It is speculated that gardens arise from a basic need in the individuals who made them: the need for creative expression. There is no doubt that gardens evidence an impossible urge to create, express, fashion, and beautify and that self-expression is a basic human urge; (46) Yet when one looks at the photographs of the garden created by the homeless, it strikes one that , for all their diversity of styles, these gardens speak os various other fundamental urges, beyond that of decoration and creative expression.
One of these urges had to do with creating a state of peace in the midst of turbulence, a “still point of the turning world,” to borrow a phrase from T. S. Eliot. (47)A sacred place of peace, however crude it may be, is a distinctly human need, as opposed to shelter, which is a distinctly animal need. This distinction is so much so that where the latter is lacking, as it is for these unlikely gardens, the foemer becomes all the more urgent. Composure is a state of mind made possible by the structuring of one’s relation to one’s environment. (48) The gardens of the homeless which are in effect homeless gardens introduce from into an urban environment where it either didn’t exist or was not discernible as such. In so doing they give composure to a segment of the inarticulate environment in which they take their stand.
Another urge or need that these gardens appear to respond to, or to arise from is so intrinsic that we are barely ever conscious of its abiding claims on us. When we are deprived of green, of plants, of trees, (49)most of us give into a demoralization of spirit which we usually blame on some psychological conditions, until one day we find ourselves in garden and feel the expression vanish as if by magic. In most of the homeless gardens of New York City the actual cultivation of plants is unfeasible, yet even so the compositions often seem to represent attempts to call arrangement of materials, an institution of colors, small pool of water, and a frequent presence of petals or leaves as well as of stuffed animals. On display here are various fantasy elements whose reference, at some basic level, seems to be the natural world. (50)It is this implicit or explicit reference to nature that fully justifies the use of word garden though in a “liberated” sense, to describe these synthetic constructions. In them we can see biophilia- a yearning for contact with nonhuman life-assuming uncanny representational forms.
46. yet, when one looks at the photographs of the gardens created by the homeless, it strikes one that, for all their diversity of styles, these gardens speak of various other fundamental urges, beyond that of decoration and creative expression.
47. A sacred place of peace, however crude it may be, is a distinctly human need, as opposed to shelter, which is a distinctly animal need.
48. The gardens of the homeless, which are in effect homeless gardens, introduce form into an urban environment where it either didn’t exist or was not discernible as such.
49. most of us give in to a demoralization of spirit which usually blame on some psychological conditions, until one day we find ourselves in a garden and feel the oppression vanish as if by magic.
50. It is this implicit or explicit reference to nature that fully justifies the use of the word garden, though in a “liberated” sense, to describe these synthetic constructions.
Shakespeare’s life time was coincident with a period of extraordinary activity and achievement in the drama. By the date of his birth Europe was witnessing the passing of the religious drama, and the creation of new forms under the incentive of classical tragedy and comedy. These new forms were at first mainly written by scholars and performed by amateurs, but in England, as everywhere else in western Europe, the growth of a class of professional actors was threatening to make the drama popular, whether it should be new or old, classical or medieval, literary or farcical. Court, school organizations of amateurs, and the traveling actors were all rivals in supplying a widespread desire for dramatic entertainment; and (47) no boy who went a grammar school could be ignorant that the drama was a form of literature which gave glory to Greece and Rome and might yet bring honor to England.
When Shakespeare was twelve years old, the first public playhouse was built in London. For a time literature showed no interest in this public stage. Plays aiming at literary distinction were written for school or court, or for the choir boys of St. Paul’s and the royal chapel, who, however, gave plays in public as well as at court.(48)but the professional companies prospered in their permanent theaters, and university men with literature ambitions were quick to turn to these theaters as offering a means of livelihood. By the time Shakespeare was twenty-five, Lyly, Peele, and Greene had made comedies that were at once popular and literary; Kyd had written a tragedy that crowded the pit; and Marlowe had brought poetry and genius to triumph on the common stage - where they had played no part since the death of Euripides. (49)A native literary drama had been created, its alliance with the public playhouses established, and at least some of its great traditions had been begun.
