How does "The Man of the Crowd" help us to think about the questions of what it means to read something and what it means when something is unreadable? What are the implications for our understanding of city life?
“The Man of the Crowd” helps us understand that people can have secrets without sharking those secrets to anyone else. The narrator desperately tried to figure out who this mysterious old man was. The narrator felt like he was able to “read” everyone, he felt like he was able to know their entire lives by just looking at what they were wearing and stereotypes of that particular person he was looking at. For example the clerk and the businessman. He felt like he had power over these people because he thought he had knowledge. This goes to the cliché saying of Knowledge is power. After being intrigued by this mysterious old man, he followed him all day and night. He had an immense curiosity and thirst to know who this old man was and what his back ground was. After failing to find out anything significant about the old man’s life other than a glimpse of a dagger and few obvious details he felt defeated and weak; almost fearful because he was unclear as to who this mysterious man was. He realized he wouldn’t be able to find out what made this old man’s life so mysterious and intriguing because there are just concepts and information he won’t know or understand without the old man explicitly telling him; therefore making this old man unreadable. The implication of understanding the city life is that everyone is judgmental in spirit, in some way or from. As a New Yorker, we tend to categorize people into groups just by appearance, what they are wearing, how they talk, and how they act; but we are only able to know something that may be completely irrelevant to who they really are as a person. We only know part of the “story” and are unable to “read” the rest of their story unless we interact with them, like what the narrator of “The Man of the Crowd”...
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