“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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