In Ian Frazier’s essay, “In Praise of Margins”, the author talks about his childhood life and how he had “margins” where he and his friends would do things and nothing would matter because they wouldn’t care. “Marginal” thought is valuable because it allows adults to use their imagination. His purpose is to try new activities without shame; it’s the spur of the moment that defines margin. I think his view about marginal activity is comprehensive and relatable.
When we think of margins, we think of the extra space on the edge of the paper that we can’t write out of. But marginal has another meaning to it which has to do with the economic world and how we function with margins in our life such as personal experiences. Marginal space is key to the coming of age process in each person’s life whether we share the same activities or not. Although it’s not easy to pin point it out but marginal spaces are needed to escape from everyone’s present problem in everyday life.
I agree and believe with Frazier when he is talking about the meaning of marginal because it is true that margins sometimes do not come out the way you want it to be, nothing or nobody is perfect and there are always something ruining the perfect moment that we all have or want. Marginal act take such a high valued meaning according to Frazier because the places and activities that he discovered through his childhood is something that has been lost in the past and also in many societies, especially the economic society.
According to Frazier, he added, “…the margin is where you can try out ideas that you might be afraid to admit to with people looking on. ” (7) This is an important concept to anyone’s life. One person’s marginal space can different from another person’s as long as it is an activity in which the person escapes from reality. In an economic society, time is considered money and Frazier’s activity of sitting on a tree for hours is more on the lines of suicidal, in economic society’s terms.
Frazier agreed that he felt useless at the time of just sitting but as he grew older, the useless time of gazing off turned into something sacred towards him. The sitting in the tree gave him memories and something to reflect back on. It came upon me when I took my nephews out to the ice rink at the Christmas in the Park; I realized if I never done this I would have missed out on what defined me as of today. Though it’s all fun and games I know that it’s one of the activities you can do once in a while that can take you away from your stress and busy day life-style.
Reflection cannot happen when there is nothing to look back on. There are always memories that others have whether it be good or bad. It might be their first time driving or their first time swimming. Any memory is something someone can reflect back onto to see who they are and to see how they got to the place they are now. The economic society always keeps moving on and thinks about the future, while human beings need time to focus and reminisce from where they came from. If someone keeps running straight with their heads down, they might get far but eventually, they will get lost.
In order to stay on track and know where you’re heading, at times the person needs to look back to see where they started from. Know where you are is the most important thing to knowing who you are and Frazier realized the great importance of that. Frazier’s useless “marginal” activity such as just plainly sitting brought out the importance of just doing things not to gain a profit but to gain something to reflect on. When Frazier was younger, he had his own marginal place and would always go out to “the woods”; it was his “part-time address, destination, purpose, and excuse” (1).
While Frazier ran around bumping into bushes and branches, slipping and sliding through thick brown dirt; I was ice skating at the ice arena, hop-scotching, and playing house. Throughout my childhood, I dedicated numerous hours in the freezing cold ice arena at the local mall, hop-scotched afterschool with my neighbors, and played house on the weekends with my cousins. These activities may sound typical as a child but it had a significant meaning towards me. It was my purpose to grow upon these marginal experiences.
In the end, all that matters is being able to free your mind from something that you free yourself from caring about what others think. And I believe that I accomplish my marginal activity as a child, through every fall and bruises that I received while ice skating, I couldn’t care less about what others had to say about me because I knew that every time I got up it’ll only make me a better skater in the end. Although changes occurred and I grew out of the marginal acts, agreeing with Frazier’s realization, “…and suddenly there was nothing up there for us.
” (4) The excitement of skating on the slipping cold ice with no shame of failing can only be done as a marginal act, because I can no longer look at the rink the same way I did when I was younger. Nor can I play hop-scotch the way I did, hopping from one box to another is like going from one class to another today. Instead of playing house with my cousins, we became college students looking for a stable job that can support our education. I agree with Frazier that the “remember whens” really does faltered and “playing” time doesn’t have to end here.
Although margins can be done differently and looked at differently, marginal is necessary for a person of all ages to let loose in order to overcome the pressure and stresses of everyday life. Frazier’s marginal activities consisted of breaking ice, climbing trees, and picking fruits. My marginal activities consisted of ice skating, hop-scotching, and playing house. Marginal activities may vary from being active in a sport, traveling, singing or perhaps even enjoying a movie night on the couch; by the end of the day marginal activities is necessary in order to free yourself from the strains of everyday life.
Courtney from Study Moose
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