Walden Two Review

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's October 2001

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Skinner, Burrhus Frederic, Walden Two. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1948. Pages Read: 301 of 301 Written in 1945 and published in 1948, Walden Two was set in the 1940's, and was Skinner's only work of fiction. Among Skinner's other works are Science and Human Behavior, About Behaviorism, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, and Reflections on Behaviorism and Society. In Walden Two, B.F. Skinner describes his vision for a utopian community. The story begins with two young military servicemen, Rogers and Jamnik, visiting the office of Professor Burris, a psychology professor and the protagonist of the novel. It is through the eyes of Burris, the narrator, that we see Walden Two. After discussing the idea of utopian society Professor Burris, Jamnik and Rogers and their girlfriends, and Professor Augustine Castle, a colleague of Burris' decide to take a trip to Walden Two. Upon arrival, they meet T.E. Frazier, the founding member of Walden Two.

Over the course of their three day visit, they are given a tour of Walden Two and all of its features. The population of Walden Two is approximately one thousand people; all of which seem to be healthy and happy. Everything that is done at Walden Two is based on the principles of behavioursim.

The story concentrates on behavioural psychology but fails to answer questions concerning family values and community finances. The lifestyle of Walden Two, the name of this utopian society, maximizes leisure time, but fails to build strong families. Family members live separately: spouses in adjoining room, older children in dormitories, and babies in community run child care facilities. Meals for adults take place in large dining rooms, while the young children eat in separate accommodations. Teenagers are encouraged to marry in their late teens, and after marriage are invited to move...

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