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“People began to turn elsewhere for the pleasures of the unknown and the unseen.” (157)

Millhauser’s story “The Tower” while using the fantastic element of exaggeration with the size of the tower, also makes use of the idea of duality in a never ending ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ metaphor.Multiple instances of this physical dichotomy appear: in and out, up and down, vertical and horizontal. More subtly, there is the mental dichotomy between the known and unknown that permeates the physical elements of life. The most obvious appearance of this contrast occurs when observing the people who live in and around the tower. Travelers would choose to settle into the calmer and easier life within the tower, while horizontal dwellers would feel the need to leave their portion of the tower in search of something else. Neither of the groups are able to truly be happy where they are. This theme of duality reflects the continuous human desire for more and better things that, even when quenched are unsatisfied. This dissatisfaction can be observed in the reactions to the completion of the tower, a marvel that quickly passed into “daily life” that left the inhabitants restless and unfulfilled (156). The tower was a goal, an unattainable aspiration that was never truly meant to be achieved. When it was, it was a shock and disappointment, because with the tower done, and people entering and exiting heaven, where would they turn their hopes to? There was hope in the unknown left.

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