Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Success and the Struggles of Achievement

I believe that Bharati Muherjee’s, “A Father,” Stephanie Shapiro, “Serving up Hope,” Richard Hague’s, “Direction for Resisting the SAT” and Gary Gildner’s, “First Practice” all demonstrate the need for success, the means to accomplish it, and the inevitable factors that limit what one wants. All four of these writings exemplify the large amount of opportunities to better oneself, regardless of what one has experienced or others’ opinions. The main theme in these writings is the fact that only an individual can make his or her own decisions despite what others might wish.

In Bharati Mukherjee’s, “A Father,” Mr. Bhowmick’s life is devoted to his Hindu beliefs. He feels that it is because of these beliefs and long periods of prayer that he is able to be as successful as he is. Taking this highly exaggerated approach towards life, Mr. Bhowmick is constantly interrupted by minor things such as a sneeze in the driveway and his pre-breakfast prayer. Deeply devoted to prayer throughout his day, Mr. Bhowmick tries to impact not only his life but the lives of his family through prayer, which is never fulfilled. No matter how hard he prayed he could not change his wife’s decision to come to America and his daughter’s decision to go through vitro-fertilization. As a result, Mr. Bhowmick realizes that he cannot control every aspect of his family’s life. This realization is represented throughout the story by the demon’s tongue, which haunts him in his sleep and proves to be an everlasting reminder that in life not everything will go as planned.

The article in the Baltimore Sun entitled, “Serving Up Hope” demonstrates that even individuals who have been imprisoned and punished by the judicial system have an opportunity to regain stability in their lives. Breaking away from the traditional hiring process, Galen Sampson provides an opportunity for those past criminals who love the culinary industry. Giving individuals a second chance towards making a comfortable living shows that despite their wrongs in the past, those individuals who work for Chef Galen Sampson wish to make decisions that will positively impact their lives. Rather than hoping for something to happen these individuals have taken action and have broken away from traditional conceptions. This article reminded me on the poem, “One’s Self I Sing,” by Walt Whitman being that it preaches the message that each individual is equal to another and has the same opportunities to achieve a “life immense in passion, pulse, and power.”

“Directions for Resisting the SAT,” by Richard Hague demonstrates breaking away from traditionalism. Speaking about one of the most feared occurrences in a college bound individual’s life; Richard gives the best instructions for doing terrible on the SAT. In doing this he stresses the large amount of information that an individual learns and can rely on throughout his or her life. Richard uses this poem to show a more comical approach to the SATs. Rather that stressing about what you do not know, it is important to take into consideration you extensive knowledge to date. Hague gives the impression that like the SAT’s life is also a process that you must apply what you have learned towards. Just like in the SAT’s as well as life; the more you learn the better you will perform. I found this poem relevant to Emily Dickinson’s, “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant” because of its active portrayal of changing how things seem in order to portray them as the insignificant aspects of life that it is. Being that the SATs are just a step in an individual’s life and doesn’t fully decide where one goes to college, Hague’s tone shows that in the long run there are more important things in life than the SATs.

In Gary Gildner, “First Practice” a number of grade school students were paired off and forced to face off against one another. This demonstration of “dog eat dog” represents the will of people to get what they want in life. It is inferred that everyone does their best to accomplish what they wish, but what Gildner portrays is that for every time you try and achieve something there is always another that will exceed you. This mentality may be unfair and unjust but it is an inevitable factor in life. By portraying young children to square off against each other shows that even from a young age you must do you utmost in order to excel. Reading this poem I believed that the individuals lined up against each other were playing some sort of extra-curricular activity and when the speaker stated, “But I don’t want to see any marks when you’re dressed” implied that the speaker didn’t want to witness any cheating. In stating this comment I believe the speaker was trying to portray the fact that in order to succeed you have to try your best but at the same time remain obedient and faithful. I found this poem relevant to the poem “Success is Counted Sweetest” because it depicts the satisfaction of accomplishment which is exactly what Clifford Hill has in mind for his players. The overall tone expressing exclamation also is similar to the very harsh tone of Clifford Hill as he speaks with his students on his opinion on the game as well as life in general.

These writings are in a direct correlation to my experience last Tuesday when I went duck pin bowling with by suitemate Brian. In an effort to knock down the most pins with a relatively small ball, I couldn’t help but to try every method possible. I tried back spinning the ball, aiming for the corners rather than the middle of the pact of pins but still no matter how hard I tried, defeating my suite mate was impossible. With this realization I found that duckpin bowling was similar to life, no matter how hard you try to hurl the shot-put sized ball at the group of rather short pins you will never get the same results as your competitor. Bowling a 120 I hope that Duckpin bowling only provides to be an example and not a direct correlation towards success.

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