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Walden Two

B.F. Skinner

Chapters 10-13

Chapter 8-9

Chapters 10-13, page 2

page 1 of 2

Summary

Chapter 10

At lunch, Frazier explains that Walden Two uses modern technology in order to avoid unpleasant, unnecessary, and uninteresting work as much as possible. Some of the food consumed by Walden Two is harvested from the plots of local farmers who, for whatever reason, are unable to harvest their own crops.

The visitors are then driven to the dairy, where a Manager explains its workings in detail. Frazier tells the group that, since Walden Two is not entirely self-sufficient, it must sell some goods to the neighboring communities. Mrs. Meyerson joins the group and they tour the weaving, metalworking, and wood-working shops, which seem well-maintained but strangely empty. Mrs. Meyerson, Barbara, and Mary separate from the main group; later they find Mary demonstrating a new stitch to some Walden Two members. Burris notes that no one thanks Mary for her contribution. They make dinner plans and return to the main building.

Chapter 11

While waiting for the others to gather for dinner, Burris and Castle notice a bulletin board listing daily events. At dinner, Frazier brings up the question of leisure time: if Walden Two members spend only four hours a day working, what do they do with the rest of their time? Frazier argues that Walden Two is the perfect environment in which to develop artists, and indeed a new "Golden Age." Burris replies that artistic genius must be at least partly in the genes, and among one thousand people there is only a small chance of finding an artistic genius. But Frazier claims that artistic genius is a product of environments, not biology. The group moves to the concert, a production of choruses from Bach's B Minor Mass--except for Steve and Mary, who go to a dance.

Chapter 12

The next morning, the group tours Walden Two's schools. They start in the nursery. There, babies are kept in heated glass cubicles for their first year of life. The cubicles keep the babies warm without the bother of clothing and protect them from irritation. Castle wonders whether the babies lack "mother love," and Frazier replies that the babies receive mother love, "father love," and all other kinds of affection in abundance.

Chapter 13

Children from ages one to three are housed in a separate wing. They have group sleeping areas that are similar in principle to the infants' cribs. The visitors see a small group of children leaving for a picnic and Castle wonders whether the other children are jealous. Frazier says that jealousy is largely unknown at Walden Two; in a planned community, competitive emotions are useless. Such emotions have been eliminated via "behavioral engineering."

Commentary

In Chapter 11, Frazier, Castle, and Burris discuss two important issues: the use of leisure time and the role of environment and biology in the development of "genius."

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May not be important, but...

by Funky-Train, September 03, 2013

On your character summary, you wrote that Barbara Macklin is Rodgers' girlfriend, but they're officially engaged. I think this is a significant detail, because Steve introduces his girlfriend, Mary Grove, informally as "my girl." This shows an immaturity in Steve, whereas Barbara and Rodgers view their relationship seriously.

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