Walden Two | Study Guide

B. F. Skinner

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Walden Two | Chapter 9 | Summary

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Summary

Burris enjoys flirting with Mary over breakfast alone. They share some humorous banter, playfully criticizing some aspects of the community like the labor credits. Later, Frazier takes the group to the housekeeper, who gives them the task of window washing. They divide up the work into separate tasks for efficiency. Castle and Burris undertake the work with good humor and comment in the end it is preferable to grading papers.

Analysis

Burris continues to show a fondness for women. Though the first woman with whom he enjoyed company at the theater came across as too forward and expressive, he enjoys having Mary to himself for a while at breakfast before the others join them. Unfortunately, though, his inner dialogue is very critical of Mary's intellect, assuming she does not comprehend his subtle humor—another instance of sexism.

Castle's humor manifests, which indicates a pleasant transformation in his character. Barbara also makes a joke about their expected labor when she says to Frazier, "We are your slaves, master. Do with us as you will." The show of humor at this point in the story can show the guests are feeling more comfortable with the surroundings and workings of the community. Its novelty is waning, which allows the author to begin exploring deeper issues, such as economics, child-rearing, and politics.

Barbara's joke about slavery could also be Skinner's allusion to More's Utopia, in which slavery was essential to the community. This allows Skinner to show how the economic proposal in his story for a utopian community differs from some other literary work.

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