It puts the main characters eternal love for New York and especially Central park in perspective of “the post-war American chimera” with a big dog lawns, vegetable patches, white-picket fences and a great litter of hillier. During the story the main character experiences her fear of real and wild nature while she feels secured and comfortable in the city. She’s frightened by real nature wherefore she wants to keep it on safe distance. The author utilizes contrasts as a stylistic tool and writes in a living style with a light twist of humor and biographic elements.
The story is told from Susan Chef’s point of view. In other words I?s told from a first person narrator. We only see the point view from one character. The form can be recognized by the use of “l”, “MFC’ and “me” that ill occur often in the text: “My earliest memories”, “Most of all I loved Central Park”, inspired me”. In first person we see the world through the narrators eyes and we are introduced to her thoughts, feelings and reflections. We get to know about the other characters through the speaker’s knowledge about them.
The style is very living, fresh and humorous, with a great use of adjectives, what makes the story easy to read: “Years later, I raised my own children in Central Park, where the wonderful urban public spaces are more fabulous than even the most luxurious rural private 3, l. 160-165). In this extract it’s very clear that Susan Achiever avails herself of many adjectives. This yields a rhythm to the text and leads the reader easily through the story. The main character, Susan Achiever herself, grows up in New York City, the city of possibilities, shortly after World War II.
She is imbued with urbanism and loves New York, as was it her most cherished possession. Unfortunately, her parents have bigger dreams and they decide to move out of town to “a house with a white-picket fence” (p. 2, 1. 77-78) while she’s still young. The wild and uncontrollable nature with unpredictable sounds frightens her. She feels defenseless in the deep woods. When living in the suburb Achiever longs for the comforting human noises of cars and crowds on Manhattan. She longs for the safety Of the city. Achiever prefers nature being kept on a leash.
For this reason she uses Central Park as refuge when a break is badly needed and she leaves again when her need for nature is fulfilled. For Achiever, Central Park is a clam green spot in the middle of a complex controlled culture shock. It is her little bit of country – in New York. Achiever is described as a very independent person: “(… As soon as I was old enough to take the train back in to New York I did so at every 1. 126-128). Another indication of Achiever being an independent individual is seen in the end of the story.
We are told that she returns to New York years later and raises her own children here. In their twenties both children have moved to other towns of over a million inhabitants. Even though her closest family reckons With her dream she lives it out on her own. The high level of culture in city fascinates her. Achiever identifies herself with her favorite animal at the zoo: the ancient yak. The AK feels ill at ease in zoo but it has no other options than accepting its fate in captivity.
Like the yak she feels uncomfortable when she is together with her “disappointingly ordinary family” but unlike the Wise animal she has the opportunity to escape from her fate. This brings me to the many contrasts in the essay. Achiever and the yak deal with a parallel problem, namely the feeling that they “had come from another foreign exotic place to 28-29) and at the same time they seem to be each other’s opposites. Achiever moves to the countryside where the yak would feel at home, but unfortunately the yak days in the city where her dream takes place. The yak wants nature – she wants culture.
Further more, there is a contrast in her father’s manner when he, every single morning, gets dressed in a business suit and rides down in the elevator with all the other men in the building. They all get off at first floor and leave the building, apart from her father who crosses the lobby and walks down the stairs to the basement. Here he sits the rest of the day writing short stories In his boxer shorts. His passion for writing literature contrasts the sameness’s of his love with the artistic career. Why else would he disguise myself as a businessman?
In addition, the sad plot – her childhood being spoilt when moving to the gloomy suburb – contrasts the fresh and humorous style. The light style makes it easier for the reader to contain the message. The most important of all contrasts is the collision of man and nature. Achiever thinks that Central Park is the most fabulous of these collisions because it symbolisms the “collaboration of the human and the divine”. The intense city is interrupted by the romantic, poignant and glorious Central Park where nature is tame and fearless for her to enjoy – it is kept on a leash.