Blog posts on David Seamon, “The Home and At-Homeness,” and Scott Russell Sanders, “House and Home”

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32 thoughts on “Blog posts on David Seamon, “The Home and At-Homeness,” and Scott Russell Sanders, “House and Home”

  1. Sanders always paints a picture with words so well. In this chapter he successfully connects the products that are our modern homes with nature by breaking down the materials that they originate from. These descriptions help to make one realize that no matter how far removed from nature we think we are, there is always lineage that brings us back to the traditional idea of the outdoors and using the natural resources around us. This connection he draws with nature strengthens my idea that humans are not actually departing from nature, but instead becoming more enveloped within it and are in fact sitting in the driver’s seat of how nature develops and continues through its cycles. Uncertainties obviously remain that can presumably never be controlled, however the progress of our species tells us that very few things are out of reach on this planet and in this universe. Another interesting note for me was the etymology he described with “home” and “womb” having a similar sound to an ancient meditation technique used to put oneself in harmony with one’s surroundings. That is a very interesting piece of information.

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  2. The home and at-homeness was a very interesting article. David Seamon talks about how home is much more than a physical place but rather a spiritual and subconscious place of acceptance and control. He mentions his fathers morning routine and how he only does that at home because he feels in control. He mentions how home is a connection that is inescapable. That is why I knw people who hate where they are from yet go back at the first chance they get. Seamon also talks about how home is a place of control and how uninvited guests violate this. Living in a residence hall, I COMPLETELY understand what he means. The concept of home goes with the concept of being the ‘king of your castle’. This at-homeness has had a far and deep impact on our laws and morals. Such as how we ask whether we should take our shoes off when we enter a house or going to the extreme with stand-your-ground laws. The sense of at-homeness has only expanded as society became more independent via the internet and modern technology.

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  3. Sanders’s “House and Home” chapter was interesting between his details and explanations on the house and the home. He tells us that the word ‘house’ comes from a root meaning to cover or conceal while ‘home’ means “the place where one lies.” Sanders also says that a home should be welcoming and you should want to go there. I completely agree with what he says and understand the difference between house and home a little more now, thanks to the description of Sanders’s house. A house, to me, is simply an object. Sanders bought a house to live in to cover his family’s heads. However, his house became a home through the constant work and effort he put into it. Part of Sanders is in the house and that is what I think makes it his home. A home is much more personal, warm, and inviting. When I think of home, I don’t only think about my house. In fact, I think very little about it. Instead, I think about my family and friends and all the memories that took place there. Home to me is also where the rest of my family is. When I go to visit them, I still feel at home. There is a sense of belonging that an ordinary house would not be able to provide.

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  4. In The Home and At-Homeness by David Seamon, a quote that really hit home (punny) was “Attachment to home is associated with the experience of at-homeness the taken for granted situation of being comfortable and familiar with the world in which one lives his or her day-to-day life.” I can really relate to this because coming to college this year it really makes me appreciate what I had back home in Des Moines. I really miss all my home cooked meals and being able to feel at home in my own house and being able to see my family a lot more. Also relating back to that quote, it says we take it for granted what we have and that is totally me because I never thought I would say that because I was just so much looking forward to college and everything that came along with it. In Sanders reading, he more separated the difference between what makes a house a house and what makes a house a home. Sanders says that a home should be a welcoming place and you should willingly want to go there. While a house is simply just a structure and some where to go.

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    • 5 points. In a later essay that we’ll look at by Sanders, “After the Flood,” he talks about how our earliest homes from when we were children imprint very deeply on us, whether we “love it or hate it,” as he says. So even when we want to leave, our homes often have a great hold over us.

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  5. I don’t know whether this is a common feeling that most people have or if this is just me, but sometimes I see my self imagining where I am going to live in the future, how my house is going to look like, and all the things I’m going to be doing there.
    After reading David Seamon’s and Sanders’ essays, I understood that there are two concepts of home. For Seamon, home can be a place where you live alone, a place that is not even truly yours, but rented. As he says it, home is: “the place where you come and go more often; the place of which one is in charge of; the place one can be alone and regenerates, being as ridiculous one wants to be; the place where one feels secure and warm.” I don’t recall, at any point, Seamon talking about the influence of people we care about taking part in the concept of home, but just how influential is the presence of those who are not welcome.
    On the other hand, Sanders gives us a different idea of home, of which seems essential for him. Apparently, the idea of house becoming a home comes from the memories one have there; “a place to conceive your young and raise them; home is where you are welcomed by the people and the house.” There is a real feeling there, it is more about the people, different from Seamon that it can be more about the place and things.
    However, some of Seamon’s ideas are also shared by Sanders on his definition of home, and the majority are written on the second paragraph. But what was remarkable for me was that there could even be a debate on whether the presence of family is essential or not for a house to become home.

