The Colossus Of New York Essays

The Colossus Of New York Essays

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Colson Whitehead ponders the essence of New York in his collection of essays titled, The Colossus of New York. Throughout the entire collection of essaysWhitehead inquires about what New York stands for based on the journey’s of its inhabitants and visitors. By establishing a sense of authenticity and creating an intimate relationship between him and the reader, Whitehead effectively provides his readers with a genuine account of New York. This genuineness found in Whitehad’s writing has not been met without criticism. Wyatt Mason’s critique of Whitehead’s essays reiterates throughout the review that Whitehead’s account go New York isn’t unique to New York and that the essayist isn’t particularly attentive to detail. While I agree with the critic that Whitehead’s accounts of New York are “cliched,” I don’t feel this is a bad thing. The city of New York is practically synonymous with idea of begin able to start over and the “If you can make it here you can make it anywhere,” attitude. In order to offer a genuine account of the city, that property has to be included as well.
Another of Mason’s claim about Whitehead’s work is that his writing is “seduced by surface appeal,” and rooted in superficial claims. Wyatt’s example of this alleged surface level can be found in an essay entitled ”Rain,” where the loss of an umbrella is compared to the loss of real life articles. The critic believes that loss is should be represented as “unforgettable…like finding one’s friend in a bathtub full of blood,” But loss isn’t always that drastic. Treating all loss as this unforgettable weight the critic is suggesting, only leads to burdens on a person’s psyche. In some cases small encounters can lead to larger realizations. This quality makes t...


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...to these questions I thought about his upbringing and how that could 've possibly sparked an interest in the lives of everyday New Yorkers. Upon further research I found that Whitehead was born and raised in Manhattan. He was educated at, the Trinity School, one of the finest private schools in the country, and later went on to attend Harvard. Whitehead could have felt like his view of people was narrow because of who he was surrounded by throughout his life . None of the characters in Whitehead’s essays are described as looking seemingly affluent or as being of any significant importance and all of the essays consist of observations made in public places. I can infer that maybe he was interested in the people he didn’t see in school. The normal everyday person who weren 't Ivy League bred and educated who he only saw in passing on his way to school.









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