“Walking” vs The Epilogue

Nicki Esposito

“Walking” vs. Epilogue

The essay “Walking” by Henry Thoreau was written with a very simple point of view; the narrator, whom dedicates much of his day to walking through the forest, is more than content doing just that. It is when people begin to change things on him when he starts to feel he is losing control.
The narrator is more or less a very simplistic person who is not ready for change. He walks everyday through the forest not being able to understand how people do not. “I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that- sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements… When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shoekeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them, – as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not stand or walk upon, – I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago” (Thoreau 262). One can see that the narrator is very passionate about his way of life. He is disturbed by the thought of people corrupting the wild. “Nowadays almost all man’s improvements, so called, as the building of houses, and the cutting down of the forest and of all large trees, simply deform the landscape and make it more and more tame and cheap” (Thoreau 264). He has a very negative outlook on the changes that are being made.
“Skills once learned are as natural to us as breathing. Above all, we are oriented” (Tuan199). I believe that since walking through nature has become a way of life for the narrator, it is equivalent to what Tuan calls a skill. The narrator has become oriented in his way of life and is not ready for change whatsoever. It is very natural for him to wake up and experience the things he experiences every day. If this were to abruptly change, he’d be very upset about the new way of life.

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featured blog comment

The first blog sheds light on many of the ideas that I believe John McPhee was trying to get across in the essay “The Search for Marvin Gardens”. I can appreciate the quotes the blogger used from Tuan. They were very specific to the point of this essay. Sometimes when I read Tuan, whether it be before or after the short story, I find it very hard to join together a quote and how it has a deeper meaning in the story. I feel that the blogger, and my other classmates, find this process easier. This makes me grateful for the featured blogs that appear each week because I can now tie the two pieces of work (Tuan and the story of the week) together. I think the blogger did a fantastic job with reflecting on the two.

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rough draft essay 3

Nicki Esposito

May 3, 2011

English 162W – Professor Zino

Bethpage: for Better or for Worse

Bethpage is a very small town where only 16,543 Long Islanders call home, to be exact. Outsiders looking in would say that Bethpage is a very small town with many people bustling about looking very perfect all in its own way, and as an insider I’d agree with that statement, but there is more to this town that meets the eye.

Bethpage is probably most known for Grumman, home of the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) which landed on the moon, the F-14 Tomcat, and many other creations designed by the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation. Grumman is a very important part of our country’s history and I am honored to say that I reside in a town that is so well known for such an astonishing accomplishment.

Approximately 4.3 miles from Grumman is another marvelous component of my town; The Bethpage Golf Course which features none other than our famous Black Course. It was ranked third-best course in the country by NYGolfShuttle.com and was chosen for the 2002 and 2009 Golf U.S. Open. Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, K.J. Choi and many other well known golfers stepped foot in our small, humble town during the weeks of the U.S. Open turning Bethpage into a very populated town with many people buzzing about. It was very exciting to see so many people taking pictures and exploring Bethpage as if our very familiar town became

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famous over night. It felt as if I was proud to live in Bethpage, a place that on a day to day basis struck me personally as an ordinary place.

Normality is something revisited often here in my hometown. For all the days of the year that something spectacular like a U.S. Open, or finding out that the LEM has landed on the moon, does not happened, Bethpage feels very ordinary. In fact, I remember how many of my class mates and friends in high school repeated over and over again how they cannot wait to get out of the “Bethpage Bubble”-how they were all ready to move on with their lives and leave this little town. It seems funny that although there are so many wonderful aspects of the town, many people are ready to just move on from a town that has been nothing but inviting to them.

