Monday, November 1, 2010

Space and Place

In this reading, it was interesting when Tuan explains how space and place relate to a child in chapter three. All people grow up with their own experiences and cultural influences, but the view of a infant and child is very different from that of an adult. Tuan explains that at birth, the nerve cells are barely developed and functional in the cerebral cortex, so an infant "has no world" (20). It cannot distinguish space or place or even itself. It responds to stimuli, but in a very simplistic manner. As the infant develops and gains more sensory experiences, it is able to somewhat feel space. It was also interesting to read about how a mobile and immobile baby differs. A mobile baby is able to explore space, though more vulnerable to dangers. Also, the crawling baby is aware of the cliff and somehow knows not to continue crawling when reaching this cliff point.

Tuan also explained how as a child ages and matures, it is able to understand perception, different view points, and feelings for places through their own experiences. Therefore, as adults, place acquires its meaning through our experiences and feelings we have obtained throughout our lives. We can cannot a scent, a feeling, a sound, a flavor, an object or something we recognize with our eyes to a place. We are able to associate certain characteristics and feelings to places. I liked how Tuan closed this chapter by saying " Young children, so imaginative in their own spheres of action, may look matter-of-factly on places that to adults are haunted by memories" (33). The mind of a child is so creative and full of fantasy, doesn't that make you want to go back in time to childhood?

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