Presentation on theme: "Sample Intro Paragraphs. Human is a word we use loosely. But what does it mean to be human? This is a question that many have asked. This is a question."— Presentation transcript:
Human is a word we use loosely. But what does it mean to be human? This is a question that many have asked. This is a question that we may never fully know the answer to. In Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Wiesel's Night, and Knowles' A Separate Peace, the topic of being human is addressed. Though no author provides a definite answer, all books share common ideas. The culmination of these ideas does not exactly answer what it is to be human instead it shows that because we are human trials and tests will come and from these we gain understanding.
There is a moment in every adolescent's life when the entire world changes. It can be something as great as witnessing the death of a loved one, or as small as standing by a window and watching the leaves fall from the trees at the end of autumn. Either way, it is this moment that will profoundly impact the life of the person and it will change the way that they think about their life. Invariably, this moment is a bittersweet one. It is joyous because one of life's greatest mysteries has just been made clear. However, it is heartrending because what is learned is not a good thing. The actuality that is finally realized is that everything in life grows older, and with advancing age comes deceit, cruelty, and altogether unfairness. Suddenly it is obvious how much better life was before finding such a thing to be true. Even so, no one can proceed through life without first having gained the knowledge that comes with such a revelation. While humans try to avoid acknowledging the innate malice in the world, John Knowles, J.D. Salinger, and Elie Wiesel show that every person comes to grasp it as being the foundation of the human race, and therefore, our lives; in fact, the comprehension of this reality is the rite of passage into the adult world.
People need people. It is impossible to live a completely happy life in isolation; everyone requires some form of companionship. Without it, one has nowhere to turn in times of need, fear, or loneliness, and no one on whom to rely. It is absolutely necessary for people to have others to care about, who will care about them in return, and in whom they can place their trust. By isolating oneself from the rest of society, one is essentially condemning oneself to loneliness and unhappiness. This is demonstrated in the books A Separate Peace by John Knowles, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and Night by Elie Wiesel. Through their treatment of the subject of self-imposed isolation, these three texts show that separation from the rest of society will not lead to a fulfilling and happy life.
Death is a difficult concept for many to grasp due to how little we as creatures know about the topic. Human relationships with others fall into the same category as death, in that our understanding only is limited and forever changing. Modern literature focuses heavily on these concepts and how they affect characters. In J.D. Salinger’s, Catcher in the Rye, and John Knowles, A Separate Peace, Elie Wiesel’s, Night, death plays a significant role in the transformation of Holden, Elie, and Gene. The death of actual human life in these novels is a main factor to character transformation, but is not the only form of death. Symbolic death, the death of objects, themes, or other various details relating to the character, is also a form of death commonly portrayed in the three novels. Holden is confronted with the death of his brother, Elie with his father, and Gene with his best friend, all three leading to the death of a separate aspect in their lives, and all of it contributing to change in each character. In each of the three modern pieces, Night, Catcher in the Rye, and A Separate Peace, death in its literal and symbolic form, leads to the transformation and loss of innocence in each of the main characters.
“But these worlds of fantasy that we form into the solid things around us are the source of our discontent. They inspire our search to find ourselves” (Walker 1). While the world is certainly physical, one’s views of society and nature are what truly form it. One’s notions often serve as a definition of the world around them, a “microcosm”. The careful and methodical use of microcosms in A Separate Peace, The Catcher in the Rye, and Night allows one to examine and navigate society while maturing.
William Hazlitt, an English writer once wrote in his essay On the Pleasure of Hating, “Without something to hate, we should lose the very spring of thought and action.” John Knowles, J.D. Salinger, and Elie Wiesel show how hatred leads to different thoughts and actions in their books, A Separate Peace, The Catcher in the Rye, and Night, and through the protagonists and the events that happen. The discovery of the ignorance of the human heart that pulsates through these three texts causes the characters to better understand the actions of themselves and the people around them.
A person. A conglomeration of infinite systems working in harmony to create a living being. He has a heart, lungs with which to breathe and a mind to govern his existence. But these are not what make a man. For a man is defined not by what makes him similar to his peers but his aspirations, his passions; that which he desires and that which he hates. These are the things that mark us as people, as individuals. However, be it by our own will or another’s, we give up our sense of self in order to fit into an environment. As we mature and take our first tentative steps into the broader world we alter ourselves so that we may continue to survive in this place of confusion and conformity. In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Night by Elie Wiesel, and The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the protagonists are all pressured to change the very aspects that make them who they are. The process of exposure to human society and entering maturity, though inevitable and necessary, presents children with influences from the world around them which threaten their individuality and sense of identity.