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My Understanding Of Individuals And Societies By The Use Of Literature As An International Baccalaureate Student

1772 words - 8 pages

As an International Baccalaureate student studying Theory of Knowledge I have learned about the four ways of knowing which are emotion, reason, perception, and language. The question I have chosen to answer is how my learning of literature and the four ways of knowing has contributed to the understanding of individuals and society?
The definition of an individual is simplistic since it a single human being; while society encompasses a large group of people. Within the society we can also have a sub-culture which all groups of people I believe to be strongly looking for acceptance, love, and belonging. In actuality the entire human species is really looking for the same feelings or emotions ...view middle of the document...

This is why literature helps individuals to see the struggles of others and to know we are not alone. Stories of attack especially help us to find unity. The novel The Terrorist written by John Updike shows us how humanity comes together when in crisis. The need of society to pull together to save one another. For example, appearing in the novel a male teacher of a different faith than Muslim helps a Muslim boy to stop making a disastrous decision of attempting a suicide bombing. The outcome would be damaging for whole community and the Muslim boy and yet the teacher knew his own life could be taken, and he still aided in an altruistic way. Why does this happen? We all in the end realize we are in this life together and must find faith and strive for unity to survive. No matter what country you visit I believe you will always find this. It is embedded in our DNA.
On the contrary we have novels written by scandalous authors as Marquis de Sade such as Justine and Pauline Reage who wrote the Story of O. Both novels are also about love however in a distorted way exhibiting forced sex, torture, and bondage to sexual partners. The story characters believe this sub-culture to be reasonable as long as their needs are met. Keep in mind this was many years ago, even though there are people today who do practice sadomasochism. Is there really a form of normal or acceptable behavior? One society may consider a particular behavior normal and another may not. In the Story of O she exhibits an unusual way to show devotion and pronounce her love. O gives up her freedom and herself as a whole to prove her undying love literally. Since there are actually two versions of the final scene one of which O takes her own life since she cannot bare to live without Sir Stephen. Sir Stephen gives consent for this act to take place. The idea that one person would rather die than to live without the other while one can go on as if nothing ever occurred. This proves we are all unique as individuals yet in some way still strive to belong to something no matter what the cost may be. The fact that the individuals in the story found justified reason to torture and yet still claim their love for the submissive partner. I also see the similarity between this a suicide bomber. To die for the purpose of another- Allah.
The scariest part is that I can understand both sides of why one person would go through such pain and anguish for love, but yet be repulsed at the same time. This is what literature provides. A way to understand human behavior because this may not be the way everyone lives; yet we still keep an open mind to except that some individuals do choose to live a life of sadomasochism or as a martyr in their eyes. I can see the trust as huge component however it is still a sad to see how some really struggle to hold onto one person so strongly and the willingness to give up one’s life. All though I would give up my life for my children if the need presented itself but that is...

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