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 ...view middle of the document...
The narrator is the same in both situations, as is the audience. The eventscoincide somewhat, and a closer examination of how the events in AtlanticCity are juxtaposed with the events occurring during the game. Temporalrelations are important in the fact that they help to create a settingchange. Causal relations also help to transfer scenes. To be able to discussparallels the settings, events, and causal relations need to be lookedat more closely.
The two overall settings of this piece are in Atlantic City, and at a Monopoly competition. The Monopoly game is the opening, but then the scene changes to a packofdogs running through an unknown location. This other scene of the storyunfolds to be the actual locations that the properties on the Monopolyboard werenamed after. There is an obvious parallel pattern with thesetwo scenes, whena scene change is required, the author simply refers toa certain place inthe game, and then changes pace to tell the story fromthat physical location.A good example of this obvious parallelism is whenthe narrator’s opponentlands on St. Charles place:
His eleven carries his top hatto St. Charles Place,
which he buys for $140.
The sidewalks of St. Charles Place have been cracked
to shards by the through-growingweeds. There are no
buildings. Mansions, hotels oncestood here.
McPhee goes back and forth like this throughout his piece. By paralleling the settings ofhis story with the location of the players on the Monopoly board, the transition of his two locations is easier to distinguish. It should also be notedthat these parallels sometimes happen in reverse order, the Monopoly gamestarting up where the real-life story is dropping off. This reversal oforder is done to create a larger overall change in the piece. The parallelsbecome subtler as the story continues and the reader catches on to McPhee’spattern. Having two settings that have the same named locations helps McPheeto make smooth and effective transitions between his two storylines.
The events in each section?or location change--need to be looked at much more closely, because it will be found that when the action peaks, the author makes a transition. In one scene, the narrator is explaining which properties he and his...