In modern day America, our culture has begun to revolve around traveling and moving from place to place. Never staying in one place long enough to get to know the land. It is because of this new trend that Wallace Stegner wrote his essay "The Sense of Place." In this essay, Stegner informs us that the only way for us to feel a sense of place is for us to submit ourselves to the land; he does this using many techniques such as: figurative language, use of a personal anecdote, and the use of second person.
He begins the essay in a rather peculiar manner stating a quote by Wendell Berry, "If you don't know where you are you don't know who you are" (Stegner 199). It is somewhat strange that he would begin his essay with someone else's quote, but for this piece it works because even after completing the first sentence the essay has already established a personal connection with the reader. By using the word, "you" Stegner gives the reader the sense that he is talking to them. The quote itself while catchy might also be deemed offensive to some, so Stegner is also putting himself at risk of losing readers because they do not like what his first sentence has to say. There is also another instance of Stegner using second person, at the very end of the essay. Here the word is used as, "we" instead of "you." It is at this point when he is dictating his opinion on what we as Americans should do, "it is probably time we looked around us instead of looking ahead. We have no business, any longer, in being impatient with history" (Stegner 206). It is easy to see why he switched the words because by using the word we, he includes himself rather than putting all of the blame and work on the shoulders of the reader. It is interesting to see that the only times Stegner chose to use the second person is at the very beginning and the very end. He first used it to entice the reader and personalize his essay, and then ended it with his opinion on how "we" need to slow down...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document