The name Bethpage Bubble got its name because of the way the town operates. It is very small and is a place where everyone knows everyone. There is a good chance that your mother had the same English teacher as you and your grandmother – which is hard to believe but is true! People from Bethpage all know each other’s business because the town is so tiny. Between children playing on the same basketball teams, men coaching and spectating together, mothers standing on the side lines gossiping, it’s no wonder everyone knows everyone else’s business. This aspect of Bethpage reminds me a lot of the town from “The Lottery”, by Shirley Jackson. For the most part, everyone knew each other for a very long time. “The women, wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly after their menfolk. They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands” (Jackson 247). Even the children would play with each other, “The children assembled first, of course… they tended to gather together quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play” (Jackson 247). It is

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interesting to see how both towns have very similar family dynamics, but from my experience, the relationships made with other people that are sharing the common space with you, is what makes a place for me my place and something that I hold dear to me. According to Tuan, “To the local people sense of place is promoted not only by their settlement’s physical circumscription in space” (Tuan 166). This correlates to Bethpage and the town in “The Lottery”, because it is not just the physical sense of a town that makes the town’s people very close-knit, but it is what the people do together that helps form relationships. Unfortunately, for the townsmen of “The Lottery”, they were all gathering and in each other’s presence for a negative reason.

It is obvious to us that the Lottery only takes place once a year. Even though the community has gotten together for a solemn reason, it is understood that they enjoy each other’s company all year long as well. It is because of how small the community in “The Lottery” is that the people living there are so close to each other. “Living constantly in a small, close-knit group tends to curtail the enlargement of human sympathy in two antipodal directions: toward one pole, an intimacy between unique individuals that transcends camaraderie and kinship ties; and toward the other, a generalized concern for human welfare everywhere” (Tuan 65). This quote perfectly correlates to the town in “The Lottery” because the only reason why all of the townsmen are affected by the actual lottery is because they are all part of one community which decided a long time ago to take place in this tradition of stoning one person a year to death. If these same people did not live within that community, their families would have most likely had different fates. On the other hand, Tuan also states that living amongst each other creates camaraderie and kinship ties which are valid as well. The families of the town in “The Lottery” are obviously

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close-knit because like mentioned before, the children go to school together and the men are friends just as the women are.

The story states “The lottery was conducted – as were the square dances, the teenage club, the Halloween program – by Mr. Summers, who had time and energy to devote to civic activities” (Jackson 248). In Bethpage, there is a man, who went by the name Howie Vogts, or as most liked to call him, Coach, who was a lot like Mr. Summers. Howie Vogts was practically a legend of Bethpage. “Vogts never had children. Yet after 56 years of coaching football in this working-class Nassau town, an entire community looked at the coach with fatherly respect” (lipulse.com).

He was always the man in charge of everything whether it was baseball registrations, the cheerleading competitions, the junior high Valentine’s Day dance or the annual Ho-Ho-Ho-a-thon during Christmas time. Howie did it all and was loved by many people. Although he took pride in everything that he did for my town, there was one extra-curricular that he enjoyed immensely – football. He coached the high school varsity team for 56 years attending each and every game. He was so passionate about football, which actually was and still is a very big part of our community to this day, although Howie recently passed on. Bethpage may be known for Grumman and our Black Course, but if you did not regularly attend varsity football games regularly, there must have been a good excuse as to why.

In a way, one may say that football has brought the townsmen of Bethpage together for the better. We created a group through football and through Howie Vogts, just like the people from the town in “The Lottery” created a group of their own community through Mr. Summers.

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He is what brought the town together through the many activities they do there. Even the lottery itself was somewhat of an enjoyable event that people gathered for. If the person to be stoned was not part of your own family there was nothing for them to worry about and the people continued talking with friends and the kids continued to play in the dirt. “A distinction that all people recognize is between “us” and “them”. We are here; we are this happy breed of men. They are there; they are not fully human and they live in that place. Member within the we-group are close to each other, and they are distant from members of the outside (they) group” (Tuan 50). The bond shared between my hometown is not the same that I have with people from other towns. They are from a different tradition as I am, which does not mean that I cannot be friends with a person from another town, it just creates differences in certain aspects. I know that in Bethpage I always have a friend for the mere fact that we share a lot of the same traditions together.

