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Uncertainty Essay

1759 words - 8 pages

Human beings are the only living species that base their lives around time. We have calendars, we have clocks, and we have created an entire system in order for us to feel like we are aware of everything. The reasoning behind this is that we fear uncertainty. Since we consider ourselves at the top of the living food chain, we hate to feel as though there is something more powerful than us. When we don’t know things, we feel helpless because we can’t do anything to stop it. Whether it be if your crush likes you back, whether there will be a pop quiz next week, or whether life continues after death: no one likes the uncertainty of not knowing something. In the novel A Tale for the Time Being, the author, Ruth Ozeki, brings light to many different concepts but the one concept that stood out to me was this one. Instead of allowing allows her characters to combat the fear of uncertainty instead of fall prey to it. Ruth Ozeki shows us through Nao’s behavior and the suicidal tendencies of her father, through time, and through the helplessness that Ruth feels towards Nao, that it is okay to accept the unknown.
By talking about Nao’s father’s suicidal tendencies and then describing Nao’s behavior towards them, Ruth Ozeki brings up the initial point that people are afraid of the unknown. At one point, Nao talks about her father committing suicide and says, “Not that he’s succeeded in killing himself yet. He hasn’t. But he’s still trying. It’s just a matter of time” (Ozeki 41). The reader later finds out that the reason why he tries to commit suicide is because he cannot find a job, therefore his family is struggling. He had never known this feeling of having no control over his finances, so he was trying to find a way to end the pain and fear that this unknown feeling brought. This is actually becoming a pretty common way that people in the real world deal with this issue. According to Huffington Post, the Samaritans of New York, a suicide prevention hotline, “have seen calls rise more than 16 percent in the past year (2008), many of them money-related” (Kennedy). Also, “The Switchboard of Miami has recorded more than 500 foreclosure-related calls this year (2008)” (Kennedy). However, instead of allowing Nao’s father to actually kill himself, Ruth Ozeki allows him to stay alive, proving to us that fearing the unknown, whether or not the financial situation of the family is going to get better, is okay as long as it does not consume one’s life. Nao’s father finds out about the bullying she is experiencing, which gives him a reason to continue living; to protect her. Things don’t necessarily get better for them financially, but the relationship between father and daughter gets stronger.
When it comes to Nao, Ruth Ozeki incorporates multiple facets that prove her point. There are several moments in the book where Nao calls her father pathetic. At one point, Nao says that her and her father are frittering their lives away, but she also says, “I’m still...

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