Reading Response to Sherry Turkle, Evocative Objects

The whole theme of this book is an interesting one and a fascinating way to think about how humans value and shape their lives around objects, regardless of monetary value. Some items are specific and have very fixed meaning and purpose to the author, like the cello and ballet slippers, while other examples are more nebulous and broad, like the story of stars.

Another interesting point the story features is that the objects that change people’s lives may not necessarily be items that they own. An example of this concept is the story of the Melbourne train, which was a prominent part of the writer’s life as he heard it rumble past the house that his family had newly moved into. Most of us might think of trinkets and mementos that we own when prompted about our own personal “evocative objects” but this story shows that there exists deviation to this quick assumption.

Also displayed in this book is the difference between items of obvious and perhaps even trite sentimental value (the stuffed bunny, for example) and other objects that to many others seem to serve one fixed purpose but to the author holds a tremendous sentimental value, like the World Book example. The writer tells us of how this book literally did give him the world, and opened up so many topics of discussion and thought that were not offered to him by his family environment of cold silence.

This reading has given me a lot of perspective into how other people form their lives around objects and how objects form the life of people as well. It’s also given me a chance to reflect on my own life and what objects I would consider evocative to me personally, though I know as I continue to grow and shift as a person, these things will differ greatly, since the stories featured here tell of established adults who’ve already gone through most of their lives’ formative experiences.

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