Flaws in life

In the novel The Scarlett Letter, Hester Prynne has to face the harsh punishments of Puritan society because of her sins. She must wear a scarlet letter on her chest for the rest of her life, which marks her as an adulterer. Throughout the novel, even with these circumstances, she grows as a person and learns from her mistakes. That idea of learning from ones mistakes or shortcomings is something that has always been important to society. In life, children are taught it is not always a terrible thing to make mistakes; as long as they learn from them. Even with those life lessons taught at an early age, everyone in the world has flaws or has made mistakes, including myself.

Throughout the early stages of schooling, when students are beginning to understand just how much time homework can take, teachers try to in steel a valuable lesson in them; do not procrastinate. However, although that idea was drilled into me from intermediate school and on, I still constantly struggle with it. Procrastination, is trying to find other things to occupy us, rather than what is important, like schoolwork. And for teenagers the task of finding other things is not hard; considering the social media, like twitter, or TV, is only takes a little convincing to stop working and become engrossed in technology. Even if there is nothing else to do, personally I will find something that seems more important, ranging from reading books to cleaning my room. Although I know I’m supposed to do something else, I somehow manage to convince myself that anything else is more important. Then I become frustrated when I’m scrambling to finish something, even though I know it is entirely my fault. I have tried to work on this problem, and throughout high school it is easier for me to focus on my work because I have so much of it. However, I do struggle with it, but most people say teenagers grow out of it, and that is what I am hoping for. I realize it is a major flaw of my personality, and that to procrastinate is a conscious act, but I am trying to be better about it.

Another flaw most people, and myself, have is stubbornness. Even admitting I have that is hard, since stubbornness kicks in and tries to say I don’t have that problem. In any situation, stubbornness can become a hindrance because it’s difficult to reasonably listen to others. Ranging from school, to socially, and at home, I must constantly remind myself to listen and stop being so hardheaded. Most of the time, once I think of something, it is very hard to change my mind. The thing I learned first is what I stick to, therefore it is hard to convince me of anything else. Also once I see someone’s actions, it is very difficult to tell me something else. Recently, I have learned to give people the benefit of the doubt, but stubbornness still tries to convince me otherwise. Furthermore, over the years I have learned to control myself better and be more open to all the details of a situation. I do realize that being stubborn is not a great characteristic, however I have tried to grow out of it and better myself on a whole.

Lastly, one of my shortcomings is my pride. Most others have to deal with this at one point in their life, so I feel it is not that odd of a flaw to have, however it is a large one. Pride can get in the way of a lot of things, from schoolwork to socially. Like others, once my pride is hurt because of something done, I become upset or shut down; usually the latter. And it can be anything that causes that, like an embarrassing moment, or being confident in something, then realizing it is completely wrong. Also my pride can cause me to assume I know best, which is far from the truth since I’ve only been alive for almost two decades. However, it is usually situations involving my peers, like on homework, or even socially, not with people older than me. I am trying to work on this trait as well, since being prideful is usually the downfall of many. However it is difficult and constant work, but I feel like it is important to not let pride rule a person’s thoughts. It is important to have a reasonable amount of pride, since it usually related to confidence, but having too much it a flaw that can result in terrible things. With all my misgivings, it is easy to feel bad, however I know I am trying to correct myself and be a better person. But those flaws do make up some of my personality, so it is not an easy task to change them, but I am constantly trying.

Not just Black and White

A famous novel, The Scarlett Letter, delves into a world of sin and its effects on the people involved. Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author, writes about a woman, Hester Prynne, who committed adultery and now has to live with the consequences; a scarlet letter embroidered on her dress. The novel follows Hester’s life, as well as her daughter Pearl, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth, over the course of seven years. It depicts all the things Hester has to go through because of her infidelities. She is shunned by others in the town, she feels like her daughter has evil in her (a result of what Hester did), and she also has secrets she keeps about the men involved. Not only is Hester affected by this sin, her husband, whom she thought was dead, returns and makes his sole purpose in life revenge. Then there is Arthur Dimmesdale, who is also Pearls father, who is literally slowly being killed by his guilt over these crimes. All this characters represent what sin can do to people, created sadness, guilt, or hatred.

Although Hawthorne’s novel is about these effects, he never condones or condemns the act of adultery between his characters. However, after reading the novel, most can agree he is borderline; meaning he does not condone it, but he also does not fully condemn it. Throughout his novel, he continually talks about the negative consequences associated with adultery; the guilt and shame his characters feel. However, Hawthorne also never outrights says that his characters are terrible people and deserve everything they’ve been handed. He sympathizes with them, acknowledging their pain and regret, as well as their desire to amend things. Hester and Arthurs crime was “of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose” (Chapter XVIII A Flood of Sunshine). Meaning that it was not to smite Hester’s husband or undermine their religion, it was merely passion. The act itself was not accepted, Hawthorne wrote, but he also wrote it wasn’t because of some evil desire to do wrong. He also said that no matter the reaction of other people, “the sufferer” shall always be haunted by the sin not because of “the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles after it” (Chapter II The Market Place).Hawthorne is probably implying there is no need for people to be outright rude and constantly remind a person what they did, since their own guilt will do the job. However, that also doesn’t mean to condone the actions, but as a person not directly involved stay somewhere in the middle of condemn and condone. One could argue either side, and claim that was Hawthorne’s viewpoint, but he never distinctly leans towards one side.

