can be saved from its worst natural enemy: man. The story begins with the nature through which the boys interest and inquisition in the world of ants results in his transformation that eventually transforms the Nokobee county citizens.

Raff battles with the harsh realities of the outside world plus cynicism of his relatives as he plunges forward exploring Nokobee county wilderness. Here he witnesses the anthill chronicles: the creation and destruction of four separate ant colonies. This interest in nature directs him into the world of science where he graduates Florida State University as an extraordinary scientist. However, he insists on Harvard Law School, from where he returns home being a gladiator in the field of law (Wilson, 2011). He believes that fighting for the environment must be waged in the courtroom as well. Returning home, he is concerned with the impending re-allotment of the Chicobe Rivers wilderness by developers. He also faces the challenges of the old south. Finally, he realizes the genetic imperative necessity of war for humans just as for the ants.

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Main points

The ‘anthill’ gives Wilson’s point of view, the author’s. It prompts the society to look at the living world with more keen and different perspective. A perspective that can notice details and how the different aspects intertwine to form the existing performing living world as it is seen today (Kingsolver, 2010). The protagonist of the story based his interest and inspiration on the nature of life of the ants and their anthills. He was interested in such natural phenomenon as the swamp, becoming an eagle scout and ending up as a scholar of science and the law. He is drawn to things that catch his eye and goes into describing them into detail. Through his notice and interest of the fine details of things in nature and the living world he can realize the challenges facing the world and generate necessary alternatives and solutions. This detailed view and inquisitive notice are being promoted by the story. This aspect stands to creating sustainability at all stages of life if adopted by each independently.

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Raff’s battles take him from his childhood interest of nature to science and law school, and then right back to work for the same company that plans to develop the swamp and its environs (Wilson, 2011). The story of ants is supporting Raff’s story. Ants live beneath the leaves as a second society that grows in freedom beyond regulations and reasons. The explosive growth of these ants is established to mirror the explosion of development in the society. The human society has become very bent of developing the environment regardless of effects on the environment and wellbeing of other societies such as the ant colonies living under the leaves. The ants toil day and night for expansion of their colonies into other habitable lands with no evident moral or reason. Such nature of events makes Raff realize the need to break apart old systems and bring about changes. It brings a view of the nature through which societal development is seemingly without moral and ethical considerations. Like Raff went out of his way to study science and law in order to be on a position to defend the environment, there is also a need for individual in the society to realize the necessity of breaking this chain of events.

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The ‘anthill’ is a novel that brings into focus the power of the environment and the individual. It shows in details how a single child, who is inspired by the environment, can grow up to instill a change that is needed in the society. In the modern world, the power and significance of the potential of the individual and the environment are shrinking in view of greed and development (Kingsolver, 2010). The story gives a re-affirmation that there is a need to realize and indulge the opportunities and power that nature and each in the society hold. The ‘anthill’ is a book that develops in a manner to promote the notion of a hero in the society of today.

Relation to the Course Material

This story brings into view the vitality of the environment to the society and the nature in the interaction of these two aspects. It brings forward the independent relationship the two have between each other hence their need to be moderate and considerate of each other.

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In line with the nature and pace of development in the modern world, the story brings to view the potential impact it has on the environment and the society. Consequentially, it reveals the dire need of the society to check itself and pace of development to sustain the environment and the society.

An emphasis on the value and interaction of education and the society is a well covered aspect in the story by Raff’s choice of further education despite his knowledge of science and nature. It is further echoed in his development into the society’s savior.


The ‘Anthill’ is a story that mirrors the behaviors and interactions of the individual, the society, and their environment. It brings to view the vitality of the individuals’ and the environment’s power in the development and welfare of the society.