“Raised On It” – Sam Hunt

During class while we were reading “By the Water” by Sharyn Rothstein, we had a conversation about the significance of living in a community that is located by the water. Therefore, the question I will be addressing is: what is the significance being a part of a waterside community?

Sasha discussed the signficance of the water itself in her last blog post which I found to be very interesting. She pointed out that everything that happens throughout the plot of the play is in someone connected to the fact that they live so close to the water. For example, the fact that the hurricane happened to begin with, and then as a result of this, everyone in the family ends back up at the house together. Getting the family together is essential to the story as we see their relationships unfold in very deep and real ways. Ultimately, everyone has a different opinion about staying in their house by the water as a result of their own experiences there.

As someone who actually lives in the exact kind of community depicted in the play, I think I can definitely understand the appeal and struggle of living by the water. I’m not sure if its the water itself, or the tight-knit community by the water, but I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else to be honest. I don’t blame Marty for wanting to stay in his home, I even sympathize for him.  Bad things happen all the time, which is why its so hard to leave the places that bring us the most comfort. In 2012, my own house was badly damaged as a result of Hurricane Sandy. After being evacuated from our house, I was truly scared not knowing if I would ever call that house my home again. It was never about the house itself though, it was always about the memories. To have to leave the house and even the neighborhood that built you is beyond frightening.

Furthermore, in terms of living in a waterside community, there is no other community that is as close or as intimate. I’m not sure if its the seclusion of the neighborhood itself, or the similar lifestyles we live, but my neighborhood has truly contributed to my life in significant ways. My neighbors helped raised me, babysit me, two of them are my Godparents, and I may or may not have dated the boy next door. I might be a little biased, but there’s nothing quite like living by the water, and I don’t think its something I could ever let go of.

What Does the Pool Mean?

During our guest speaker last Friday I was actually contemplating how I would respond to Greg Taubman’s main question. Therefore, my question for this blog post is what does the pool in the set of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses mean?


Evidently, as Greg pointed out, there is not just one answer to a question like this. It does ultimately come down to what the viewer sees, what it makes them feel, what it reminds them of, and why. Greg’s biggest evidence of this process in terms of theater and literature was his own experience directing the play Metamorphoses. He said that he was told from the start that they were not going to be able to include the pool like the original play did. Therefore, he needed to assess what exactly the pool meant to him when he was reading and viewing this play and how he could incorporate this meaning in a different way in his own production of this play.


I spent a lot of time during Greg’s presentation actually trying to think of a legitimate and sensible explanation as to the inclusion of the pool. So here it is:


During the first scene of Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses the opening scene depicts a woman kneeling by a pool and talking to a scientist about the origins of our earth: “WOMAN. […] The sea upon which they shone quickened with fish, and the woods and meadows with game, and the air with twittering birds. Each order of creature settling in to itself. ZEUS. A paradise, it would seem, except one thing was lacking: words” (Zimmerman Scene 1, Act 1). This quote make reference to a time before human existed and infiltrated the described paradise. Continuing off this, it is important to understand that Greek mythology originated in ancient Greece and served the purpose of explaining everything. For example, Greek mythology explains religion, religious rituals, and even thinks like the weather. Ultimately, it gives meaning and purpose to the world that we live in. After considering this opening scene and taking into consideration my own knowledge of Greek mythology I came to my conclusion. The pool is the physical embodiment and reference to the very beginning of Earth before mankind existed. Therefore, combined with the fact that Zimmerman is recreating these Greek myths I feel like her purpose is to explore how mankind came to be and show the relationship between what existed before man and how we exist now.

How Many Mistakes are Actually Made in “The Mistake”?

The short story “The Mistake” makes several references to mistakes that are made by multiple people that are mentioned throughout the plot.  These mistakes as defined by our main character include those that he makes, those that the woman he loves makes, and the mistakes of other secondary characters that are mentioned in the story. Therefore, I am left with the question of how many mistakes are actually made throughout the course of the story.

Ultimately, in my opinion, for something to be considered a mistake it usually involves the process of someone making a decision or doing something that leads to negative consequences as a direct result. Therefore, as readers we would need to know the outcome of a particular decision or action in order to fully understand if  a mistake has been made. For example, within the very first paragraph, the narrator presents to us his first mistake: I know it’s a mistake to let her leave. And yet I do let her leave” (Caistor, 1). In this instance, the readers simply know that the narrator believes he has made a mistake by allowing the woman he loves to leave, but I believe that as readers we don’t really know if this is a mistake because we have no understanding of the circumstances that are related to her leaving. So, it is hard for us to gage if it is really a mistake for her to go because that is possibly the best decision for all the parties involved.

Regardless of all the mistakes mentioned, there is a reason that the article is called “The Mistake” rather than “Mistakes”, implying that there is only one true mistake made. The one decision that the readers see unfold in detail is the narrator’s choice to try to walk across the river. At this point in the story, even the narrator knows that this is truly his one mistake: “Apparently that was my big mistake” (Caist0r, 2). If not through the narrator’s admittance of this being the biggest mistake thus far, the readers also know that he has truly made a mistake at this point in the story: “I won’t be able to reach it” (Caistor, 2). The readers are able to truly acknowledge his choice to try and cross the river as a mistake as we can clearly see that the negative consequence for this decision is the narrator drowning. While there are many mistakes mentioned throughout the course of the story, the narrator himself truly only makes one BIG mistake.


Reliability and Perspective

Perspective is the way an individual views things. The authors, Lovecraft and Greene, very literally provide us with the speaker’s perspective of the events that supposedly transpired on August 8, 1922 at Martin’s Beach. The description given to us recounts exactly what the individual remembers happening and what he saw throughout the course of the night. Regardless of the content of the story, what I found to be most compelling was how the speaker himself shows how even he is unsure of what really happened that night. Ultimately, the question being asked is how is reliability affected by different perspectives.


While we, as readers, have no reason to doubt the author, he certainly provides us with reasons to do just that: “no two accounts agree” (The Horror at Martin’s Beach Paragraph 1). Within the first two lines of the article, the author has already pointed out to us the unreliability of any recounts of that night. As he goes on to describe to us what he saw, he never fails to remind us no one really knew what was actually transpiring that night. The reason that I find this so interesting is that in general with any form of literature including books, articles, and even news stories, readers tend to trust the author completely. However, learning to question the author often enables us to understand more. Therefore, while we could accept this account as the best possible summary of what happened, even the speaker knows that what he is saying is not entirely reliable: “Certainly there was no lack of witnesses, confused though their stories be with fear and doubt of what they saw” (The Horror at Martin’s Beach 10). The author once again admits to us and reminds us that there is a large possibility for confusion and misconception in his recount and everyone else’s of that night. One thing that the speaker makes clear to us is his own perspective and specifically skepticism of water after his experience. The speaker clearly sees the water as threat and this is simply as a result of his own experiences with it. Had that night been different it is safe to assume that his feelings towards the ocean would be different as well. Ultimately, the fact that perspective is specific to individuals should remind us to always question the reliability of any content that we read and how it is specific to the speaker.