My Three Books Essay, Research Paper
While packing up, saying goodbye for the last time, and moving away from home I would be reviewing the items that were in my suitcase. My toothbrush, contact case, and glasses would be the first to be checked off on my mental list of “must haves”, but I would also make sure I had packed my three favorite literary works. Assuming that there are no libraries at my disposal near my new residence, J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis would sit atop all of my personal belongings. I pick these three, not only for their entertainment value, but also because they all hold a special meaning in my life. Each work expresses the feelings and emotions I was feeling when I read them.
The Catcher in the Rye holds the number one spot on my “all time favorite novels”. I first encountered this novel my sophomore year of high school. I was first warned of the language and adult content in the novel and then told about the author’s life as a recluse. The mysterious nature of this novel instantly grabbed my attention. After reading the first page I was hooked; finally, a story about a kid who not only thought like I did, but also talked like a real person. I soon found out that I could quite easily see the personality traits of the characters in the novel and compare them with students in my own class, and I could see myself as Holden. My second year of high school was very difficult for me. Problems at home, and the discovery of my personality along with the stresses of schoolwork eventually depressed me and my grades suffered because of it. Just like Holden, I could no longer tolerate anyone around me and became very condescending and cynical. His solution to just run away from it all did not seem far off as a solution to my own problems. However, I read on. When Holden left for New York, he began to realize that the people he encountered were not much different from his former classmates. He began to isolate himself from everyone around him and eventually ended up in a mental institution. Running away from the problem did not work; I began to understand that I would have to learn to accept the differences between people before I could live life happily.
Macbeth also changed my views and attitude towards life. I began to feel over whelmed by the everyday struggle to do what was right and not to conveniently choose the easy, morally wrong path, much like Macbeth in his lust for power. I would see everyone around me cheating and lying just to receive an ‘A’ on a quiz or test and I began to think of how easily it would be to follow the rest of my classmates. Macbeth’s sudden gain of power by embracing evil over good showed me the consequences of choosing the wrong path; he was killed for his treachery. His decisions throughout the play eventually led to his own demise and I was reassured of the reason for living my own life honestly. By seeing the mistakes of this fictional character, I could learn from the novel and grow stronger as a person by not choosing to make the same wrong decisions.
The last story I would bring, Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka is short, but I see it as a summary of my high school experience. I look at it not from Gregor’s point of view, but from the family’s. Much like the way Gregor’s family lived off of Gregor in the beginning of the short story, I entered high school expecting someone else to do the work for me. I started off not working very hard, and my grades suffered because of this lack of ambition. But my world transformed, I was forced to work hard on my own, make my grades by myself. I knew I could do it I had just never applied myself. I then blamed my misfortunes on the “beetles” in my own life, taking out my anger on my father and the others around me. I eventually cut myself off from those very people that loved and cared for me. Only after I confronted those very things that I felt were holding me back could I begin to realize that I was my own biggest problem. After Gregor’s death, the family realized that they could support themselves by working hard, the very same lesson I learned when I began to apply myself to improve my own grades.
It has taken the majority of my time in high school to mature into the person I am today. I now can see how reacting positively to a situation or problem, solves the problem in my beast interests. These three works, which are most dear to me, have not only rekindled my interest in reading, but have also helped me to see life in a positive light, and helped me to become a mature, caring, and responsible individual.