February, 2011

Sense of freedom and power

     “Spaciousness is closely associated with the sense of being free. Freedom implies space; it means having the power and enough room in which to act. Being free has several levels of meaning.”  This quote can be interpreted in many different ways. Taken from chapter five of “Space and Place” by Yi-Fu Tuan, it has given readers such as myself a chance to expand our minds and use creativity and relate to situations of being free or having power.

     Tuan describes these elders, prisoners, and infants as individuals that “cannot, or have lost their ability to, move freely” (52). When people think of infants, they are limited to the amount of space they have. A child in general explores and tries to test their limit. Elders in the other hand, can have as much space but “Space seems to close in” (52). With their difficult in moving around within the space, the elders are complete opposites. I like the example Tuan uses where if a child sees a flight of stairs, as energetic as they are, they see it as an ‘invitation’ to run up and down. For elders, they see it as a barrier and thinks wisely about their approach for the flight of stairs.  

     Another example that Tuan mentions is the use of tools and machines for males. Many may assume that Men tend to take control and see it as a way to be a compelling figure within the space given. Using tools and machines can help men expand their resources and increase their liability from a female perspective. An example is sports cars, because it “responds to the driver’s slightest wish. It opens up a world of speed, air and movement” (53). The most interesting aspect of this is many males can and will agree to that.  

     And finally, Tuan mentions Space being valued as a sense of privacy. The more room one has, the more privacy one gets. An example that represents a sense of privacy can be taken from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. Harry was living in a small room, which happened to be below the staircase. He does not only hear everyone’s footstep every time one walks up and down the stairs, but his uncle makes sure he has no privacy with others in the outside world. That is until Harry snuck out of his house and arrived into Hogwarts. In the sense of being free, it gave him the power to move freely and use his broom like it was a sports car to explore the spacious land of Hogwarts.

Appreciation of Space & Place. The House on Mango Street/Space and Place

     Yi-Fu Tuan’s book “Space and Place” and the short story by Sandra Cisneros called “The House on Mango Street” corresponds to each other very well. In “The House on Mango Street”, the narrator begins by talking about her experiences living in different houses in her past. She compares her current house on Mango Street to her previous homes and her “dream” house. At first, she would mention the flaws such as the meager amount of room in terms of space and also the poor quality within her previous houses like the broken water pipes. Then she would say that she want a house with a basement, “real stairs”, at least three washrooms, a big spacious yard etc. It seems as if she does not appreciate the House on Mango Street. The narrator’s opinions display the lack of appreciation of her current house, hinting that her current house does not live up to her expectations.

     I do not blame her though. In relations to Yi-Fu Tuan’s book, the chapter “Space, Place, and the Child”, Mr. Tuan acknowledges that an infant begins to learn and understand by exploring what is around him/her. For example, Mr. Tuan mentions “as the child grows he becomes attached to objects other than significant persons and eventually, to localities.” (29) I find this very true because the narrator in “The House on Mango Street” seems to be of mature age where she is able to understand that what is around her is important. The narrator is trying to show that the importance of her being able to use the washroom whenever she needs it without consent relates to her growing up and being able to expand her use of resources. Also due to her family and her moving around several times, it has made her not find a place and a space to value. The large and ‘immobile type of object’ matters most to the ones that understand that home is an important priority to have and maintain.

     I find this really interesting because I haven’t really noticed the difference between space and place until the first day of class. I learned something that everybody seems to not appreciate and devalue. It is what they have in front of them. Everybody does not appreciate something until after it is either gone or they actually take time to notice that what they have isn’t that bad after all. I do not live in a nice building, but I realized that I need to appreciate where I live. I am comfortable where I am living and it keeps me warm and off the streets.  A dream house is definitely on everybody’s list while growing up. But people need to realize that a home is a place where they live, but it is within the space that needs to be valued.

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