Intersects at Perception: In The Grove and They Saw A Game

In the Grove is a short story revolving around a murder, and the ensuing recounts from the perspective of each person involved.   One man confesses as the murderer, presumably ending any discrepancies in the reader’s interpretation of the mystery.  However, an account from the wife of the murdered man follows, contrasting in many aspects with the account of the alleged murderer.  To obfuscate things further, the spirit of the murdered man then provides his account of what happened—another significant contrast from the previous two accounts.   The author uses these differing recounts to highlight the somewhat ironic truth about reality.

This “truth” about reality is that what we “see” and how we interpret things varies—even if said variation is of the smallest degree—from what everyone else sees or interprets. In other words, what is undeniably true for one person may prove indisputably false for another.  In this regard, In the Grove is very similar with They Saw a Game, a case study also rooted in differing accounts of what technically was the “same” event.  In every single account of the game, no matter how different from the others, the person providing the account did so with an assumed sense of truth.  What each fan saw was what happened, because that is what he or she saw, and there is no one who can (with absolute evidence) dispute said recount.  The same holds true in In the Grove- how can any of the three recounts of the murder be absolutely false?  And yet, how can any of the three recounts be absolutely true?

The author of They Saw a Game states, “We behave according to what we bring to the occasion, and what each of us brings to the occasion is more or less unique.”  Emotions, beliefs, desires, and even the position in which we are observing all alter the way in which we see things.  The spirit of the murdered man in In the Grove is noticeably angry with his wife during his entire account of the murder, and claims he is the one who murdered himself.  Perhaps his “reality” is a result of some prior conflict with his wife, or maybe he believes he killed himself because his stupidity to follow the real murderer led to his death.  The “realities” in They Saw a Game are no different.   Are recounts of the “big game” really going to be identical between fans of say, Ohio State and fans of Michigan?  Probably not, but are the fans giving each account convinced that what they are saying is certainly, definitely, and indisputably correct?  Yep, and the two aforementioned stories highlight this simplicity for humans to think they are seeing things as they really are—a direct reflection of our cognitive bias to think we are often correct, without any reasonable evidence to believe so.

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