Saturday, November 6, 2010

Alcatraz Reflections: Size and Scale

I had previously visited Alcatraz when I was around the age of 5. At the time I had very little knowledge about the island and its purpose, only that it previously housed “bad guys.” At the time I remember thinking of Alcatraz as a huge place. The movies we have watched so far helped to maintain my idea. The films always showed Broadway as being a wide runway and the cell blocks as being very tall. In actuality everything was much more confined. Besides the size, one of the few things that I remember from my initial trip was the recreation yard. I remember thinking it was such a huge area and that the steps along the side were so high up. While my opinion of the size of Alcatraz has changed, the rec yard still stood out to me but for a different reason. When I stepped through the doorway to the rec yard, I was surprised to see a gorgeous view of the San Francisco skyline. I kept thinking how tortuous it would have been to be given that little glimpse of freedom every time you were allowed outside. After that view, descending the stairs into the yard surround by towering, thick concrete walls seemed so overwhelming. It even made me a little claustrophobic and usually confined spaces don’t bother me. I just kept thinking about freedom on the other side of the wall. It gave me an appreciation of trapped feelings prisoners felt and how they would do almost anything to get out.


No comments:

Post a Comment