First Impressions on Haltman

Though I would not describe Haltman’s piece as riveting, I do find the information given to be written in such a way that it held my attention. In fact, I genuinely found it interesting to read. The descriptive, yet concise language used was, at times, beautiful to read.

For instance, instead of telling the reader their writing should be descriptive and organized, Prown says, “imbue your description with the thick texture of taxonomy yet with the flow of narrative.” (Haltman 3) How incredibly well written is that?

As the text progressed, it moved beyond description and towards finding meaning in what was described. Why does the texture matter? What effect does the use of warm colors have on me? These questions would ultimately lead to the final question: Why is this object culturally significant?

Each question mentioned previously is fairly subjective and up for interpretation. This would imply that if a group of people individually answered them, the resulting answers would be as varied as each person is to each other. Prown agrees– stating that, “it seems to depend on a linkage… between the object and some fundamental human experience…” (Haltman 2)

This means we could never get to a definitive, universal answer to how a particular object holds significance, since every person would come to a different answer. However, this does not mean the answer we come to is meaningless.

Work Cited

Haltman, Kenneth. American Artifacts: Essays in Material Culture. Michigan State  University Press-East Lansing. September 20, 2000. Date Accessed: January 23, 2017.

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