The Mall as Prison

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Kimberly Campbell
English 1013 Comp 1
October 4, 2010
“The Mall as Prison”
Author David Guterson, journalist and novelist, spent a week in The Mall of America on assignment for Harpers Magazine. His essay, “The Mall as Prison”, tells his views on the Mall as a psychological effect on today’s society. He uses witty and sarcastic comments to get his point across. Is American culture being corrupted by what Americans consider a retail structure that is vital to the survival of our needs? He gives different aspects of why our view of a market place is distraction. Guterson makes judgments in this essay about the Mall and the American culture. Honestly I think that he needs to get with the times and accept this new evolution of shopping.

Guterson starts with statistics and facts on the Mall as a retail complex. Opened in the summer of 1992, the mall was conveniently located close to the Minneapolis- St. Paul Airport. How ironically placed. He starts to question the Mall and it’s creators. Was this Mall a tourist attraction? Or a zone of entertainment that is easily accessible to all types of people? Being a male, I feel that Guterson does not fully appreciate the resources found in this mall. Therefore, this is why he reacting negatively to the Mall. This Mall was designed to not only be a mall, but to also be a tourist attraction that would draw a diversity of different people.

Guterson talks about the look and atmosphere affecting the human psychology in the mind to think the situation was suitable. You should go into the mall with the intentions of shopping not with the intent of losing yourself in the mall’s design and structure. Guterson argues that communal areas should be built more for the intention of “eternal desire for discourse and intimacy”. Our society has lost our goals for what the marketplace should be. These goals cannot be accomplished in giant shopping malls, according to Guterson. Guterson’s only example of the types of people who...
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