‘Good fences make good neighbours.’
In the following essay I intend to examine the meaning of the following proverb ‘good fences make good neighbours’, and attempt to reason whether it is valid argument or not. In doing so I shall be using examples from both the course books and a few other literary sources that have proved invaluable to the work. Full references can be found at the bottom. To begin I would like to look a bit more closely at the history of the proverb itself.
‘Good fences make good neighbours’. This particular proverb was coined in 1914 by Robert Frost in his poem Mending Wall
(Frost, 2004), but the connotation has been around for a lot longer in slightly different forms, and indeed all around the world. Some of them are very similar indeed, (German) "Between neighbours' gardens a fence is good"), (Hindi) "Love your neighbour, but do not throw down the dividing wall", and (Japanese) “Build a fence even between intimate friends" to name just a few. Looking at these proverbs although thought provoking, does not help us understand them any better. The ambiguity of the metaphor
intended is hard to read into as it has created a paradox in itself. So to begin with perhaps we can look at how people live together and how the phrase neighbourhood can mean far more than just a geographical place.
Neighbourhoods are constructed with far more than just a space, and most of which are unseen, but, which are universally acknowledged. These ‘unseen’ rules are part of the social order that we are all a part of; how we behave in certain situations, to people and places. Being a neighbour means being ruled by certain customs and unspoken rules.
A good way of finding out what these customs are is to ask people themselves, social scientists have...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document