Dear Jackson High School Administration,
As you know, each individual has their own views and ideals about life. But you may be wondering how these views are formulated? This is because of what Jane Tompkins calls “historical perspectives.” Historical perspectives are molded by an individual’s culture and background. For example, because of historical perspectives, an Asian student may view something in a completely different way than how an American student would. By analyzing Jane Tompkins’ “”Indians”: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History,” I have been able to conclude that these historical perspectives are heavily influenced by the symbolic complex of a culture and are one of the main cultural barriers between two cultures. Now, in order to solve this, we must have these cultures meet on equal foot. Continuing my analysis in UW English, I have found that these “equal footing” grounds are referred to by Mary Louise Pratt as a contact zone in her essay “Arts of the Contact Zone.” “I use this term to refer to social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other…” (Pratt, 2). By synthesizing these two essays, I have discovered that despite having these different historical perspectives, creating a positive contact zone will be able to benefit and influence those who meet in these contact zones.
Throughout my years of growing up through the halls of Jackson High School, I have met, interacted, and befriended many people I would not have seen myself befriending four years ago. Walking through the halls of Jackson, or any school for that matter, you learn how to interact with others. Every student has their own idea of what education is and how important it is to them. In order to see why each student’s views on education differ, we must learn about historical perspectives, analyze them, and create a solution through the contact zone. Tompkins states that “the problem is that if all accounts of events are determined through and through by the observer's frame of reference, then one will never know, in any given case, what really happened”(Tompkins, 2). When Tompkins says this, she is referring to the “observer’s frame” as the symbolic complex of her culture. Percy describes the symbolic complex as pre-determined ideals given to us by society. When knowing this, we question, how does this relate to ones historical perspective? Well, the historical perspective is formed off the basis of the symbolic complex. The pre-determined ideals of a culture define how that culture views various opinions, and in this case, education.
Within many Asian cultures, a pre-determined ideal or value is education. Pratt later goes on to say that “what they saw was not an illusion, was not determined by selfish motives in any narrow sense, but was there by virtue of a way of seeing which they could no more consciously manipulate than they could choose not to have been born” (Pratt, 11). What she means is that no matter what that person...