The Scarlett Letter is about the sin people commit, and also the people who then have to live with the aftermath. The purpose of Hawthorne’s novel does not seem to want readers to hate nor accept the crime, but to understand the sinner’s point of view, to sympathize rather than automatically look down on. This novel depicts adultery, or any crime, as not being just black and white, but gray; to neither condone nor condemn. Hawthorne seems like he truly believes in the gray area and wants his readers to understand that idea through his characters and their journeys.

Book Memories

LoveYouForever

Looking back at my childhood, the number of books I loved is astounding. (Especially considering I couldn’t read, or at least not well.) I remember most of the books my parents read to me, from Corduroy to The Very Quiet Cricket, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. All those books helped contribute to my childhood and to this day I occasionally bring out some of my old books and read them. They all still hold fond memories, but the one book that stands out in from my childhood is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.

This book is about a mother and son, and the love she has for him, and him for her. It starts out with the mother rocking her baby to sleep and she sings “I’ll love you forever/ I’ll like you for always/ as long as I’m living/ my baby you’ll be”. She continues to sing this little lullaby to him as he grows. The books ends with the son, now a full-grown man, going back to his mom and singing “I’ll love you forever/ I’ll like you for always/ as long as I’m living/ my Mommy you’ll be”. Then he goes to his house and sings the lullaby to his daughter. The ending shows how the cycle of a parents love for their child never ends, eventually that child will grow into a parent and have their own child to love. Now that I’m a bit older, I realize just how sad the ending is; the son sings to the mother because she is too old and sickly to sing to him, implying she might die soon, but no matter how sad, that’s how the cycle works. However, the story itself and what it means has always stuck with me. My mom used to read this too me maybe once a month. It showed how no matter what a child does a mother will always love him or her. The book is just a simple story, with a powerful message and I have always remembered it and what it is truly saying. Whenever I’m stressed or over-welled by school or something else I often reminisce and look at this book. It holds many fond memories for me, mostly about me and my mom. I suppose she read this book to me so many time because she was trying to remind me how much a mother, or father, loves their child. And it worked, of course, since this was the book that I thought of first when remembering my earlier years. I even have this book on my nook so I can look at it whenever I need or want to. It is my favorite childhood book, not only because of the storyline, but because the memories it holds for me. Love You Forever will always have a special place in my heart and my childhood. Hopefully, years for now, I will read this to my children and they will understand what it means, continuing the cycle.

Silver- Plattered Happiness

The essay written by Ciardi is about happiness. What exactly is it? As Ciardi pointed out the founding fathers said we each have unalienable right: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And that’s the key to what he is trying to say, our right isn’t just happiness, its the pursuit of it. It isn’t just handed to us on a silver platter, we have to work for it.

In modern society we are taught at a young age that we can buy happiness. That if we have enough things, maybe we can achieve it. But that isn’t how it really works. And yet, we still continue to believe its our duty to buy things. So we do, and we continue to see people with huge amounts of things, or nice cars, or a big house and think wistfully how happy they must be. And even those of us who pride themselves on not being materialistic still have those little thoughts in our heads. The ones that taunt us saying ‘if only I had that new car or had that new phone, I’d be a happier’ . Or when we think that some new object will make our lives easier, and therefore happy. But, in reality when have any of us been truly happy when we’re handed something? We make think we are, but that ‘happiness’ doesn’t last very long. The true happiness most of us spend our lives searching for isn’t easy. I know personally, when something is jut given to me for no reason, yes its nice, and makes me happy for a short period of time, but its not satisfying.  What’s truly satisfying is when I work for something and earn it. Working for something, whether material or relationships, just makes the outcome better. It tends to stick with us for longer, and the feelings, like happiness, are more powerful. But, we also have to remember we cant always get what we want, no matter how hard we work. And if someone assumes all their happiness is going to come from getting things, they will never be happy. They will always be searching for something to work for, accomplish it, and then find something else. Happiness isn’t always about earning things, it is about the effort we put in to things.

The analogy Ciardi uses is probably the most relatable.  He talks about playing games, and how that’s like happiness. If any of us go and pick out a game, and there is no rules, therefore no strategy then what’s the point? If you play and automatically you win, without any effort, its not very satisfying. What makes games fun and interesting is possibility of losing, of hoping for a positive outcome and working for it. Then if we win the game, we each have that little moment of pure joy, of knowing we worked our buts off and actually succeeded. That same principle applies to gaining happiness. Its the effort of trying to get there, that makes it all worthwhile. I completely agree with Ciardi about happiness, its not about actually getting there, but more of how we did.

The idea is not about being happy, but about becoming happy; the never-ending pursuit of happiness. Which may seem depressing to realize we may never become what our idea of happiness is, but in reality when you really sit down and think about it, all of our concepts of happiness are different. What’s not different is the effort in becoming happy and as Ciardi says, that’s where the media missed the mark. They try constantly to sell us happiness, the easy way. But what each of us truly want, though probably not consciously, is to work for it. That feeling of pride in ourselves, knowing we earned it. After reading this and truly thinking about it, I realize it kind of is ironic. That this idea all of mankind is searching for, we probably will never know. But at the same time, it makes perfect sense; I feel like almost no one is 100% happy, there is always something we’re looking for, its human nature. But those little victories, and knowing what you did to get there are pretty close to pure happiness. No one ever said happiness is easy, it takes effort, but in the end that’s true happiness and it is all worth it.

 

Ciardi’s Essay: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxcQgjnJhCFGbzJEN1E3NDFxcU0/edit