City Limits Summary

“City Limits” is the first chapter of “The Colossus of New York” by Colson Whitehead. According to the beginning pages one and two, Whitehead wrote in a psychological way to capture the reader’s attention. He used 2nd person for the second and the third paragraph which are on the first and second pages of “City Limits”. He wrote: ” No matter how long you have been here, you are a New Yorker the first time you say… you are a New Yorker when what was there before is more real… you start building your private New York the first time you lay eyes on it…”. He used ” you” to make readers feel like they are actually New Yorkers and living in New York, so this way could easier to lead them to imagine the images that going to be happening next. After he brought readers to the New York City in the reading he wrote. He starts to describe and share about where he has been and saw, to let the readers read through his personal experience on the street of the New York.

2 thoughts on “City Limits Summary”

  1. I noticed that part that you noticed in his novel. Where he uses the first and second person to grabs reader’s attention. I also like how you mentioned, “…easier to lead them to imagine the images that going to be happening next.” By reading this first chapter and from your summary, I want to go on the walk again!

  2. It’s interesting that you refer to the author’s writing in the opening pages as a “psychological” approach since indeed, Whitehead is pretty much trying to evoke experiences that we or anyone in the city might have had, especially with the use of second person perspective. I think it’s a fairly effective way of grabbing hold of readers, since he uses quite a bit of imagery in many of his given scenarios in order to illustrate his point. Whitehead tends to alternate between writing about his own experiences and writing in the second person, so you can try and read more into that, because he’s trying to say something about how different perspectives and experiences of New York City are what define people as New Yorkers.

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