the box man

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“The Box Man” was written in 1986 in Barbara Lazear Ascher’s first book, Dancing after Dark and was later reprinted in the Compact Reader. The setting of the Box Man essay took place in Manhattan, New York. Although it was never stated, Ascher hinted at this by mentioning two of New York’s newspapers the Daily News and the Wall Street Journal (Ascher par 8). In addition she gives the address “220 East Forty-Fifth Street” which is right in front of where I lived. The three main characters in this essay are the Box Man, the lady at the coffee shop and the lady across the way. She uses the Box Man, a man who has chosen his loneliness and “lives the life of the mind” (Ascher par 12). The thesis of Ascher is that we must accept are [our] loneliness and embrace our imagination, by doing this we can find solace in our self. Ascher states, “All humans are estranged from each other, regardless of their relationships, because of the impossibility of true communion and pure communication.” [Ascher does not say this. This is my explanation or analysis of Ascher’s thesis taken from “Understanding ‘The Box Man’” without any attribution or sourcing.] The Box Man‘s acceptance of his loneliness and reliance on the solace that comes from looking within and outward through the imagination shows a way of dealing with this estrangement. This “life of the mind” can be achieved by living a simple and creative life. She urges us to simplify our lives and leave “pasture enough for imagination” and also to be free from clutter. [This is one of the best summaries of what the essay is actually about any student ever wrote.] Ascher starts the essay with a description of a homeless man who is building a home out of boxes (par 1-7). The Box Man is not only searching for boxes, but he is looking for the perfect ones. Ascher then compares the Box Man reading the Daily News on his boxes, to a
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