The Living Room

Ben Manahan

Professor Tran

21st Century Expression

December 16, 2015

Final Post: The Living Room

“The Living Room” is a story about a woman who begins to follow the life of her neighbors through their living room window. Given that this story is a true story we cannot analyse the piece the way we have looked at many of the works this past semester. What happened both in the living room and how the narrator reacted to the couple’s lives was not scripted the way novels are. Despite this we can still compare common human characteristics to the characters in Love and Radio’s episode that we brought to the class. This post will examine the main comparison my group made in class between “The Living Room” and the short story read at the beginning of the semester “Standard Loneliness Package.”

The main parallel between both “The Living Room” and “Standard Loneliness Package” to me was the action of peeking into other people’s lives. In “Standard Loneliness Package” the form of observation into someone’s life was through choosing to see the experiences of others through the customer’s eyes. Similarly to the podcast the action of observation was a conscious decision. This idea that we can look into others people’s lives has grown in recent years with the advent of new technologies that make it easier to peer into the lives of those that interest us. In class we spoke briefly about the prevalence of reality television and viewers investment into the shows; describing it as though they are friends with the people they are watching. This craving of looking into others people’s lives is only natural, and it is not hard to find the evolutionary benefits to such a curiosity.

Much of the class discussion also revolved around the idea of voyeurism and whether or not the actions of the narrator in the podcast were ethical. I would say that the large distinction between reality television and the podcast we listened to was that the narrator truly cared for the fate of the woman in the window. While reality television stars are made fun of for their daily issues, the narrator was truly routing for the woman to recover from the loss of her partner. It is not hard to tell that the narrator’s relationship with the woman in the window goes far beyond voyeurism.

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