Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crime and Definition

Fyodor Dostoevsky's gripping novel, Crime and Punishment, not only plays to the human intelligence, but also speaks of a journey that many humans have to take. Whether the same journey taken as the characters in Dostoevsky's novel, or a journey of different limitations, the journeys can be similar, leading those who dare, down a road of self-discovery.

The plot takes place leading up to and following two murders, and discusses the psychological effects on the murderer, Raskolnikov. Hiding the secrets of his wrong-doings, Raskolnikov bears the weight of his sins on his shoulders, to keep the ones he is closest to out of harm. Because of the secrets he holds, he is able to find solace in a friend, Sofya, who withholds secrets about her past, and bears the burden of taking care of her siblings following her mother's death. By finding support from Sonya, who knows the crimes Raskolnikov has committed, she encourages him to come clean with the truth. Dealing with the truth develops Raskolnikov into a strong character, who finds comfort in the truth, allowing him to find faith and belief in God.

The definition of Raskolnikov is pivoted from the life of a murderer, to the life of penance. He finds faith and forgiveness, in the same way people can find definition and meaning from turning their own lives around. Reversing pass actions by seeking forgiveness, and living to make a difference in the world.

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself.

Harvey S. Firestone

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Discovering Answers: The Odyssey

How does The Odyssey define who we are? Homer's epic is a literary genius, full of motifs epitomizing the ultimate journey, about Odysseus' adventures on his way home from Troy. But as a literary epic scribed thousands of years ago, how does The Odyssey define who we are right now, in the present day?

The twenty year journey that Odysseus goes on, is a journey that leads him to discover who he is inside. From the time he leaves Troy to the time he shows up on the doorstep of his own house, Odysseus transforms from a bold leader, to a humble man. The journey that Odysseus takes is relatable to the journey that all men have to take. Whether it be twenty years or a lifetime, the journey of life isn't short. It is filled with experiences that shape humans, and lessons learned along the journey.

Life is a journey, not a destination -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Searching For Honesty

Ian McEwan's Atonement focuses on the decisions that can change an entire lifetime. It is about the control the imagination has over situations, and the price that is paid for mistakes that cannot come undone. The problems that arise because of the main character's invalidated conclusions, cause Briony to live her life in penance, atoning for her sins.

Ian McEwan writes about the simple mistakes that all humans are bound to make. He proves through his writing about how the truth could have become clear to Briony, had she investigated further. The imagination of the young girl, causes her to jump to conclusions. She thus told the lie that separated her sister and her sister's lover, Cecelia and Robbie. The dawn of the truth shines upon the book, establishing the fact that all it would have taken to make the world right again, would have been to look for the truth.

To define ourselves, McEwan stresses that the truth is the most important object man can posses. To search for the truth would have prevented any repurcussions in Atonement, just as the truth could in any situation today. Being honest is the best trait any person can have, creating in them a more reliable individual.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
-Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How Do We Define Who We Are?

In the immense world we live in, our lives are personal, shaped by our surroundings, and involved wholly in what we participate and believe in. So how do we say who we are? Is it a matter of identification? Some may say so, like the baseball player, or the artist, the writer. Sometimes people believe that who we are is judged by the decisions we make, the choices that create in us a person so different than the next. The defining moment could be the thoughts we voice aloud, or even on the outside- how we dress and act. Life could even be about learning from our mistakes, creating a life for ourselves that we find comfortable in, and discovering who we are. So what is the meaning of life? Is it something that we can figure out now? Or will the question be answered as we progress through life, or a meaning that we only truly discover when we realize that this life is almost over? Some of the answers we search for can be found in literature, among the lines of words written by people we respect.