In Search of Marvin Gardens
Yi Fu Tuan enhances his ideals of how one may connect with place in his chapter “Visibility: the Creation of Place”, Tuan states how people create their own sense of place, based on factors of the landscape that catch their attention. Despite these connections not necessarily always being easily visual, they can be connected with feelings one may achieve from architecture or a space that cannot be constructed from a simple picture.(161) These individual feelings/senses of place are created through “dramatization,” ones experiences shared contribute to our makeup of a place. John McPhee’s “The Search for Marvin Gardens,” describes such connection.
In McPhee’s short story he describes the main character playing a lengthy game of monopoly to then describe the character analyzing his neighborhood in Atlantic City, in relation to the game itself. The transitions from the game to the description of his neighborhood are made evident through the steps he takes in the game, such as names of the property. The character’s perception of his visual and sense of his neighborhood relates to Tuan’s views on personal experiential perspectives and developed concept of a space/place. Through an experiential perspective a place is molded to an intimate creation of a space and the latter a “conceptual space that does not involve emotions,” such as my street and the other larger unit, my neighborhood (170). By using his personal perspective of his neighborhood and what it entails, the main character related to the game by creatively focusing his attention to a greater meaning of a “space” on the board he could not obtain and a physical “place” he could not find.