Both Bethpage and the town from “The Lottery” followed a tradition that has been kept up with for many years. In the case of “The Lottery”, there tradition was a lot more serious than the tradition of Bethpage, but both were ran by their town’s leader. The tradition of my town is an annual football game that takes place at the high school. It is called “Bretton Bowl” and started over 22 years ago. When it started, the rules were that the high school football players versed whoever was up for the challenge. The town would try to create a team that would beat the varsity players, but often times failed. The game was started as a fundraiser for the needy people of Bethpage. The first game collected $3,100. Now, two decades later, our Bretton Bowl brings in over $40,000. Having this football game each year really brings the community together each and every time. The rules have slightly changed throughout the years; it is no

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longer varsity vs. the community. Instead both teams are mixed with high school players and townsmen. Although, the rules have changed over time, it still raises the money necessary for the needy. Just like the lottery, rules change over time. Both towns take part in traditions and for the most part do not know where they begin. Unfortunately, the townsmen of “The Lottery” follow the traditions for the wrong reason and hopefully over time, their tradition will change for the better.

Bethpage has many wonderful qualities that surpass the smaller amount of bad qualities. So far all you know about Bethpage is the football games, the Ho-Ho-Ho-a-thon, Grumman, and the Black Course. That all sounds well and good, but there are other concerning parts of Bethpage that are not up to par. For instance, there is a sufficient enough amount of drugs within our community to be recognized, there is usually about one or two pregnant teens in high school each year, unfortunately, there is also usually one or more fatal car accidents each year in which our town continuously mourns, and on top of all of that there is plenty of violence and sex offenders within the small radius of our town. This town is not all it is cracked up to be honestly.

Sometimes people are born in Bethpage and feel that it is necessary to live here their whole lives as if they owe it to the town to stay. Others move away the second their high school graduation caps hit the floor feeling as if they had been trapped in the Bethpage Bubble forever. As you can see, the camaraderie of Bethpage does not suit everyone. This is very similar to what we have observed in the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula Le Guin. The narrator of the story also tells a story of what seems to be a somewhat perfect town, describing many festivities that take place there. But later on in the story, we as readers are

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being persuaded that not every part of Omelas is perfect. There is a little boy imprisoned in a broom closet for most of his life in the basement of a beautiful building of Omelas. Almost all of the townsmen know about the little boy yet still participate in the festivities as if there was nothing wrong. “All the processions wound towards the north side of the city, where on the great water-meadow called the Green Fields boys and girls, naked in the bright air, with mud-stained feet and ankles and long , lithe arms, exercised their restive horses before the race” (Le Guin 243). It seemed as if there was nothing wrong, as if the horrible things of both Bethpage and Omelas were all just facades and the excitement of the everyday things covered up the negativity.

Tuan states, “Given the sight and the power to move and handle things, sounds greatly enrich the human feeling for space” (14). The town of Omelas seems to be a very joyous place just by listening to the surroundings. The story opens up with a very enticing sentence – “With a clamor of bells that set the swallows soaring, the Festival of Summer came to the city… In other streets, the music beat faster, a shimmering of gong and tambourine, and the people went dancing, the procession was a dance” (Le Guin 242). Bethpage sounds just as wonderful on the day of a football game; the marching band is playing loud and boisterously, people are chanting throughout the games, and foghorns sporadically go off all in good cheer. It seems as if this is what makes up my memories of Bethpage, similarly to how the narrator feels about Omelas. This is what I will remember for the rest of my life as my hometown. It is where I grew up and whether I stay here for the rest of my life or not, I will always have that feeling etched inside of my memory.

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Now, like I mentioned earlier, some people cannot reside in Bethpage forever. Some yearn to leave and want nothing to do with it for very long periods of time. Similarly, many people of Omelas long to leave because they cannot stand the fact that there is a little boy being neglected in the basement of a building. Instead of fixing the problem at hand, they give up on their own town and leave. People of Bethpage that leave as soon as they are done with high school do the same thing. They give up on the town that has been their home forever. They do not work on the problem at hand, whether it be drugs, or violence or even if the problem is that everyone is too close and knows everybody else’s problems – they just give up and leave. It is interesting enough to note that the ones who walk away from Bethpage do not come back for a very long time.

My hometown has a lot of wonderful things to offer with a lot of wonderful people to offer it to you. Although most of the time, these things are all well and good, there is that grey area where things may seem a bit unimpressive. Bethpage is not the only town that has these qualities, the town from “The Lottery” does and so does Omelas. All in all, Bethpage is a part of what I do on a daily basis and is a big part of who I am today.

