Acts Of Dishonesty Essay

1166 words - 5 pages

What does it mean to be honest? Honesty generally means truthful, sincere, or free of deceit; however, it can take other forms such as an honest mistake for example. A mistake with good intentions, though a mistake, an action with fault. Honor means high respect or privilege, so one can command honor through dishonesty, such as in the case of Dean Makepiece. Though the narrator of Old School blatantly steals a paper from another person, a clear violation of the Honor Code, he achieves a brief sense of honor from his peers as he discovers an honest portrayal of himself.
If asked what rules should a student follow, some of the first on anyone’s mind would be not to lie, cheat, plagiarize, or steal. That each students work will be exclusively his or hers unless a teacher instructs him or her to collaborate with others, to not give inappropriate assistance or take unfair advantage of the work or ideas of others. These seems like basic rules ingrained into all of us, they make up the core of being for students. These also happened to be plagiarized, cheated, and stolen from the Horace Mann Honor Code. Though no one would think that the rules stated were stolen, because they are what people understand and accept as truth. When the narrator first reads the story he honestly believes what he is reading is himself. “I went back to the beginning and read it again, slowly this time, feeling all the while as if my inmost vault had been smashed open and looted and every hidden thing spread out across these pages. From the very first sentence I was looking myself right in the face.” If what he is reading is how he truly feels, then it is hard to call his act of plagiarism a dishonest portrayal of himself. In that lies the ultimate paradox, that an honest essay about his true self breaks the honor code as a dishonest act of plagiarism. It is not as if he copied a math problem with a singular solution he copied a character from a story he believed to be the truth about himself. “And mine too the calculations and stragems, the throwing-over of old friends for new, the shameless manipulation of a needy, loving parent and the desperation to flee not only the need but the love itself. Then the sweetness of flight, the lightness and joy of escape. And, yes, the almost physical attraction to privilege, the resolve to be near it at any cost: sycophany, lies, self-suppression, the making of ambitions and desires, the slow cowardly burn of resentment towards those for whose favor you have falsified yourself. Every moment of it was true.” He kept the title and even the last name of the protagonist as Levine captured his essence better than his own last name. He truly believed that, “Anyone who read this story would know who I was.”
His dishonesty in the matter only lies in his use of the story. If he were to acknowledge this life to be his truth, he would have been fine. Though when he sent in an essay constructed by another he was cast dishonest. In attempts to...

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