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“Island Selves” by Yi-Fu Tuan Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Nov 9th, 2021


People live, work, entertain and provide other facilities together, but at the same time they want to be separated from the others and enjoy their unique lives. There is an idea that people live on separate islands in the ocean, where a lot of other islands and the task of the current paper is either to support or deny this opinion. People live on the same planet and enjoy their lives, planet is not the only issue which unites people. Even different nations have a lot of common features, without mentioning the fact that there is impossible to live separately, that “island” people cannot live the whole life in such condition as people are social beings and they have to cross.

Main Body

The article under consideration is “Island Selves: Human Disconnectedness in a World of Interdependence” by Yi-Fu Tuan (1995), which dwells upon the concept that all people are interconnected in spite of the fact that they are separated. The first point, which is discussed in the article, is the uniqueness of human being. People are unique, they have different biological construction, as being created similarly, there are no two absolutely identical people (even twins are different). The brain is the other feature which makes people unique. People’s views, believes, thoughts and behavior are different, but still, people are connected culturally. The customs and traditions within one nation, one society unite people, so being unique, people are tied by some issues.

People are independent and this independence is one of the most desired issues. People are born in the families, they live, go to school and eat at the expense of their parents. Having received the education, they move from their parent and become live independent, but still, being independent and free, any person is usually tied. The person is tied with the society, with the work and family, as financial independence is not the whole independence. People are tied by feelings and emotions, by their desires and needs. Even being absolutely isolated, people have found a lot of ways to be bound. The first, and the most significant one, is the bond with nature. Food, building materials are the resources, which people depend from. Speech is the other bonding, and people are unable to live without communication.

There are people who try to stay on the distance from others; communication is not the issue they want to be busy with. Such people usually live aside, they care about themselves and do not care about others. They are usually considered as egoists, people who do not want to be dependant on others and who do not want to depend themselves. Such people also dependant and there are people who depend on them, but it is just people’s attitude to the world, egoism.

People want to be independent, all their lives they desire for independence but it is a great question, whether they ever obtain this independence. People live in the society, and this society ties. Here are people who want to be isolated and they leave towns, move to forests and consider the absolutely independent and disconnected. To consider the question closer it becomes understandable that such consideration is wrong, as person depends on nature (food or building materials).


So, even living without financial assistance and other modern issues, it is impossible for person to be absolutely independent and live isolated life. Modern people desire for independence in all meaning of this word, but this absolute independence is unreachable and a question arises, which people should ask themselves, whether they really want this isolation and independence as there is no sense in such life.

Works Cited

Tuan, Yi-Fu. “Island Selves: Human Disconnectedness in a World of Interdependence.” The Geographical Review 85.2 (1995).

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IvyPanda. 2021. "“Island Selves” by Yi-Fu Tuan." November 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/island-selves-by-yi-fu-tuan/.


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