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    • 2 points. Interesting observation that the only other people Seamon talks about are intruders into a home. I believe that many or most of the other characteristics he talks about relating to home and at-homeness result from family relationships (such as security and warmth), though he doesn’t always make that explicit. He does suggest the participation of others a bit when he talks about warmth, though, I think.

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  6. The five main themes discussed in the readings were Rootedness, appropriation, regeneration, at-ease, and warmth. David Seamon the author of The Home And At-Homeness reading has some interesting themes about the idea of home. For one I like how he explains the idea of rootedness not only in the physical place but that at home we have a daily ritual that is done at our home. If this ritual does not start off at home our day has been thrown off. At home we also have a feeling of possession over the place we do call home and this idea is explained through the theme appropriation. Not only the we own this space but that we have total control over it as well. Which leads to his next theme regeneration we use home to go home and to rest to make ourselves feel rejuvenated and that is what a central purpose that we use our home for. I do not agree with the next two themes he explains as being separate because I consider them one. He explains “the person who is at home can be what he most comfortably is and do what he most wishes to do” when explaining the theme of at-ease but I feel that your home must feel warm for your to feel at ease. So I think that these two themes should be separated but I do see why the author made these two separate points but do feel that they overlap.

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    • 5 points. Good observation on the connection between warmth and at-easeness. I think all the points Seamon makes are interrelated in the end–you can’t have at-easeness without appropriation or rootedness, either, for example. Just as with Selznick, Putnam, etc. the characteristics are all part of a whole and are interdependent.

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  7. I enjoyed reading Sander’s piece “House and Home.” I thought many of his ideas were very relevant to how I feel about my own home. I like how he said, “houses are for sale, not homes.” The term house derives from the terms ‘conceal’ and ‘cover’. These terms seem cold and a house is almost like a place to hide. The term home come from ‘a place where one lies’. This is much more welcoming and home seems like a more comforting place where you can make a personal connection. He is saying a house isn’t your actual home until you make memories in it. I also really enjoyed Sanders analogy of baseball to the meaning of home. You hit a ball and leave home, there is danger around every base but you have an ultimate goal of returning home to safety. Home is a place where people go to feel safe from the outside world, it a place where you can relax and be yourself without worry of judgment. In David Seamon’s “The Home and at-homeness” he talked about the five themes of at-homeness which are rootedness, appropriation, regeneration, at-easeness, and warmth. He spoke about rootedness being the physical familiarity of a house. I made a connection with this because even in the pitch dark of the night I can walk from my room to the bathroom without hitting any walls or corners because I am so familiar with my house itself.

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  8. Rachel Henkle: There is a lot to be said in both pieces read. Starting with Sanders ‘Staying Put,’ you start to get a glimpse into his life and how his home was incorporated in this. He often talks about the memories he has of each room and that even though him and his wife don’t own one of the richest houses out there, he feels truly happy with how the space is occupied. I agree with him that home has a special place in your heart and centers your life in some ways. I especially like it when he talks about being able to look at every room and see a different event that brought the family together with new, abounding emotions. The experiences he had watching his daughters grow up. He goes on to describe his own childhood ideas of a home and how he had to compromise with his wife for they vastly differed on what a home looks like. A home is not just a piece of property, but a place of security, familiarity, and a time to unwind. He describes an old, homeless women who never truly experienced this because she never had a true place of belonging. As you can see Sanders puts a lot of effort and time into making his mark on his home his own. It’s not enough to just buy a building, but you need to invest emotionally and physically into what this place is too you. Home is a key factor into helping us feel secure, safe, and happy. In the next piece, ‘The Home and At-Homeness,’ David Seaman discusses a systematic order to what the factors of a home are. I agree with him stating that a home can often be taken for granted for a lot of us. It becomes so much of our daily routine that we often forget what a big impact in our lives it is. He talks about the rootedness, where you feel your foundation has formed. Then there is appropriation, to control the space; regeneration is to feel restored just from being in your home. Finally there is warmth, and this has got to be my favorite listed out of them all. I feel so much warmth when I am around my family or in my bedroom relaxing. There are so many fond memories I have and it helps me incorporate the rest of these factors into what a home is. I really liked these two pieces because they show how important it is to find the right home to make you feel a sense of peace in the world.

