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Living with Strangers

  • Date Submitted: 04/09/2014 02:40 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60 
  • Words: 1308
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Living with strangers
The metropolis has been the effect of the increasing urbanization since the 1800th century’s industrialization, where there were a lot of jobs in the cities, while the number of jobs in the country fell. Living in a city with hundreds of thousands or millions of other people creates many challenges. In particular, it becomes a problem, how to deal with all those many people who you do not know and cannot be manageable to get to know. It is precisely this theme Siri Hustvedt takes up in her text.
In the first part of the essay Siri Hustvedt tells her personal story of how she moved from the country, where everyone greets each other, to the great city of New York, where she lives with extremely many strangers. Although she is in close physical contact with others everyday, she has no human contact with them. She will soon learn that the city law is to pretend nothing has happened:
”... I found myself in intimate contact with people I didn’t know, my body pressed so tightly against them, I could smell their hair oils, perfumes, and sweat. In my former life, such closeness belonged exclusively to boyfriends and family. It didn’t take long for me to absorb the unwritten code of survival in this town *...+: PRETEND IT ISN’T HAPPENING.” (ll. 15-20)
Beginning with her personal story, Hustvedt captures the reader's interest because personal stories are true and real, and the reader can identify himself with her. The subject is not an abstract theme, but something that affects both Hustvedt and the reader here and now. Using the personal preface, Hustvedt engage the reader in the subject in an effective way.
In the second part of the essay Hustvedt gives some examples of the city's unwritten law of pretending like nothing. In that way she substantiate her assertion of the big city law. By coming up with some extreme examples of the city's law, Hustvedt shows how strange the city's world is and how much people can cross each other’s lines, without...


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