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Bibliography

http://www.nygolfshuttle.com/bethpage.htm

http://www.lipulse.com/blog/article/howie-vogts-and-his-football-legacy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethpage,_New_York

http://www.antonnews.com/farmingdaleobserver/1998/01/09/news/

Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery”. An Introduction to Fiction. eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Print.

Le Guin, Ursula K., “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”. An Introduction to Fiction. eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Print.

Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Tuan, Yi-Fu.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977. Print.

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“The Search For Marvin Gardens”

Nicole Esposito

“The Search For Marvin Gardens” by John McPhee is an overview of how the creator of the well-known board game Monopoly was made. It discusses the various cities and street names that the game is made up of and how these spots on the board came to be. It is interesting to read because growing up playing Monopoly, you constantly repeat the names of the streets used in the game, and you use them in everyday language not thinking twice about what Illinois Avenue is really like and in what city it is in. This excerpt sheds light on many of these sort of questions that were always overlooked.
Throughout the excerpt, the creator of Monopoly, Charles B. Darrow goes to the many different areas of Atlantic City, New Jersey to find out where the names of the board game came from. He is curious to find Marvin Gardens because he, nor anyone else in Atlantic City seem to know where it is. Throughout this journey he takes to find Marvin Gardens, he learns about the other places.
The railroads from the game are actually real railroads that helped establish Atlantic City years ago. “The railroads, crucial to any player, were the making of Atlantic City. After the rails were down, houses and hotels burgeoned from Mediterranean and Baltic to New York and Kentucky” (McPhee 11). This correlates to how beneficial the actual railroad system in real life was for Atlantic City to how beneficial the railroads were in the game of Monopoly. “Most places are not such deliberate creations. They are built to satisfy practical needs” (Tuan 166). This is exactly what the railroads did, they helped connect Atlantic City to other cities so people could travel there. This was key to the rise of Atlantic City, just like how the four railroads of the game were key to making money and to give you a better chance at winning the game or monopolizing the entire board.

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featured post due:4/28

Both featured posts this week were very captivating, so much so that I could not choose only on to write about. In reading the first post, I agreed with a lot that the blogger chose to write about. I do believe that Victor had a very strong emotional and financial attachment to the compound and that the religion aspect of Tuan’s chapter proves how one may become attached to a place because of the “highers-up”. This had Victor constantly returning back to the reservation throughout his life.
On the other hand, the second featured post spoke about how Victor was not completely attached to the compound, because of the weak relationships he made with the surrounding people (Thomas). The blogger wrote about how relationships within the community can attach people to a homeland and that the stronger the relationships, the more attached they feel and visa versa.
These are two very different approaches to the story “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” yet I still agree with both views.

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“This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” vs. “Attachment to Homeland”

Nicole Esposito
It is very interesting how “Attachment to Homeland” in Tuan relates to the story “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” by Sherman Alexie. The story by Alexie is about a man named Victor who needs to leave his Indian reservation to go to Phoenix, Arizona to gather his father and his father’s belongings, whom just passed away. The reservation did not have enough money to lend Victor to even buy a plane ticket, they only were able to give him $100. Victor accepted the small amount of money and figured he would try to find a way to get the rest of his money needed. An old, forgiving friend of his, Thomas, offered to help Victor with his money problem, as long as he could go with Victor. Again, Victor desperately accepted and off they went.
Throughout their trip, we learn of the Indian reservation where both of them grew up, we learn about memories of their childhood, what was important to them then, and what is important to them now, and they remembered both good and bad things about Victor’s father. By taking this trip together, I think they both learned a lot about each other and their surroundings.
Tuan states that “Home is at the center of an astronomically determined spatial system. A vertical axis, linking heaven to the underworld, passes through it. The stars are perceived to move around one’s abode; home is the focal point of a cosmic structure” (Tuan 149). Throughout the story “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”, the narrator touches upon all of these elements that Tuan brings up. The reservation is all the two men are familiar with, it is their home where they were born and raised, and at the end of the day, that is where they lie down to rest. They all know each other there as if they are one big family. While Victor was speaking to Thomas for the first time, he was slightly embarrassed because he thought everybody was going to make fun of him for talking to Thomas. “All the other Indians stared, surprised that Victor was even talking to Thomas. Nobody talked to Thomas anymore because he told the same damn stories over and over again.. Victor was embarrassed, but he thought Thomas might be able to help him” (Alexie 475). This just proves that everyone in their reservation knows enough about each other because they are all very close to each other, even if they are not fond with everyone.
The situation that Thomas is in is also linked to “heaven by a vertical axis”, according to Tuan, because one of the story’s main focal points is death. Victor’s father died, and now his son and one of his friends from childhood is reminiscing about good times they had with him. When one dies, it is said that you either go to heaven or hell, which is on Tuan’s “vertical axis”.
The stars are also mentioned in this story. One Fourth of July, when Victor and Thomas were younger, they walked home together in the darkness. There were streetlamps at the time and Thomas brought up in conversation about how they were lucky to have street lamps and how their society has come a long way (technologically) and Victor said “All I need is the stars… And besides, you still think about things too much” (Alexie 476). I think that this statement showed how the boys grew up in the reservation and were there throughout changes that were made within the reservation. They experienced a lot together, and they experienced a lot with their community. This is what makes a hometown or a “homeland” come together as one.

