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The other town, when we enter, suddenly casts over our town a therness, an otherness, which we find pleasing, if a little confusing. It’s almost as if we can’t feel our town, cannot know about it, until we’re there, in the other town, imagining our town on the other side of the woods. So perhaps it’s true, after all, that when we visit the other town we aren’t escaping from our town, as some say, but entering it at last.

the other town“The Other Town” is a mysterious yet intriguing quite story that grabs the reader into these two towns—vastly similar, but also noticeably different. The story is approached from both an objective point of view and first-person point of view. The story is written almost like a newspaper article, but we the narration is objective because the narrator themselves live in the town and is critiquing the actions as well as opinions of other citizens in the town. Similar to the “The Dome,” this story is written to inform the reader of a place we are unfamiliar with and show us what makes this place different from what we know as the familiar. Millhauser chooses not to follow the common format of stories such as the presence of a protagonist or antagonist. Instead, Millhauser focuses in on the setting of the story and creates in detail, a conflict between the two towns. Millhauser approaches the conflict of the story in an obscure way, which brings out the fantastic. He presents the conflict by detailing how the citizens interact and are so involved with the other town as well as the lack of secrecy that the replication of the other town brings. Millhauser’s creation of the other town, which sole purpose is to replicate the lives of the main town, reminds me of social media and reality television. Similar to the citizens in the story, who often don’t realize what is going on where they live in until they go to the other town, social media users often don’t realize what occurs in their own homes or town until it is through the camera lens or post of another person. Along with the precise replication of the town which invades others privacy. Social media and reality television can open the curtain to no privacy and it can expose the missteps or blemishes in people’s lives. It may seem enjoyable and entertaining when we are looking into someone else’s life, but when it is our own it can be perceived as intrusive. I think Millhauser used such a strange setting and circumstance of having a replicated town to reinforce the differences of perception: the outside looking in vs. the inside looking out.

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