The Accidental Tourist

by Anne Tyler

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What social concerns does this book raise?

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Overall, the basic challenge in this question is that there is a desire to extrapolate social concerns out of a primarily personal setting.  The book and the characters operate out of their own sense of reality and there is not much in way of these characters stepping out into the social realm.  If one were to find social implications in the text, I would think that one of the most profound would be how individuals deal with death and tragedy.  Macon's "muffled" and "encased" manner isolates individuals and does not breed a sense of community that can help facilitate the healing process.  One social concern might lie here.  If individuals are following this same pattern of isolation, social reconciliation of tragedy is going to be difficult.  Consider the plight of Norwegians who are dealing with the aftermath of the shootings and death in their country.  Those who remain inwardly driven, like Macon, will find it difficult to experience the group dynamic of healing and reconciliation that is going to allow a sense of perspective and psychological health to emerge.  The principle social concern lies here.  The way in which individuals or social orders process moments of sadness and intense pain can represent how cultural notions of healing and understand can emerge.

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