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final copy of paper 2

Nicole Esposito 1
March 31, 2011
Professor Zino
English 162W
Traditionally Ignorant
Traditions are very vital to a community and have much say in the people’s lives that live there. For the most part, a tradition is thought of as a special belief or custom, but one may also consider a tradition detrimental to a community for various reasons. In the story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, the traditions of a small village in New England were unfavorable to the townsmen. Ironically, the people of the village had only been practicing this tradition because it is all they had ever known, but were too stubborn to change their ways. It was unnecessary to continue practicing this lifestyle, but their ignorance would not let them reject the ways of this tradition.
Each year, on June 27, a head family member from each family of the village would pick a piece of paper out of an old black box. Only one of those pieces of papers had a black dot on it. The head family member who had chosen the piece of paper with the dot on it, unfortunately has to draw from the box again, except this time each member of their family had to choose and it was solely that family that was choosing. Whoever chose the black dotted paper this go around would be cruelly stoned to death by the people they had once lived amongst. It seems very peculiar while reading this story
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because the villagers seem to make light of such a serious and horrifying situation. Even the children took part in the activities. “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix… eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys” (Jackson 247). One may get the feeling that the children take this situation more as a game than as a very serious and scary situation, only because they are too young to know any better, of course.
As an outsider, it is hard to imagine a child collecting rocks with other children so they can kill someone with them. You must be thinking, where are their parents? Surprisingly, the parents are the ones teaching them this. This is how the tradition gets passed down from generation to generation. If you are raised on certain beliefs, you grow up to believe there is nothing wrong with what you do. No one thinks anything is wrong with this tradition until they are the chosen one, of course. Mrs. Tessie Hutchinson, a mother and wife, had been the chosen one this time around. She begged to not be stoned. She screamed “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right” (Jackson 252). Mrs. Hutchinson was terrified for her life. She thought of any excuses that she could to try to make Mr. Summers rethink the tradition for once. Mrs. Hutchinson tried to make a point, “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!” (Jackson 251). The end of the story leaves us assuming that Mrs. Hutchinson was indeed
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stoned to death, with her fellow villagers, husband and son all taking part in the actual stoning.
There was reasoning behind this tradition, though. It was believed by stoning one person once a year through this lottery, all the crops would grow and the harvest for that year would be plentiful. It is brought to our attention that other villages also took part in this event, but did away with the tradition after some time. “”Some places have already quit lotteries,” Mrs. Adams said. “Nothing but trouble in that,” Old Man Warner said stoutly. “Pack of young fools.”” (Jackson 250). Mr. Summers was more or less the head of the lottery itself and was one of the people who had the say in whether they follow the tradition as a whole or not.
By following the tradition for so long, it has become what Tuan likes to call a “mythical space” to the village people. “Mythical space is the spatial component of a world view, a conception of localized values within which people carry on their practical values” (Tuan 86). The people of this specific village in New England all have one uniform view on stoning people. Whether they understand why they take place in the actual stoning or not, they are still partaking in it, thus it is considered a mythical space for them.
A mythical space can have a lot to do with what one believes in and what morals one has. A lot of times people can act on their values, just like the people in “The
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Lottery” act on theirs. Therefore, it has a lot of the same characteristics as a religion. In fact, there are certain factors of this story that are symbolic of God. The three-legged stool that the black box is placed upon specifically referred to its three legs and not a more common four-legged stool. The number three represents the Trinity in the Christian faith; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This idea exemplifies that God supports the lottery that takes place in the village each year, in correlation to the stool supporting the box physically.
Clifford Geertz, a cultural anthropologist, states “[Religious rituals are symbolic actions that] establish powerful, pervasive, long-lasting moods and motivations in men” (Geertz 59). Geertz provides us with his view on religion by breaking down religion into two main parts; mood and motivation. “Motivations are “made meaningful” with reference to the ends toward which they are conceived to conduce, whereas moods are “made meaningful” with reference to the conditions from which they are conceived to spring” (Geertz 62). “When present they are totalistic: if one is sad everything and everybody seems dreary” (Geertz 62). This is true about “The Lottery” as well, it is a very totalistic idea that everyone from the village needs to take part in this event. They even have somewhat of a general headcount that Mr. Summers takes into account before they begin picking pieces of papers from the box. “But this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours” (Jackson

