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In “Driving as Metaphor,” Rachel Cusk says: It is often regretted that children


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In “Driving as Metaphor,” Rachel Cusk says:
It is often regretted that children can no longer play or move freely outside because of the dangers of traffic; inevitably, many of the people who voice these regrets are also the drivers of cars, as those same restricted children will come to be in their time. What is being mourned, it seems, is not so much the decline of an old world of freedom as the existence of comforts and conveniences the individual feels powerless to resist, and which in any case he or she cannot truthfully say they wished would be abolished. There is a feeling, nonetheless, of loss, and it may be that the increasing luxury of the world inside the car is a kind of consolation for the degradation of the world outside it. (25)
Cusk suggests that people are not really mourning a loss of freedom but are mourning their existence in an isolated world of “comforts and conveniences.”
In T.C. Boyle’s “The Apartment” the narrator makes a deal for an apartment so as to insulate himself from his daughters’ musical preferences. In Ming Jen’s “In the Event” Jen’s goal is a place safe from the external threats of living in Northern California: fires, possible nuclear attack, and earthquakes. She is contemplating “a new disaster meet-up spot” at the end of the story. Jason Brown’s “A Faithful but Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed” the young John Holland cannot secure a commitment to marry from Melissa who tells him instead, “You’ll live…just like the rest of us.” His future seems to suggest isolation both from the family’s island and from Melissa as well as his sister and other relatives.
In a seven page paper, discuss whether the characters in these three stories are mourning their existence in isolated worlds of “comforts and conveniences.” Develop a thesis about how accurate Cusk’s statement is of the worlds that the cited authors present. Your goal is to arrive at a synthesis of the concerns of contemporary writers. What are they telling us about contemporary isolation? Is Cusk correct to draw her distinction in the subjects of mourning? Are comfort and conveniences isolating? Are the stories showing personal freedom actually in decline?
1. Be sure to discuss these three stories in some depth. Quote key passages from them that focus on the subject of isolation.
2. Argue from the point that YES Cusk is right that comfort and conveniences are isolating people and these 3 characters are trying to isolate themselves with their actions of looking for comfort and conveniences.
3. Please use quotations marks and put the name of the author and page number. Ex: “a new disaster meet-up spot” (Ming, 20)
4. Paragraphs should be 6 complete sentences exactly.
5. You can read the stories from this link


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