Walden Two | Study Guide

B. F. Skinner

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Course Hero, "Walden Two Study Guide," February 6, 2018, accessed November 18, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walden-Two/.

Walden Two | Chapter 36 | Summary

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Summary

Burris is at Walden Two, and it is apparent he has been there for a while. He has been writing the book Walden Two while living in the community. He thinks of old habits he can discard and new pursuits that are open to him.

Analysis

The conclusion of the story is actually the beginning of Burris's new life. The story is basically a "bildungsroman," a type of coming-of-age story. However in this story the main character is not young and coming into adulthood, but an older man who is becoming wiser and more enlightened through his observations and experiences with a new way of life. This chapter is odd in it surprises the reader, for no apparent reason, Burris is already a convert to Frazier's community. It is as if Skinner felt the need to have a trick ending. It is unfortunate since Burris's transformation is enough. However, if readers knew Burris was a convert at the beginning of the story, it may have undercut the value of the learning process throughout the chapters, since we would already feel the narrator's decision to live at Walden Two was a foregone conclusion. Skinner clearly wanted to win over readers with his proposal of an experimental community. He allowed them to decide for themselves based on the information provided if they would convert to such a community, as did Steve and Mary.

Chapters 35 and 36 comprise the resolution of the story, with the final chapter driving home Burris's contentment with the decision he has made.

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