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247). Low and behold, all three hundred townsmen showed up to the lottery later that afternoon.
The light-heartedness of such a serious matter may strike the reader as unbelievable, but the townspeople were so used to the idea of stoning someone once a year that it was second nature to them. The lightness of this situation is symbolic of the ignorance the group as a whole had about this entire ordeal. Although they may have considered such an antic as a religion, they were only doing it because no one knew what life was like without the lottery. There was room to end this tradition, but Old Man Warner, which was previously mentioned, would not let go of such an event. As a whole, the village was very stubborn and naïve. The villagers were told what to do, and without question, they obeyed this way of life. No one had any drive to research the reasoning behind taking part in the lottery each year, thus each year the lottery occurred. If they had, they may have only come to find that there was no real correlation between the death of one life and a plentiful harvest.
Davy Hutchinson represents the townspeople as a whole. He stands for the ignorance of the villagers and the fact that a life is being taken away for no good reason. The people have not yet strayed away from the majority’s belief of this tradition because of how naïve they are.

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Besides the three-legged stool and Davy Hutchinson, there is yet another symbol in this story. Old Man Warner represents the stubbornness of the actual lottery. The fact that he won’t change the tradition, like other villages already have, just goes to show how foolish it really is to kill someone over a belief that has no factual evidence behind it. Then again, this is why Geertz considers it a religious value that they all share; because this is a belief that will stay in this village no matter how hard one person tries to get rid of it. It will never die out.
The symbolism in “The Lottery” is used to discover the ways the townspeople practice and believe in their own traditions. Geertz and Tuan help us label their beliefs further by narrowing what we now know into something many call religion. It is through theme that we realize the villagers will never reject their tradition of the lottery because of the ignorance that lies within the community as a whole.

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featured blog comment for “The Things They Carried”

In blog number two, I noticed that the author didn’t summarize the story at all, which I tend to do almost every blog. The author of the second blog also spent the entirety of their response relating Tuan’s ideas of “intimate space, place and experiences” to “The Things They Carried” regarding Lieutenant Cross’ love for Martha. Since the blogger focused mainly on how much Lieutenant Cross love and adored Martha, it leads me to believe that while this person was reading the story, they may have thought the overall theme was love. I, on the other hand, thought that lust, which is on the same page as love, was a main part of the story, but not the actual theme. I felt that it took ‘lust’ to make Lieutenant Cross realize how much the men he was fighting with relied on him to be their leader. It was because he knew him and Martha were never going to be together, that he dedicated himself to the war and his men. Cross also realized just how foolish he was being in the first place to let Martha distract him enough to let one of his men be killed under his watch.

