city limits summary

The chapter “City Limits” in the novel, The Colossus of New York by Colson Whitehead, talks about how things are not what they seem. Whitehead talks about how city life is very fast paced always updating in terms of indistrilization. This advancement in industrilization ultimately causes there to be many versions of the same place because everyone has their own photographic memory of what was there prior to that. Old timers may roam around New York city viewing everything as nostalga. From the day a person starts exploring the concrete jungle, their own private map begins to develop. I can relate to this for example, my high school got rid of its old building sophomore year and built a more up to date, modern school. Every day after school i would walk past where the old building was located and can visually see everything how it used to be. Across the street in front of the Pita Grill on 57th street, there would be a flood of teenagers of all kinds but now everything is so gone and forgotten. Although things have changed i can still look at these places and picture what was there during MY time. That is why there are no city limits because cities are the number one places that continue to evolve in comparrison to a rural lifestyle where things usually remain the same over generations. That is why Whitehead describes New York as a city containing 8million cities because everyone’s template of what New York looks like or what its made of is different in everyone’s perspective. Another thing is when Whitehead mentions how someone is not a New Yorker unless what was there before is more solid and real than what is there now is very true. If what was there before is more vivid to what is there now means you have watched that part of New York City grow, evolve and develop into something greater. Seeing what was there before gives you a better understanding of the city’s roots and culture. Being able to reminise and imagine the past is being able to look back into history and time, do not take that power for granted for what’s gone can always remain if you learn to appreciate whats there now.

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2 thoughts on “city limits summary”

  1. Your wording of the chapter’s contents, initially framing it in terms of industrialization, is really observant and contextualizes the passage of time and the way in which Whitehead describes the various differences in perception that each New Yorker can have towards the same city in which they all live. I will contend, however, that each individual’s templates and experiences are what define their own city limits, although I think in your writing you are referring to city limits in terms of the growth of the cities themselves as opposed to a metaphorical description of every New Yorker’s perspective.

  2. I liked that you was able to have a connection to the concept you’re conveying in the summary. However, the connection feels like filler in this case. For a summary you just want to describe the literature you’ve read in a straight-forward approach while having enough information to get message across. Overall I like in the end the message you received from this excerpt. Appreciating being able to look back on memories that you once lived through is a power you don’t want to take for granted.

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