“The Search for Marvin Gardens”

“The search for Marvin Gardens” by John McPhee is a very weird story about a person playing monopoly in some sort of grand final all the while taking us through each monopoly space in great detail. The narrator of the story give vivid descriptions and special details about each space on the monopoly board and each space happens to be an Avenue, place or industry of sorts.
According to Tuan in his chapter on “Visibility: the Creation of Place” we come to understand that “as we look at a panoramic scene our eyes pause at points of interest…each pause is time enough to create an image of place that looms large momentarily in our view.” (Tuan 161). In McPhee’s story the narrator takes this to an extreme when his eyes loom over each space on the Monopoly board. Whenever he gazes upon a colorful square he seems to drift off into great detail about the place that he somehow remembers from another time. It’s possibly a time when he visited each place, or maybe perhaps from what he’s heard about each place. Regardless, at some point he created detailed images of these places in his head and he remembers what he saw or created.
Tuan also goes off saying “A city does not become historic merely because it has occupied the same site for a long time…Past events make no impact on the present unless they are memorialized in history books, monuments, pageants and solemn and jovial festivities…” (Tuan 174). In McPhee’s story the narrator goes over all of these things as he describes each avenue, place and company. The narrator also mentions more minor things that seem to make a place historic and of course each place he mentions is somehow historic considering they’re on the damn Monopoly game board.

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