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“Walking”

Thoreau discusses the text “Walking” in first person suggesting that he has written it from a personal experience through his own point of view. According to him walking isn’t an easy task as everybody would think, but it requires an expert. He claims you must be born in a family of walkers (Thoreau 261). When you walk, you are supposed to be completely absorbed by it, not caring about the direction you are taking, the miles you will walk, but all you have to do is admire it. According to him, “…sometimes it happens that I cannot easily shake off the village. The thought of some work will run in my head, and I am not where my body is…What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?” (264). It seems that he makes a very big effort to forget about the world even if it’s for a couple of hours, as if by doing so he will discover something that will change his life. When he cannot achieve it, it seems that he gets frustrated at his inability to not do it because it is reinforcing the idea that he is not a good walker which he tries to fight back.
According to Tuan, “Some people try to recapture the past” (188). This is seen with Thoreau who seems upset about the fact that the landscape that was once like a forest has started to change as people are cutting down the trees, and putting fences in the land that he used to walk through. He is so attached to his old memories which keep him from moving on, and accepting that people’s lives have changed. He keeps recalling the places he has revisited. By incorporating the map, it gives the reader an idea of the places he visits and why he doesn’t want it to change. He always goes from the east to the west which in the map it is showing as going from the village or clear spaces into the forest where nature exist. This map is like a symbol as it shows his movement not only away from civilization but also from present into the past. To the land, that he feels shouldn’t stop existing.

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“The Search for Marvin Gardens”

In “The Search for Marvin Gardens” we learn that the narrator is playing monopoly as the story starts out with the narrator rolling the dices and moving the right amount of spaces. The readers learns through the narrator’s constant flashbacks that this is not a regular monopoly game as all the places in the monopoly board do exist, and that the narrator has visited them at some point in his/her life. The narrator didn’t play the game once or twice but 2,248 in one season (McGhee, 12). This is symbolic because it is like his world revolved around it as he spent most of his time playing it, and visiting the actual places. He even ventures around to find the only place he has never visited Marvin Gardens. This story therefore relates to Tuan’s argument in the chapter “Visibility: the Creation of Place.” One of the reasons being, that the narrator only pays detailed attention to the places that were marked in the monopoly as he/she notices how people interact with each other on certain landscapes, and the physical details of how the places look like.
According to Tuan, “We may be deliberately searching for a landmark…” (161). The persona keeps asking people where the Marvin Gardens are but people tell him that they don’t know where it is. The narrator’s inability to find Marvin Gardens in real life foreshadows his defeat in the monopoly game as he lost because he couldn’t get it in the game either. After losing the game the persona finds out that it is the only place from the game that isn’t in Atlantic City but it is in New Jersey. It is a place where only middle class people live in.
According to Tuan, “A planner looking at the city may discern areas of distinctive physical and socioeconomic character; he calls them districts or neighborhoods and assigns them names if local ones don’t already exist” (169). The persona is like an explorer who is carefully observing the ghetto as the readers are informed that this place is has thousands of broken windows, and dogs are out in the street wondering in packs (McPhee14). This place is described as an unsafe place because of its physical characteristics, and the police car that is watching the area. By referring to that place as a ghetto there is a socioeconomic status being imposed on it as a place where minority people live in, the stereotype that those who live there are dangerous as they can be robbers, and very poor people.

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“Everyday Use”

Every body has family. The problem is that some people are proud of their ancestors and their lifestyle while others aren’t. The short fiction story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker main characters are the mother, Maggie, and Dee. The reader soon finds out through the mother’s point of view that Dee looks down on them while they are proud of the type of their lifestyle and ancestral history.
The mother and Maggie feel emotionally attached to their ancestors through the objects they have such as the quilts. On the other side is Dee who looked at the objects from an unattached way as she would judge them on whether or not they were cute enough to decorate her home. Dee changed her name to Wangero because she didn’t want to feel attached to her African American ancestors who were once slaves. She took the quilts which had being created by her mother, Grandma Dee and Big Dee. In both quilts there were pieces of Grandma Dee clothes, a little blue piece of cloth from Great grandpa Ezra’s civil war uniform (Walker 460). Those pieces of clothes had ancestral history as they had a little part of family members who had died. According to Tuan, “Athenians took great pride in being natives, in the fact that they could trace their long and noble lineage in one locality” (154). The mother seeing that Dee didn’t value it from an emotional point but rather a decorative object, she revealed against it by telling Dee that she was going to give it to Maggie who was someone who was proud of her history and who had spent time with Grandma Dee and Big Dee learning how to quilt. Maggie could trace her memories with her family as she spent time with them which shows that she had pride of descending from African Americans as she wanted to learn their way of life.
Both the mother and Maggie show an attachment to their homeland. This is shown at the beginning of the story when the house burns down and both sisters have different reactions to that event. Maggie on one side is clinging on to her mother as she sees the house burn down. This is symbolic in the sense that she doesn’t want to let go of her memories or family as she holds tightly to her mother. This is not the end of the world for her because Tuan says, “With the destruction of one “center of the world,” another can be built next to it, or in another location altogether, and it in turn becomes the “center of the world”” (150). Even though she had sadness at that moment, later on she got to live in another one which was about the same size. After getting used to that place she could once more feel at home. On the other hand is Dee who appeared to be happy, as it can be inferred from the tone of the mother as she wanted to say “Why don’t you do a dance around the ashes?” (Walker 456). This shows that Dee didn’t really feel attached to that house where she spent her childhood as there wasn’t any sadness in her face. Since she didn’t really have any emotional connection to one place, she didn’t have it to the other because her shame for her family was so great, that it didn’t allow her to form any emotional ties to that particular land.