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  9. In this week’s readings, Sanders really makes his point about what he wants his home to mean to him. At first he describes how unsettling it is to live in a place that is never quiet and is constantly corrupted by loud noises and violence. Him and his wife had a lot of trouble raising their baby in their boisterous home, so they decide to start to look for houses in a more quiet and serene setting. He describes his relationship to his new home by saying it is as important as finding a significant other to marry. I relate to Sanders when it comes to finding a home because I have lived in the same farmhouse my whole life because my mom refuses to move. She loves that we live in a place where it takes a ten minute drive to get anywhere. We have privacy that you would not have if you lived in a suburban area. My dad considered selling our farm but my mom would not allow this to happen because she literally wants to live on our quite, rural farm until she is too old to climb stairs. In this sense, Sanders reminded me how lucky I am to live in such a private place and I need to remember to appreciate this.

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    • 5 points. Your situation is growing more unique not just because you live in a quiet place but also because people are living in homes for fewer and fewer years. To have a long residence in one home is becoming more rare, and having a multigenerational family relationship with a home is becoming even more so.

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  10. A point in Sanders piece “House and Home” that really made an impression on me was when he gave the literal definition of “house” and “home”. I never really considered the difference between the two words, but after reading this piece I realize that a house is mere shelter while a home is a place of comfort. Sanders points out that not everyone turns their house into a home, as many people move from place to place. A house becomes a home from the memories made inside. Responding to how a house becomes a home, Sanders quotes, “The short answer is that these walls and floors and scruffy flower beds are saturated with our memories and sweat”. I believe this statement to be true because I have lived in the same house for 17 years (as long as I can remember) and I cannot imagine coming home to any place else. I am such a homebody that even in my third year of college I miss my home and the feeling of security that comes with it. I don’t feel the same sense of calmness and stability in my new apartment as I do in my house back in my hometown. For now, my apartment truly is by definition merely shelter.

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    • 5 points. The college experience really raises a lot of interesting questions about home. Even though you still have very strong feelings about and connections to the home you grew up in, do you think it’s also possible to create a sense of home in your apartment? That is, must “home” be a single place? Can we have more than one home?

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  11. When I consider what makes a house a home in regards to Seamon’s writing, I think that Warmth, Appropriation, and At-Easness are the most important components to me. I also feel that Appropriation leads to Warmth which leads to At-easness.

    Rootedness, is something that I know can just come from time regardless of where you are. During my time in the Army, everything is habit, everything is organized, but I never felt at home. In prison every moment of everyday is a dictated routine and yes some prisoners become institutionalized but many can’t wait to get out because that place is not a home.

    Regeneration can come from the home but many of others places, circumstances or people can help one feel regenerated. As an extrovert, being home alone some days can feel very draining and even depressing some days. Admittedly though, we all have those times that all we want is to lay down in our own beds. There is a comfort and security to our rooms but it does not always feel like home.

    Appropriation to me is us turning our space into a reflection of our selves. We get to dictate the color of the walls, placement of furniture, lighting, decorations, and even the smell. It helps us feel more comfortable, safer in our place. We can dictate who is welcome, when guests should head out, what people come over for in the first place. It’s our home, our rules.

    This comfort of making out place the way we want it, leads us to the warmth that our home provides. You can see the memories created, the comfort of your favorite chair, the smell of the blanket your grandmother made for you years ago. Sometimes we are even so lucky to have someone to come home to or be the person who welcomes that other person that shares this space. The embrace of someone important to you can warm you to the bones, their smile can make worries melt away, a joke can bring a smile that has been missing from you all day.

    The warmth then allows us to feel at ease, which to me is the ultimate sigh that this space is more than a house or an apartment and has truly become your home. It’s the place where you can try alternative dance routines, cook your favorite meal your way, watch your favorite show how you like. It becomes the place that not only is reflective of you but also allows you to do you. When you can do that you have truly arrived.

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    • 5 points. Very good analysis of the interconnections between Seamon’s characteristics of home. Bringing up prison is interesting. A year or so ago, I visited Iowa’s maximum security prison in Ft. Madison (the old one, before they moved to the new one) as part of a Humanities Iowa board meeting. It was very interesting to see how intent the efforts of many prisoners were to make their cells as much a home as possible within the very strict confines of the prison. It’s a strong impulse!

