Population 485 Essay

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While Population: 485 centers on several different themes throughout the book, I chose to focus my interpretation on the sense of belonging the author, Michael Perry, seems to crave all through the literature, and more specifically, during chapters one and seven. In chapter one, titled Jabowski’s Corner, he opens the door to his journey by bringing us to the small town of New Auburn, Wisconsin. This is the place he belongs. He introduces many of the people of New Auburn in every chapter, but I chose chapter seven because he describes the diverse groups of individuals that make up the town and refers to them as “My People,” which is also the title of the chapter. These are the people that make up the town, the people he belongs with. I feel his love for the land, in this small Wisconsin town, is deeply expressed in both chapter one and in chapter seven. Another association the two chapters have is the idea that to truly feel that comfort and pleasure of belonging in the place where you live, love for the land may not be enough. Michael finds a way to connect to the community and then to connect the community with the land. Michael Perry, the author and main character, has returned to the place he calls home after being away for twelve years. He left New Auburn after graduating high school. While away, he earned a bachelor’s degree from nursing school and worked a couple of jobs as a nurse. He was frustrated by the fact that he didn’t know how to extricate someone safely from a smashed car or splint a dislocated elbow. This was not his place and he wanted more. He enrolled in an emergency medical technician class and passed the National Registry exam. He then began his career as an EMT and worked part-time for a private ambulance service for five years in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. While he gained a lot of experience, it just wasn’t where he felt he belonged. He lived in New Auburn as a child and teenager. It has been nineteen years since he graduated...
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