In Praise of Margins: Essay

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Purpose of Life

In a chaotic world and the pressures that come along with it, people tend to make time for themselves to clear up their minds and alleviate their stress. Ian Frazier’s essay, “In Praise of Margins” focuses on the importance of “marginal” activities and places. The essay construes marginal activities as a time and place where one can be carefree and true to themselves. Frazier is able to define “marginal” activities and places as “a higher sort of unpurpose” (Frazier, 45) by his experience and time spent in the woods when he was young. The woods were the place for Frazier to clear his mind and explore the endless boundaries it had to offer. Frazier argues that marginal places and activities allow people to try out new ideas that “you might be afraid to admit to with people…” (58) and they are valuable because they allow a person to have fun with their imagination while leaving out the feeling of judgment. I agree with Frazier when he explains the idea of margins because it is true how they have unexpected outcomes. There always tends to be something getting in the way of the moment people want or have, as nobody is perfect, which is why Ian Frazier holds such a high value for marginal activities and places.

Finding the perfect ice to stomp on, was Frazier’s way of explaining his sensation of marginal activity. He uses this example as a way for the audience to better understand that margins do not need constant focus as it does not always involve someone accomplishing a task. To go in more depth, Frazier adds that marginal activities can possibly lead to the makings of another one, that could possibly have a fallout. Even with changes constantly being made, margins will never leave a person’s life no matter how big or small they can be. Frazier’s marginal place was long gone, as he began to reach adulthood. He was able to gain the motivation of setting new goals and accomplishing them through his personal experiences with marginal places and activities. Margins are necessary by nature to allow one to breathe and take a step back to act the way they would behind closed doors. By allowing the mind and body to rest, it refuels the energy needed and opens up new ways of how you view things. Although Frazier and his friends used the woods as a place to escape the real world, there was no purpose intended with the escape.

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However, when Frazier looked back upon this as an adult, he finally understood that this meaningless escape was indeed beneficial. These activities have impacted his future because Frazier still visits the woods as an adult and still finds it valuable. Marginal places and activities display the capabilities one is able to accomplish. An example of a marginal activity or place would be going to the movie theater, as it is a common place where people can sit down and relax and not have to worry about anything else, but watching the film. Films spark the imagination in our minds and can influence us to become actors, search for our soulmates, or distract ourselves from our emotions. Like Frazier fooling around in the woods, these Margins have a purpose to fulfill even though it is unintentional.

Margins fulfill our desires of how we depict reality and help people escape from work or the set schedule they abide by. Although the thought of wasting time and doing whatever you desire is looked down upon, Frazier reassures the audience that with the downtime given to him, he is able to accomplish and gain something from this time period. For instance, my own personal experiences engaging in several different activities may appear useless to other people, which I look at as marginal. To illustrate, music is my gateway and I often find myself just listening to music and doing nothing else. In addition, music has helped me while doing my homework or studying, it refreshes my mind and relaxes my body. However, it can have the opposite effects for certain individuals and may even make it more distracting in this situation.

Marginal activities and places are essentially used as a learning mechanism for people to know how to be productive and gain the full meaning of productivity. This allows individuals to develop their independence and seek self-growth that ties together their characteristics. Frazier cannot argue enough that these margins are a life necessity for one to develop themselves. Sitting under the trees gives Frazier a flashback to Christmas when he spent his day ice skating with his nephews. If he were to not go back to his marginal place, Frazier would not have anything to reflect back upon and alter the type of person he is today. People can rely on their memory, good or bad, to gain a better knowledge of their current standing. Frazier emphasizes that it is important to know what type of person and character you are. In comparison to Frazier’s time spent in the woods running around, I was playing basketball in my backyard. It was my marginal place that had a significant meaning and value and I was able to be carefree from what others think and let my mind loose. Bouncing the ball off my feet and air balling the ball, made me conclude that I was able to achieve my marginal activity while growing up as a child. The fact that others would stare or point out my mistakes, never bothered me as I knew that with constant practice I would become a better basketball player. Frazier shows that the activities and places you enjoy as a child could have a lasting effect on you. As you grow and become an adult, those same things that brought you purpose, may not be the same. Instead of having “marginal” places and activities, it is now just “margins.”

Although there are many viewpoints and interpretations of margins, it is necessary that individuals take a portion of their time to alleviate and escape the stress in their daily lives. Ian Frazier was able to provide examples from his childhood to show the disconnection he has between them now that he is an adult. He is able to derive the idea that margins are essential in the coming-of-age process, even if they perform different activities. Even though margins are being implemented in our everyday lives, we may not think these margins have a purpose, but in the end, people will always reflect and look back upon these marginal places and activities. As the world continually moves forward, humans need the time to take deep breaths to concentrate and pinpoint where they came from. It could be that the time you went to the park and watched the clouds as a child it was meaningless, but in reality, when you see clouds it now calls upon the memories of spending time with your grandma at the park. To exemplify this, Frazier states that “as the world gets jammed up, we need margins” (Frazier) and with margins, ​you are able to try out new ideas without the fear of people looking upon them. In the end, we learned that Frazier cannot emphasize enough that by following his guidelines of margins, we can easily avoid the strain and tension this jampacked world has to offer. If we continue to implement marginal places and activities in our daily lives, it can fuel our imaginations and spark creativity deep down within ourselves and have something to reflect upon to gain self-growth.

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In Praise of Margins: Essay. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 25, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/in-praise-of-margins-essay/
“In Praise of Margins: Essay.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/in-praise-of-margins-essay/
In Praise of Margins: Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/in-praise-of-margins-essay/> [Accessed 25 Jul. 2024].
In Praise of Margins: Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 27 [cited 2024 Jul 25]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/in-praise-of-margins-essay/
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