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  12. After reading Scott Russell Sanders’ “House and Home” and “The Home and At-Homeness” from David Seamon’s “A Geography of the Lifeworld: Movement, Rest and Encounter”, I feel like I connected with almost everything that David Seamon had talked about in his piece of writing. The first part I connected with, was the term of rootedness. Just like the mother in the short story, back at my home in Waterloo, I knew where everything was and where it belonged to. The next part I connected with was the term regeneration. It talked about how a person drove home late at night just to be at home in their own bed. There have been times in my life where I was planning on spending the night at my friend’s house, but once it was about time to go to sleep, all I wanted was to just be able to sleep in my own bed, so I ended up driving home, so I could do just that. One of the last terms that I connected with was At-Easeness. When I am out in public I try to be mature and act like a gentlemen around people. But when I’m at home, or at my friend’s house, I tend to act like my normal self, much like the example that Seamon gave us.

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  13. I enjoyed reading David Seamon’s “The At Home and At-Homeness” because I could relate to it. He says, “care is associated with places of warmth: the person feels concern for the home and keeps it ordered and in good repair.” I lived in an apartment for 2 years here in Iowa City. I thought that it was home. You know, I’d go there to regenerate and what not. But then I moved into a new house and realized that that tiny apartment was not a home. I didn’t care for it as much as I do my house. I am a lot better at keeping everything clean and organized. I thought that it was because I got a lot less lazy. But now I know it has more to do with how comfortable and warm I feel in my house. I’ve also noticed that I’m a lot more productive. I get things like homework and chores done with a lot more ease. Seamon characterizes this as at-easeness. I can do homework anywhere, but I feel most comfortable in my home.

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    • 5 points. I’m glad your house is much more a home for you! If you did feel at home in your apartment, though, maybe that could have been “home,” too, though not as strong? Are there different levels of “at-homeness,” or is it just an absolute–you’re either “at home” or not?

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  14. Reading “The Home and at Homeness” I realized just how right Seamon was with his definitions of what makes a home. I always enjoyed driving home from school after a long day, opening the door, and feeling a sense of belonging. Nothing beat hot weather or a long day as well as plopping down on to the couch and relaxing. For me, at-easeness describes very well how I act at home. It may just be me, but it seems that in public people act differently due to societal pressures and a want to belong. People definitely act differently when they know they’re being watched and they try to abide by social norms. Most people want to fit in and do so by acting a little differently around different people. Yet at home they don’t have to put up a show for anyone and can truly be themselves. For example, when I’m at home there’s no one to judge me except for family. So instead of being very attentive and shy I am able to express myself and relax more. Because of the accepting environment that I live in, I also get a sense of warmth that Seamon was talking about. Being at home I’m comfortable and have a sense of security more so than other places. Which can also go along with Seamon’s term of appropriation. Although the front door is often used for letting people into your home I would also see it as something that protected me. My home was a place where only people that I wanted there could come. Seamon’s definitions of what makes a house a home are very well suited for actually discussing my own home.

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    • 5 points. Do maybe we just have different selves? A social self and an “at-home” self? That is, is our at-home self really more “true” than who we are with people in society? Are we really then somehow “false” out in society? Just some questions to think about…

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  15. After reading these similar yet completely different stories it made me realize that it is impossible to put a definition on how someone feels about what they consider home, because everyone has different opinions. Sanders focused more along the lines of the activities that were taking place in the home such as raising a child and Seamon didn’t seem to care about certain concepts just more along the lines of comfortability and being accepted in general. On top of seeing different perspectives on what these authors consider home, I really also liked Sanders baseball analogy when he talks about how you start at home and end at home because I think it’s so true how home is the place where you can avoid conflicts and problems (pick offs and run downs in his analogy.)

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    • 5 points. Different perspectives can and do certainly yield different ideas. I’m not sure that we can’t come to some general consensus or at least a set of fairly common characteristics that might describe typical ideas about hoe.

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  16. In this article he talks briefly about how we take for granted the feeling of being comfortable in a place we call home and also with this we do in our everyday lives. I can and also cannot understand this feeling. I understand it in the situation of just moving here and attending my first year at college. I have learned that it feels quite different to have to begin to learn a new day to day routine and then eventually try and be familiar and comfortable with it. I am familiar sometimes with the feeling that I might have taken my home that I have had my whole life because all of these things are new to me and not familiar. Reasons why I do not understand and relate the feeling of taking it for granted is because I am starting to appreciate being in college and having the opportunity of getting to have a different atmosphere and routines.

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