Analysis Of Colson Whitehead's The Colossus Of New York

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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…show more content…
In his essay, “ Brooklyn Bridge,” the author explores the “appetite” of a particular New Yorker. This woman is described as staring,full of awe,at the New York Skyline from another borough. She is ambitious and sees New York as full of endless possibilities. Throughout the collection he portrays New York transplants or prospective residents as being driven by the longing to grab a piece of the city for themselves.This drive is a pattern that is repeated in these works of Whitehead. In his essay “Port Authority instead of focusing on the New York ideal of one individual Whitehead focuses on a body of people about to move to New York. Througout the collection Whitehead switches back and forth between focusing on an individual and focusing on a crowd. In this essay Whitehead also highlights the sameness within the people hustling and bustling in and out of Port Authority. He implies that the same quality of brokenness has led them all here, “They’re all broken somehow… Otherwise they would have come here differently,”(15). Even though they are all from different places and all have different destinations the essence of New York has drawn them all here. Colson’s account of the passengers shows that they are all feeling the same feelings of hope in regards to coming to New York. Although they all hope for different things the theme regarding the passengers is…show more content…
In “Brooklyn Bridge,” an account of a man on the bridge describes him in his “magic spot” or his personal area where two years ago he decided that New York wouldn 't break him. This suggests the essence of New York is tied to these “magic spots”. By magic spots I mean the places around the city where individuals decided to change their lives , something out of the ordinary happened to them, or just a place they feel serene. In the Library of Congress this work of nonfiction can be found under homes and haunts, a “ Magic Spot” is incredibly similar to a home. What makes a place a person’s home is the memories and experience they felt there. Even though New Yorkers begrudgingly accept all this change surrounding New York that Whitehead describes, they also thrive on it. By remembering the past in terms of their New York,their present is enhanced because the feeling of history contributes to a greater feeling of home because again the feeling of home is based on the memories. The only difference here is that instead of calling home a building or a house, the whole city acts as your home and like a tour guide Whitehead is giving his reader an insider’s account of his home. The essence of New York is this sense of home that you can find seemingly anywhere. People are drawn here based on that desire to feel comfortable and

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