A Change Of Perspective Essay

1121 words - 5 pages

The quotation from Doris Lessing really captures the essence of Honors 101 perfectly. The very notion that the semester may be summarized in this one quote— “This is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.”— astounds me, as does the number of topics we have covered in such a brief period. In high school, we squandered an entire year to cover the topic of racism alone, yet we managed to cover that topic and numerous others in a shorter time while still acquiring a more deeply rooted, genuine understanding of the subjects. Each topic presented new ideas to the overall theme of self and society in ways that seemed completely nonsensical until the ideas were discussed in class. Even though many meaningful subjects were spoken of throughout the semester, three significant topics greatly developed my understanding of both the self and society, and now, looking back and recognizing the impact of each item allows me to appreciate the personal growth I have made that, without the context of this class, did not even seem possible.
To begin, Ordinary People by Judith Guest really struck me to the core. How could such a seemingly simple book create such vivid emotions? In discussion, many of us assumed we are better than people like Beth or Conrad, yet if we faced the struggles this family faced, which of us says we would be any different? Every single person faces numerous hardships on a daily basis, but what we achieve from these situations really makes the difference. Sometimes, the thought of achieving anything at all seems so far-fetched because the constant battle between self and society forces people to deal with their problems in various ways. Due to pressure from society, Beth felt the need to hide the family’s pain, to wash away the memory of a lost son, and to forget the existence of a reminder, because, at the time, society accepted nothing less than perfection. Even now, society expects people to move on after a tragedy. Yet, when extraordinary circumstances (like death) confront ordinary people, as they do in every family, change occurs. But is that not what life is about—change? Why then, does society force us to rush through these changes as if nothing ever happened? This book exhibited the idea that situations change people in both positive and negative ways, but sometimes, this change stems from the society rather than the individual making some decisions conditionally inevitable. Because of this, we cannot hold people accountable for every choice made, which is something I have done to my family especially—hold them accountable for what is out of their reach. I know society shapes many pieces of my life in this aspect, however I also realize I do not have to allow these changes. In this aspect, self trumps society. Though not everyone clearly sees how the imperfections and chaos in society affect people, so instead of making accusations, we must make the most with what we...

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