Essay on In Search of Marvin Gardens

Essay on In Search of Marvin Gardens

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In Search of Marvin Gardens


The televisionshow "Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood" takes place in two different locations,one is Mr. Rogers home, and the other is make-believe land where the talesMr. Roger’s teaches are acted out for children by puppets. To even theyoung children watching the show, it is obvious that the transition fromone place to another is helped along by parallel themes or events. Thepiece "In Search of Marvin Gardens" is obviously divided into two separatesections, one part takes place during a Monopoly game and the other isa more descriptive set of passages about Atlantic City. Just as in "Mr.Roger’s Neighborhood" the transitions are reliant on parallel elements.Therefore, the questionposed is: How does McPhee use parallel elementsto help the transitions betweenhis multiple story settings? To answerthis, a narrative criticism will bedone.

McPhee’spieceis about a man, the narrator, who is playing a game of Monopoly andatthe same time flashing to Atlantic City and telling about that physicallocation. It is never evident where the narrator actually is when the storyis being told. The game and real life are meant to mirror each other andperhapsMcPhee is making a comment about what has been lost and misrepresentedovertime. Overall, the main drive of the piece is that the Monopoly gameis representativeof life.

The parallel components in McPhee’s two settings need to be examined closely in a comprehensive examination. In order to make a more effective use of the examination,each section of McPhee’s piece should be looked at separately. The settings of the two sections, are obviously different, but they are also stronglyrelated, when McPhee discusses a location or event occurring on the Monopolyboard, ...


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...ce jumps intothe Monopoly game without ever explaining where the narrator is or howhe got there, but the opening scenes in Atlantic City are long descriptivescenes telling all about the "sidewalks of St. Charles Place" and the street,which "sparkles with shattered glass". When McPhee steps back to tell exactlywhere he is playing Monopoly and alittle about the situation, he counterbalancesthis by taking a closer lookat the scene in his other setting. A changein one section therefore requiresa change in the other section to keepit flowing smoothly.

McPhee uses parallel elements to create a peak in action before transitioning to another section. He masters the writing elements in his comparison of Monopoly to real life. The well-thought out transitions in this piece help to make it effective, parallel scenes illustrating a parallel between a game and a reality.

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