Whitehead's "The Colossus of New York" Essay

Whitehead's "The Colossus of New York" Essay

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New York City’s population is a little over 8.3 million people. 8.3 million people are spread out among five boroughs and each have their own set routine. Each one of those 8.3 million see New York in a different way becuase “You start building your private New York the first time you lay eyes on it” (“City Limits” 4). Some people are like Colson Whitehead who “was born here and thus ruined for anywhere else” (“City Limits” 3). Others may have “moved here a couple years ago for a job. Maybe [they] came here for school” (“City Limits” 3). Different reasons have brought these people together. They are grouped as New Yorkers, but many times, living in New York is their only bond. With on going changes and never ending commotion, it is hard to define New York and its inhabitants in simple terms.
Colson Whitehead explores this grand and complex city in his collection of essays The Colossus of New York. Whitehead writes about essential elements to New York life. His essays depict the city limits and everyday moments such as the morning and the subway, where “it is hard to escape the suspicion that your train just left... and if you had acted differently everything would be better” (“Subway” 49). Other essays are about more once in a while moments such as going to Central Park or the Port Authority. These divisions are subjective to each person. Some people come to New York and “after the long ride and the tiny brutalities... they enter the Port Authority,” but for others the Port Authority is a stop in their daily commute (“The Port Authority” 22).Nonetheless, each moment is a part of everyone’s life at some point. Many people live these moments together, experiencing similar situations. We have all been in the middle of that “where ...


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...ven if it is in a small way. Our memory will stay alive in the city, longer than the buildings or subway trains, if we are not self-consumed in ourselves. Nobody will who ever know we truly are just by seeing us. In sharing our lives is it that people get to know us. Then will our memory live forever through others as we impact and share with them, in turn giving a little of ourselves to the city. In fact, the world knows New York City through stories that have been told, not because they have all been here.

Works Cited
Fussell, Paul. "Uniforms." Occasions for Writing Evidence, Idea, and Essay. Ed. Robert DiYanni and Pat C. Hoy II. Boston: Thomson, 2008. 237-39. Print.
Whitehead, Colson. The Colossus of New York. London: Fourth Estate, 2003. Print.
“City Limits.” 3-11.
“The Port Authority.” 15-22.
“Morning.” 25-34.
“Central Park.” 37-46.
“Subway.” 49-57.

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