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The Gateway to the West

A place that I have never been but am very interested in visiting is St. Louis, Missouri. In my spare time, I enjoy reading fantasy books and one of favorite series takes place in St. Louis. The series is by Laurell K. Hamiltonand her 22 book series (all of which are not completed yet) is called Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter. The series is about Anita Blake, a powerful sassy woman who has the power to raise the dead (it is also her occupation) and her increasing involvement with the supernatural world. In the series, the supernatural coexist with the humans and everyone is subject to the law. Since I have been reading this series since high school, St. Louis has become quite an interest of mine. I would love to visit the place that some of my favorite fictional characters live and die.

Laurell K. Hamilton

When I think and envision St. Louis, the first thing that comes to my mind is the symbol of the city, the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The Arch was designed by Eero Saarinen and Hannskarl Bandel and was finished building in 1965. The arch is a part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and is the tallest man-made monument. It is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River and symbolizes the “Gateway to the West”. Since it is such an important monument of the city, I wanted to further my understanding of what the Arch symbolizes for the city and if that coincides with the view that I have developed of the city through the descriptions provided in the Anita Blake series.

In order to explore more about the symbolic meaning the Gateway Arch for St. Louis, I looked on the Kenendy School of Government List and found the think tank Public Policy Research Center. At this think tank I found multiple articles that dealt with the symbolism of the Gateway Arch. One of the articles that I thought was interesting was “The Arch as Symbol Reflections if the meaning and value of a Monument” by Alan F.J. Artibise, Ph.D. Artibise believes that the Arch should perform four valuable functions including “providing a sense of place, providing a model of imaginative work, engaging people who use/visit/view the place, and assist in urban regeneration and vitality”. He believes that the Arch can do a lot more in terms of symbolizing the city since it does not do a good job at assisting in urban regeneration and vitality.

Based on my knowledge of the city that I have gathered from the Anita Blake books, I do not think that Artibise and Hamilton are describing the same city. However, the books do not go into a great about of detail about the city. Overall, I thought the think tank had reliable and relevant information that would help me if I pursued this topic some more. It was also focused on the city of St. Louis and provided many articles regarding the Arch.


About Amanda Skonezney

I am a senior accounting major and anthropology minor at Bucknell University. I am also apart of the division I women's water polo team. I currently live in Harrisburg, PA. After graduation, I plan on going into tax and earning my CPA.


One thought on “The Gateway to the West

  1. Who knew monuments could be the subject of public policy? In today’s “times are tough” budget cutting, it is easy to imagine cutting any new monuments or memorials. But maybe they are important for other reasons.

    Posted by Jordi | March 23, 2012, 2:21 pm

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Blog 5 before session 6 What (interest) or Who (person) Inspires You? For this week’s prompt, the Blog Council wants you to examine how this class relates to your own interests. So, please write about how this class relates to some of your own intellectual or other learning interests. We are NOT interested in how it relates to a specific career goal. Plan B: same idea, but based on a person. See whole post for details.

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