McPhee’s narrative as well as descriptive essay is about Atlantic City and is compared to the board game of life, “monopoly”, or is it? McPhee captured his audience with an opening statement about the board game itself, “monopoly” and the up and downs of the game. Go. I roll the dice- a six and a two. (Oates/Robert 361) Does this actual opening thesis statement, “The Search for Marvin Gardens” really about a board game? I do believe that McPhee had another agenda when writing this essay. McPhee leads us down a path of descriptive writing, cause and effect as well as a good narrative essay.
One will have to wait to read to the end to grasp the concept of McPhee’s writings about the once beautiful Atlantic City. He began to compare Vermont Avenue of the monopoly board game to Vermont Avenue in Atlantic City where there had seen a pack of dogs moving about the unclean and grubby city. (Oates/ Robert 362) McPhee thought the only way he could describe how he was feeling about Atlantic City, the old, and the new Atlantic City was to use the comparison of the monopoly board game.
This adventure continues as McPhee continues “The Search for Marvin Gardens” in the classy suburbs of Atlantic City. The Search for Marvin Gardens could long be over now if he could just win this game. Metaphorically, St. Charles Place was one of the worst places in the city. It had no signs of life and McPhee speaks of how he rolled the die to move eleven spaces to purchase St. Charles Place for $140. 00. (Oates/ Robert 361) This leads the reader to believe that St.
Charles Place was a place that may need some reconstructing, a pick me up if you will. His experience from rolling the dice and ending up in jail is in comparison to him being in jail in Atlantic City himself. He felt as though if he just pauses there, wait there until my opponent, in his inescapable rounds, pays the rates of my hotels. Jail at times is the strategic place to be. I roll boxcars from the Reading and now moved the flatiron to Community Chest. “Go to jail.
Go directly to jail. (Oates /Robert 370) It is very interesting how the scene is set to find peace and or happiness in this essay. As McPhee stroll’s us through different areas in Atlantic City from the poorest neighborhoods to the riches neighborhoods, he still has not found peace because the search for “Marvin Gardens” had not been found. McPhee speaks of how long it took others to play this game at approximately 768 hours and the following month how another game played lasted approximately 820 hours.