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rough draft paper 2

Nicole Esposito 1
March 31, 2011
Professor Zino
English 162W
Traditionally Ignorant
Traditions are very vital to a community and have much say in the people’s lives that live there. For the most part, a tradition is thought of as a special belief or custom, but one may also consider a tradition detrimental to a community for various reasons. In the story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, the traditions of a small village in New England were unfavorable to the townsmen. Ironically, the people of the village had only been practicing this tradition because it is all they had ever known, but were too stubborn to change their ways. It was unnecessary to continue practicing this lifestyle, but their ignorance would not let them reject the ways of this tradition.
Each year, on June 27, a head family member from each family of the village would pick a piece of paper out of an old black box. Only one of those pieces of papers had a black dot on it. The head family member who had chosen the piece of paper with the dot on it, unfortunately has to draw from the box again, except this time each member of their family had to choose and it was solely that family that was choosing. Whoever chose the black dotted paper this go around would be cruelly stoned to death by the people they had once lived amongst. It seems very peculiar while reading this story
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because the villagers seem to make light of such a serious and horrifying situation. Even the children took part in the activities. “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix… eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys” (Jackson 247). One may get the feeling that the children take this situation more as a game than as a very serious and scary situation, only because they are too young to know any better, of course.
As an outsider, it is hard to imagine a child collecting rocks with other children so they can kill someone with them. You must be thinking, where are their parents? Surprisingly, the parents are the ones teaching them this. This is how the tradition gets passed down from generation to generation. If you are raised on certain beliefs, you grow up to believe there is nothing wrong with what you do. No one thinks anything is wrong with this tradition until they are the chosen one, of course. Mrs. Tessie Hutchinson, a mother and wife, had been the chosen one this time around. She begged to not be stoned. She screamed “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right” (Jackson 252). Mrs. Hutchinson was terrified for her life. She thought of any excuses that she could to try to make Mr. Summers rethink the tradition for once. Mrs. Hutchinson tried to make a point, “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!” (Jackson 251). The end of the story leaves us assuming that Mrs. Hutchinson was indeed
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stoned to death, with her fellow villagers, husband and son all taking part in the actual stoning.
There was reasoning behind this tradition, though. It was believed by stoning one person once a year through this lottery, all the crops would grow and the harvest for that year would be plentiful. It is brought to our attention that other villages also took part in this event, but did away with the tradition after some time. “”Some places have already quit lotteries,” Mrs. Adams said. “Nothing but trouble in that,” Old Man Warner said stoutly. “Pack of young fools.”” (Jackson 250). Mr. Summers was more or less the head of the lottery itself and was one of the people who had the say in whether they follow the tradition as a whole or not.
By following the tradition for so long, it has become what Tuan likes to call a “mythical space” to the village people. “Mythical space is the spatial component of a world view, a conception of localized values within which people carry on their practical values” (Tuan 86). The people of this specific village in New England all have one uniform view on stoning people. Whether they understand why they take place in the actual stoning or not, they are still partaking in it, thus it is considered a mythical space for them.
A mythical space can have a lot to do with what one believes in and what morals one has. A lot of times people can act on their values, just like the people in “The
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Lottery” act on theirs. Therefore, it has a lot of the same characteristics as a religion. In fact, there are certain factors of this story that are symbolic of God. The three-legged stool that the black box is placed upon specifically referred to its three legs and not a more common four-legged stool. The number three represents the Trinity in the Christian faith; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This idea exemplifies that God supports the lottery that takes place in the village each year, in correlation to the stool supporting the box physically.
Clifford Geertz, a cultural anthropologist, states “[Religious rituals are symbolic actions that] establish powerful, pervasive, long-lasting moods and motivations in men” (Geertz 59). Geertz provides us with his view on religion by breaking down religion into two main parts; mood and motivation. “Motivations are “made meaningful” with reference to the ends toward which they are conceived to conduce, whereas moods are “made meaningful” with reference to the conditions from which they are conceived to spring” (Geertz 62). “When present they are totalistic: if one is sad everything and everybody seems dreary” (Geertz 62). This is true about “The Lottery” as well, it is a very totalistic idea that everyone from the village needs to take part in this event. They even have somewhat of a general headcount that Mr. Summers takes into account before they begin picking pieces of papers from the box. “But this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours” (Jackson

