As we discussed at the end of class today, think in terms of covering the various aspects of the final paper in the following way:
Introduce your particular, literal “place/space” (which will also serve as an introduction to the broader category–“house,” “city,” “landscape,” etc.–that you’ll analyze in relation to the short stories) by describing it through an experiential perspective. (*Think ahead to how you want to discuss this place in the literary analyses that your paper will feature when crafting your experiential introduction.)
Provide a history of the place. Your research can include interviews with people about the origin/structure/uses of the place or information you’ve found in archived newspaper articles online as well as more traditional scholarly research material you’ve located in books or articles; try starting with “Google Scholar” if you’re aiming for a more academic historical account like one of “women’s private spaces in 19th century American homes.” (*Think about using McPhee’s essay as one model for how to move between a current experiential perspective and a more historical overview.)
Mention how this history makes the place/space one that particular authors have recognized as having experiential importance, which you’ll then develop in your analysis of how this place/space factors into a couple of short stories.
Describe the experiential perspective an author provides (through a character/narrator) in each respective story. Then explain how this experience in the space/place proves crucial to interpreting the overall significance of the story. (*Think back to your own experiential perspective in this type of place in order to critique, osberve similarities between, and comment on differences among these authors depictions of this space or place.)
Try your best to satisfy all these aims in your draft for this Tuesday, May 3rd (please come prepared with three copies for classmate interviews). Also, please use this post as a message board. Talk to each other. If I’ve written something you find confusing, post a comment about it asking for clarification. If you read a comment that you think you understand or have a response to, comment back! (No need to wait for me to answer you. Address all your posts to the group.)
Featured blogs for the week are also posted below. Please comment on one of those, too. You may include responses and questions about the next paper in the same comment. If you have not been reading others comments on the weekly blog posts, this is the weekend to do it!
Wishing you a productive four days and looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday,
Blog #1: “The Search for Marvin Gardens”
In Tuan’s chapter “Visibility: the Creation of Place”, he analyzes that some particular architectures, landmarks and places can be visible in different meanings. With this idea, the theme of “The Search for Marvin Gardens” by John McPhee can be classified. McPhee mentions that the narrator plays the monopoly with his friends and he describes all the details about the avenue, railroad, jail, hotels, houses and cash flow on the game board. Based on each of particular streets and avenues, the narrator has flashback about the historic event in the past that he has encountered. He has being impacted by those places when his friend or he has related to the game dealing with the building a hotel or earning the interest rate of renting.
Tuan mentions that “Each pause is time enough to create an image of place that looms large momentarily in our view” (161). This reveals when some place is visible to people, it records the memories of individuals to make the connection between the present and the past in the same familiar location. In the game of monopoly, the names of those avenues and streets are familiar to the narrator and it is significant to him either he has been visited or he has heard from someone. Also, Tuan tells that “The street where one lives is part of one’s intimate experience. The larger unit, neighborhood, is a concept” (170). The concept of one’s experience can be shared with the visible places. People get experience from each other when they have been to those places and classify the concept of experiences as the neighborhood including all events, individuals and materials. It is like the narrator mentions about the things of his friend when his friend occupies an avenue in the game.
Blog #2: “Construction of a Neighborhood”
Officials always have more powers than the average citizen, so it is no surprise that officials also have the ability to create places both physically and figuratively. Tuan writes, “Scientists thus appear to have a certain power: they can create a place by pointing their official fingers at one body of water rather than another” (162). Scientists achieve legitimacy through facts and research, but the government is able to name places without any merit aside from ownership. Often, streets are named after modern heroes and important figures of history. In “The Search for Marvin Gardens” the creator of
Atlantic City is the one to name the streets, “No one ever challenged the name, or the names of Osborne’s streets” (McPhee 11). Then Darrow creates monopoly with one addition: Marvin Gardens. Creators have the utmost power when it comes to naming a place. Since places are an unique experience to each individual, we create our own space that we associate with the place; we are also creators of place, hence we name places. Local places may be described by child by its local stores rather than its landmarks. We may refer to a place’s location relative to another place that is more commonly known, similarly to how we use street signs. We use street signs to give a universally understood location, but these directions are meaningless if one does not understand how the system works, where one can give more easily understood directions by describing the surroundings. However, descriptions of surroundings become vague when more than one locale is found elsewhere. The creation of a neighborhood begins with the intimate experiences of a place. Tuan writes, “The sentiment one has for the local street corner does not automatically expand in the course of time to cover the entire neighborhood” (170). Sentiment for a neighborhood is often lacking, since the knowledge of neighborhood is also lacking thought. One does not often recall their neighborhood unless pressed about it, also making the neighborhood undefined until pressed for a definition.