Through his piece “Enclosed. Encyclopedic. Endured: the Mall of America.” David Guterson shares his experience of the Mall of America as it opened and its effects of the American culture. From sharing statistics about the amount of jobs available, the number of parking spots, or how much cash is dispersed each week from just the ATMs; Guterson allows readers to feel the massive scale of the mall. He shares stories of the people he met and his own views on the mall, and what it says about America and its people’s values. Guterson makes it clear that Americans have become too absorbed with the thoughts of materialistic belongings; and a mall, such as the Mall of America, only makes those thoughts that much worse and destroys the people’s values. Although the points Guterson makes about the crumbling values and presently true and I agree that materialism is a horrible quality for a person to have, the mall in itself is not a bad place. It brings joy to many people and not just through ways of materialism and buying everything your heart desires, but for the sheer pleasure of entertainment. When young children go to the mall with their parents and attend Camp Snoopy or go to LEGOLAND; that is not materialistic in the slightest. All in the entire mall is not the horrible place that Guterson makes it out to be.
The mall and its materialistic image have become a major highlight of American society. By allowing mall goers to share their experiences, this is fairly evident. Two women Guterson meets at a restaurant explain how they “have shopping addictions and live at the mall” (105). These women explain how they feel sorry for other malls because they are so “small and boring”, as if nothing can compare to the Mall of America. These women are right because the mall is so vast and extravagant nothing else can compare to it; and again they are right because what other malls can say that they have and indoor amusement park?! He later goes to say how the mall is not just...
Cited: Guterson, David. “Enclosed. Encyclopedic. Endured: The Mall of America” The Norton Reader. Eds. Linda Peterson, et al. Shorter 13th ed. New York: Norton, 2011. 102-114. Print.
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