Read the story and answer one of the questions.
1) Pay close attention to how the simulation on “Cassidy Lane” is described from Isaiah’s perspective and analyze what kind of environment/rhetoric is created in this space. You may want to take into account how he describes his role as “a young man who is up to no good or nothing at all” (emphasis mine), his response as “mimicry” of the patron, or the fact that most patrons choose a gun over calling the police. How is the aggression triggered or encouraged in this simulation?
2) Isaiah decides to work at Zimmer Land despite protesters’ attack or the question from Melanie, his ex-girlfriend (“Why do you still work there?”). Analyze his reasoning for keeping the job and share your thoughts on what kind of decision he is making. Does his reasoning sound compelling to you? Or do you think he misses something? Also, the final pages of the story feature Isaiah’s encounter with another patron with a child. When he puts a trigger of the protective suit on the ground, what kind of decision is he making? Along with the change made in Zimmer Land, analyze how Isaiah envisions the function and meaning of the park as well as himself.
3) How does Zimmer Land foreground what we witness in our society? How does imagining this kind of place in the short story help us to address issues we find in our own life? To pursue this question, you may want to think about how capitalism plays a role in this theme park, how it emphasizes “visceral” experiences of the patrons, or how it uses the idea of “justice” in a very particular way. It may be also helpful to use a gap between Isaiah’s and Melanie’s interpretation of what this park is about.
4) Create your own discussion question. You need to pose an open-ended question that would stimulate your classmates’ thoughts (e.g. “What is the importance of the concept of . . . ?” “How does this conversation complicate our understanding of . . . ?”) To give a concrete foothold for your classmates, explain which passage or scene led to your discussion question. Suggesting how you may answer the question or even explaining what you find interesting/confusing/strange will help your classmates to respond in a specific manner.
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