The Town Dump

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As children, with excessive energy, vivid imaginations, and endless amounts of curiosity, we all seek exciting discoveries. In the southeast corner of Whitemud, Saskatchewan Wallace Stegner found the dump, which was “hot with adventurous possibilities.” The dump was a sort of historical poetry, which Stegner found far more interesting than the people who put it there.

Stegner’s simplistic and happy tone, characteristic of a child’s attitude, is backed up by his great knowledge and details. Every enigma within the dump is questioned, and then explained by vivid, complex, foreign answers that could only spring from the mind of a child. When Stegner finds the lost bits and pieces from travelers, they become more than disregarded objects, but clues to “the secrets of ancient civilizations.” For Stegner, the dump was more than a collection of trash; “it contained relics of every individual who had ever lived there, and of every phase of the town’s history.”

Another detail Stegner really presses on is his diction. It is so detailed and dramatic, that you have no choice except to see how much of an impact the town dump had on him as a child. Even after the years have passed, Stegner continues to remember “smashed wheels of wagons and buggies, tangles of rusty barbed wire, the collapsed perambulator that the French wife of one of the town’s doctors had once pushed proudly up the planked sidewalks and along the ditchbank paths,” “broken dishes, rusty tinware, spoons that had been used to mix paint; once a box of percussion caps.” The extensive detail proves the dump’s large impression upon Stegner.

In a place that most people avoid, Stegner finds a haven. Among the things people have chosen to discard, Stegner finds rich treasures. As a child Stegner is able to see the value in every object, even when others have abandoned it. As Stegner discovers, the rare poetry and history revealed in the dump can sometimes be the most mesmerizing part of all....
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