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The Lottery Idea Map

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“The Things They Carried”

            Tim O’Brien wrote a short story, “The Things They Carried” with the main character Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, who is 24 years old, and at a war in Vietnam. He carries pictures and letters from Martha whom he loves but feels she doesn’t love him. Martha is an English major at Mount Sebastian. She never mentions in her letters war but rather includes poetry lines (599). The physical distance between them shows that they have different concerns and that they worry about different things. While she is worrying about keeping her grades up, he has to take care of the soldiers’ lives.

            Jimmy Cross and Martha went to see a movie when he touched her knee, she looked at him with sadness which symbolizes a twist the story has (O’Brien 597). Her sad expression is symbolic in the sense that he doesn’t love her as he used to since he accuses the love he feels for her, as an enemy, which attacks and takes soldiers lives away. Her sadness is not only for herself but also for him because now he is going to change his personality to become an uncompassionate, strict leader who pushes his group to the limits.

Cross became distracted on April 16 while they were on a mission in Than Khe to destroy complex tunnels. He was thinking of Martha, of both of them buried alive in the tunnel. He dreamed of her being a virgin, and learning of her intimate secrets. He couldn’t break away from such pleasant thoughts and see if the surrounding area was secure even though it was too quiet which should be something suspicious. As a result of not taking the precautions required, Lavender, one of the soldiers got shot and died (O’Brien 600-601). In Tuan’s chapter, “Intimate Experience of Place” there is an idea brought up by Hannah, “My heart was now darken by grief…My eyes kept looking for him without finding him. I hated all the places where we used to meet, because they could no longer say to me, ‘Look, here he comes’…” (140). This is seen with Cross who feels that as a result of his thoughts wondering off, he caused a death of someone when it could have being prevented. As a result he hates himself and Martha for being the one in his head (O’Brien 602). He is not going to be able to bring that life back to life and therefore must be consciously aware that someone from his own group died, and that it was like if he was the one who pulled the trigger.

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“Death by Landscape”

            Lois kept looking back to the event that shaped her whole life as a way of reexamining that particular event and see if she could figure-out what happened. According to Tuan, “…when we look inward (that is, introspect) we are likely to reminisce the past…“source”…all convey the idea of beginning and of past time” (126). This is seen with Lois who after twenty years of continually thinking to herself why Cappie made her feel like she was the one responsible for her best friend’s death. After thinking about it for so many years she realized that Cappie wanted her to be the one who pushed Lucy off the cliff. The reason being that thinking of it that way would help Cappie cope with the idea that after so many years of effort, her campsite was going to be closed down (Atwood 116). The source of Lois not living her life to the fullest was that particular event which marked the beginning of her new life but also marked a horrific past. That terrible past, made her feel like she was responsible for Lucy’s death, and that everybody accused her of it. Her conscience didn’t let her enjoy her children as she was absent minded most part of her life.

             Lois is fascinated by the types of emotions that the paintings in her apartment create. According to Tuan, “Every perspective landscape painting or photograph teaches us to see time “flowing” through space…Both the past and the future can be evoked by the distant scene” (124). This can be seen with Lois who after losing her friend in the Lookout point, a high cliff surrounded by woods. Nobody knows what happened to Lucy. All Lois knows is that it was probably her fault for leaving her alone. Now, every time she sees the paintings of the island, cliff, river shore, or the trees she sees Lucy. These particular places aren’t random but relate to past experiences they had together. It was as if Lucy could enjoy the past once more by just looking at the pictures which would bring past memories of both of them. The paintings generated a sense of freedom for Lois as she feels that Lucy is in those paintings that in the future she is still going to be there as an alive person.

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“Architectural Space and Awareness” and “Babylon Revisited”

            The main character of the story is Charles J. Wales who is 35 years old. He has deep wrinkle between his eyes but when he was about to ring the bell, his wrinkle got even deeper. This reflects the emotional pressure he felt when he was about to step out of his own personal world into an unknown one, at his brother-in-law house. This is due to the awareness he has about being an “insider” or “outsider”. According to Tuan, your feelings change depending on whether or not you are inside or outside a place where you are either exposed or feel privacy (107). This is seen with Charles who felt as an insider within his own body as long as he didn’t have to deal with people from his past such as his wife’s sister. He felt free of any type of pressure or judgment. He felt as if he was “outside” of a place even though his body was physically inside because he felt his personal space was being invaded by his bother-in-law and his wife. He didn’t feel the privacy you usually feel when you step inside your home, where you can act any way you want. Instead he had to be very cautious about what he could and couldn’t do there because his actions could be misinterpreted. In other words he didn’t feel welcome.

            He went to visit his small daughter named Honoria who lived with his brother-in-law in France. Marion who has the custody of the child has a very bad impression of him as being a cruel person who made her sister’s life miserable. On top of that he was an alcoholic. He faces the challenge of convincing Marion that he overcame his addiction. He also has to prove to her that he is an emotionally stable person. Tuan says, “He was the master builder, a man of vision and temperament who did not hesitate to impose his own personality on design” (105). This is seen when Charles was irritated with Marion but controlled his anger toward her to the degree that she couldn’t know how he was feeling. By doing this she wouldn’t have the upper hand. This was a strategic move from his side as he built up his status in front of Marion and her husband just like you build a house through planning. Now she saw him as a person who was down to earth.

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