The development of the Elizabethan drama for the next twenty-five years is of exceptional interest to students of literary history, for in this brief period we may trace the beginning, growth, blossoming, and decay of many kinds of plays, and of many great careers. We are amazed today at the mere number of plays produced, as well as by the number of dramatists writing at the same time for this London of two hundred thousand inhabitants. (50)To realize how great was the dramatic activity, we must remember further that hosts of plays have been lost, and that probably there is no author of note whose entire work has survived.
Within the span of a hundred years, in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, a tide of emigration-one the great folk wanderings of history-swept from Europe to America. (46) This movement, driven by powerful and diverse motivations, built a nation out of a wilderness and, by its nature, shaped the character and destiny of an uncharted continent.
(47) The United States is the product of two principal forces-the immigration of European peoples with their varied ideas,customs and national characteristics and the impact of a new country which modified these traits. Of necessity, colonial America was a projection of Europe. Across the Atlantic came successive groups of Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans, Scots, Irishmen, Dutchmen, Swedes, and many others who attempted to transplant their habits and traditions to the new world. (48) But the force of geographic conditions peculiar to America, the interplay of the varied national groups upon one another, and the sheer difficulty of maintaining old-world ways in a raw, new continent caused significant changes. These changes were gradual and at first scarcely visible. But the result was a new social pattern which, although it resembled European society in many ways, had a character that was distinctly American.
(49) The first shiploads of immigrants bound for the territory which is now the United States crossed the Atlantic more than a hundred years after the 15th-and-16th-century explorations of North America. In the meantime, thriving Spanish colonies had been established in Mexico, the West Indies, and South America. These travelers to North America came in small, unmercifully overcrowded craft. During their six-to twelve-week voyage, they survived on barely enough food allotted to them. Many of the ships were lost in storms, many passengers died of disease, and infants rarely survived the journey. Sometimes storms blew the vessels far off their course, and often calm brought unbearably long delay.
To the anxious travelers the sight of the American shore brought almost inexpressible relief. Said one recorder of events, "The air at twelve leagues' distance smelt as sweet as a new-blown garden." Thecolonists' first glimpse of the new land was a sight of dense woods.(50)The virgin forest with its richness and variety of trees was a real treasure-house which extended from Maine all the way down to Georgia. Here was abundant fuel and lumber. Here was the raw material of houses and furniture, ships and potash, dyes and naval stores.
With its theme that “Mind is the master weaver，” creating our inner character and outer circumstances， the book As a Man Thinking by James Allen is an in-depth exploration of the central idea of self-help writing.
(46) Allen‘s contribution was to take an assumption we all share-that because we are not robots we therefore control our thoughts-and reveal its erroneous nature. Because most of us believe that mind is separate from matter， we think that thoughts can be hidden and made powerless; this allows us to think one way and act another. However， Allen believed that the unconscious mind generates as much action as the conscious mind， and (47) while we may be able to sustain the illusion of control through the conscious mind alone， in reality we are continually faced with a question： “Why cannot I make myself do this or achieve that? ”
Since desire and will are damaged by the presence of thoughts that do not accord with desire， Allen concluded ： “ We do not attract what we want， but what we are.” Achievement happens because you as a person embody the external achievement; you don‘t “ get” success but become it. There is no gap between mind and matter.
Part of the fame of Allen‘s book is its contention that “Circumstances do not make a person， they reveal him.” (48) This seems a justification for neglect of those in need， and a rationalization of exploitation， of the superiority of those at the top and the inferiority of those at the bottom. This ，however， would be a knee-jerk reaction to a subtle argument. Each set of circumstances， however bad， offers a unique opportunity for growth. If circumstances always determined the life and prospects of people， then humanity would never have progressed. In fat， (49)circumstances seem to be designed to bring out the best in us and if we feel that we have been “wronged” then we are unlikely to begin a conscious effort to escape from our situation .Nevertheless， as any biographer knows， a person’s early life and its conditions are often the greatest gift to an individual.
The sobering aspect of Allen‘s book is that we have no one else to blame for our present condition except ourselves. (50) The upside is the possibilities contained in knowing that everything is up to us; where before we were experts in the array of limitations， now we become authorities of what is possible.