Truth Ideas Which Reflect Personal Belief

Truth: Ideas Which Reflect Personal Belief Essay, Research Paper

J. Douglas Boyd 11/4/99

Society, Literature, and Truth Period 5

Truth: Ideas Which Reflect Personal Belief

When a writer composes a piece of literature, his sole task should be to convey

the truth of the subject matter he is discussing, no matter what the medium of his writing

may be. A truthful idea for me is authenticated by my own, personal beliefs, but not one

idea can be truthful to all. Sophocles, George Orwell, Joseph Conrad, and W.H. Auden,

share what they believe to be truthful ideas with their audiences. Through a writers

ability to verbalize ideas, and with the use of their personal writing style, what is truthful

to that writer can be conveyed to that writers audience, it is up to the audience to decide

whether what the writer believes to be truthful is truthful to them.

Sophocles was a great teller of truth. This is shown to me in his plays Oedipus

and Antigone, Sophocles was able to put into words the true feelings of desperation

one may feel. Both Creon, from Antigone, and Oedipus were shown the truth of what

their lives have come to, for Creon, his poor judgment management led to the death of

some of his loved ones. Oedipus dealt with the horrid realization that his belief in the

idea that he was the controller of his own fate, was false, and that the oracle was correct.

Both of these tragic figures did not fully understand the drastic effects of what they had

brought upon themselves. I, at times, demonstrate some of Creon s poor judgment, and

lack of priority management. From what I accept as true from Sophocles tale, I learned

that I should think things through so as not to do anything that could later be detrimental.

Many people believe in fate, I personally do not, but I do believe in misery, and if

someone brings it upon themselves, they must deal with it accordingly, by whatever

means necessary. On occasion, I do some things that take less brain power than your

average bear, so to speak, and either bring myself to mild shame, or some other sort of

grief. Although I may not accept a main idea of Sophocles Oedipus Rex as truthful, I

do find that punishing myself can be more fruitful and result procuring than having

someone scoff in my face, or have someone else allot me a punishment.

George Orwell is another great writer who uses a unique style to show what he

believes as being truthful, and it just so happens that I agree with some of his truths. In

his short story, Shooting An Elephant, Orwell demonstrates the truth that, pardon my

French, the masses are asses, and the power of group pressure can be so overwhelming

it makes one exercise acts they would normally disapprove of. It is clear to see that

Orwell objects to killing the elephant, and he has reasons as to why the elephant should

not be killed. He reasons with himself, and the pressure of the natives causes him to act

restlessly, and kill the elephant. This killing could have avoided completely, had the

element of peer pressure been removed. I know that when I am given time, reasonable

cause to act or not act, and little outside pressure, I tend to act as wisely as I am able to.

When I am influenced by outside forces, I tend to act recklessly, and self preservation

takes a back-seat to doing what everyone expects of me, to act like an immature

seventeen year old male. In another example of Orwell s writing, Politics and the

English Language, he illustrates what I believe is going to lead to the downfall of

literature and all writing in general. It seems as though he poking fun at snotty professors

and politicians who use tremendous words to explain even the most trivial ideas, many of

these people incorporate several adjectives and nouns, with one verb in a sixty-seven

syllable sentence, containing eight words. So many, too many, politicians, professors,

and self righteous people with expanded vocabularies tend to commit these acts, and will

make our language quite pathetic and unusable. It is my own belief that the English

language will soon accompany Latin and Sanskrit in the dead language category. I am in

full agreement with Orwell in the truth of this matter, and in all honesty I think it is a dire

matter, and should be corrected. With the use of the style lacking, overwhelming

sentences, no point is reached, an author of these types of ideas or writings arrives at

vague answers, and does not do any convincing except convincing me that they are a

walking, talking, excellent-at-memorizing, Thesaurus. I find that Orwell writes with

great style, and tends to reach a conclusion, his words flow, his sentences form mind

expanding conclusions, and I agree with his idea that the English language is slowly, but

surely deteriorating.

The English language is becoming so easy to manipulate, even those who learn it

as a second language late in their lives are able to exploit it. Joseph Conrad, author of

An Outpost of Progress, has been able to absorb some of the common traits of writers

that I despise. Although I agree with some of his ideas and find them truthful, I cannot

agree with his writing style, or lack thereof. Conrad brings up a good point, that when a

man is brought up in what modern man has understood to be civilization, he is helpless if

he needs to return to the wilderness. I find that somewhat truthful, man has developed

things called morals and social norms, and has traded instinct and survival for those

things. Man is no longer suited for crude living, natural living, his appendix is no longer

useful for digesting tough materials, he must work to develop a callous, instead of having

one naturally form from constant use of his hands. I do agree with Conrad in that

everything that builds up a modern man, and gives him confidence, comes from the

society in which he lives, not from himself. People compare themselves to assume their

standing in society, we have All-State athletic competitions, and world renowned

musicians, never could one find someone who is hard working enough to survive in the

wilderness for thirty years, today, one would ask themselves, Why would anyone want

to do that? Conrad, although wordy and showy of this new language he has learned,

conveys some ideas I think about all the time, and he has offered some more ideas for me

to consider, although I doubt, and hope that I do not find a conclusion, rather I would

appreciate not knowing all the answers, and maybe I will be able to learn something new.

The Unknown Citizen is a poem written by W.H. Auden, and I find so many

truths behind what is said, I can only hope that it justifies my reasoning. It appears that

W.H. Auden rejects the ideas of becoming a conformist. I feel that conformity is a

terrible thing, and that one should be free to explore their ideas and opinions, but should

sometimes be centered so as not to become crazy. Line 9 of this poem reads …he

wasn t…odd in his views, from what I understand of my past schooling, poetry is written

for the poet to reflect, and the reader to interpret. I tend to apply poetry to my own real

life situations. I feel line is expressing that this Unknown Citizen has never had an

original thought, which I believe is a wretched thing, if what I think Auden is saying is

what they are saying, this person will die miserably, accepting what he is told. Without

an original thought there is no need for a brain, other than to spew out whatever vileness

has been forced upon a person throughout their life in traditional school. Auden seems to

have hit the nail on the head, and I find that this poem is the epitome of what society

should attempt to conclude. I found this poem to be full of inescapable truths, and

although I disagree with some of society s decisions, I know that I am a product of the

state, and can only hope that the educational conveyer belt I am riding will help me

become an original person.

Originality is key to become a full, thoughtful person, and through good, thoughtful,

wholesome literature, one can draw from a wide array of ideas to consider truthful, and

to adopt and utilize throughout their lives. Sophocles, Auden, Orwell, and Conrad are

very good at conveying ideas they believe as truthful. One must fully understand an idea

of someone else, before they can fully accept that idea as truthful. I do not fully

understand every aspect of every idea of each of the aforementioned authors, but of the

ideas I do understand, I find that most are truthful. Oedipus and Creon s sufferings, and

Orwell s inability to act as a self, not as a group. Conrad s idea that man has taken

himself too far from his origins to ever survive in the wilderness, and Auden s knowledge

of man s adaptation to each other, and thereby reducing the ability to conjure up any

original ideology. I found that my weaknesses are not my own, that they have existed in

the times of the writers of the past, and will exist throughout time. The weaknesses of

man are timeless, and that weakness is man s constant ability to make mistakes, but

reflect on them through other people making the same mistakes, and finding truth in that.

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