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247). Low and behold, all three hundred townsmen showed up to the lottery later that afternoon.
The light-heartedness of such a serious matter may strike the reader as unbelievable, but the townspeople were so used to the idea of stoning someone once a year that it was second nature to them. The lightness of this situation is symbolic of the ignorance the group as a whole had about this entire ordeal. Although they may have considered such an antic as a religion, they were only doing it because no one knew what life was like without the lottery. There was room to end this tradition, but Old Man Warner, which was previously mentioned, would not let go of such an event. As a whole, the village was very stubborn and naïve. The villagers were told what to do, and without question, they obeyed this way of life. No one had any drive to research the reasoning behind taking part in the lottery each year, thus each year the lottery occurred. If they had, they may have only come to find that there was no real correlation between the death of one life and a plentiful harvest.
Davy Hutchinson represents the townspeople as a whole. He stands for the ignorance of the villagers and the fact that a life is being taken away for no good reason. The people have not yet strayed away from the majority’s belief of this tradition because of how naïve they are.

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Besides the three-legged stool and Davy Hutchinson, there is yet another symbol in this story. Old Man Warner represents the stubbornness of the actual lottery. The fact that he won’t change the tradition, like other villages already have, just goes to show how foolish it really is to kill someone over a belief that has no factual evidence behind it. Then again, this is why Geertz considers it a religious value that they all share; because this is a belief that will stay in this village no matter how hard one person tries to get rid of it. It will never die out.
The symbolism in “The Lottery” is used to discover the ways the townspeople practice and believe in their own traditions. Geertz and Tuan help us label their beliefs further by narrowing what we now know into something many call religion. It is through theme that we realize the villagers will never reject their tradition of the lottery because of the ignorance that lies within the community as a whole.

Work Cited Esposito 7

Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Tuan, Yi-Fu.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977. Print.

Jackson, Shirley “The Lottery”. An Introduction to Fiction. Eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia

Geertz, Clifford. “Religion as a Cultural System”. A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion. Second Edition. Eds. Michael Lambek.

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“The Things They Carried” vs. “Intimate Experiences of Place”

According to Tuan, “intimate experiences lie buried in our innermost being so that not only do we lack the words to give them form but often we are not even aware of them. When, for some reason, they flash to the surface of our consciousness they evince a poignancy that the more deliberative acts – the actively sought experiences – cannot match” (Tuan 136). The point that Tuan makes about intimate experiences correlates very well with the story “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. The story is about how First Lieutenant Cross (the main character) goes to war, leading many men, and carries the heavy load of his own intimate experience from home. Her name was Martha and she was constantly on Cross’ mind. So much so, that he did not concentrate on the war in front of him as he should. He was always daydreaming and imaging memories he had of her, although, many of those memories seemed to be about something he wanted to do with her in the future and not a time he had shared with her. “He would imagine romantic camping trips into the White Mountains in New Hampshire” (O’Brien 596). It was almost as if he was fighting this war for her. “To carry something was to hump it, as when Lieutenant Jimmy Cross humped his love for Martha up the hill and through the swamps” (O’Brien 597).
Tuan also states, “Intimate occasion are often those on which we become passive and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, exposed to the caress and sting of new experience” (Tuan 137). This is a main theme in the story “The Things They Carried” – vulnerability. Lieutenant Cross allowed himself to get so wrapped up in his own memories of Martha, his own intimate experience of her, that he let it get the best of him. He did not focus on his role that was supposed to be played as Lieutenant and let one of his men die. “He felt shame. He hated himself. He had loved Martha more than his men, and as a consequence Lavender was now dead, and this was something he would have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war” (O’Brien 602). He had taken his daydreaming so far that it carried into the real world and obstructed what was really important.
I feel that the title of the story is a very important part of understanding the entirety of the story. While reading, the narrator continually listed the items, weapons, and other objects that the men carried throughout their journey at war. There were certain things needed for certain occasions, but one thing they carried they all had in common – their own intimate experiences. Unfortunately Lieutenant Cross discovered his intimate experience negatively effected him, which he will never forgive himself for. In conclusion, he now has another thing to carry for the rest of the war and that is a burden.

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