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What to Do, What to Be, Existentially
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne bares a child out of wedlock in a judgmental society where your business is everyone elses. She decided to have her child and did not care about being shunned by her neighbors. If you were pregnant in high school, you would
decide to go ahead with the pregnancy and have the baby, regardless of what everyone will think, because it is the right thing to do in this situation.
) decide to go along with the pregnancy because you are not aware of any other options because that is what you have been told is the correct thing to do all of your life.
decide to continue with the pregnancy, fully aware that you have no resources to support it, but you love it too much to give it up for adoption.
decide to go to everyone around you for advice because you would not want to embarrass your family and friends.
decide to end the pregnancy through a back alley abortion even though everyone begged you not to because you dont want to deal with it anymore.
In Red Badge of Courage, Henry, a newly recruited soldier, is faced with a dilemma. He is afraid of fighting in the Civil War and does not have faith in himself that he will have the courage to fight. He wants to be brave and make something of himself. If you were in a similar situation, and you were threatened and pressured to participate in a fight with a classmate, you would
try to talk to the enemy and discuss your conflict without resorting to violence
let your opponent beat you up because you would probably lose the fight anyway. There is really no point in trying to prevent it if it is going to happen eventually.
know you should not fight and try to work it out, but you resort to violence because its easier than discussing your argument.
fight because everyone around you is telling you to do so, and cheering you on.
fight because you really do not see any other option. You have been offended and now your opponent has to pay. You beat them brutally, landing them in the emergency room.
In Of Mice and Men, after killing Curlys wife, Lenny, who has a mental disability, makes the decision to run away like George told him. If you had decided to take your mothers car out for a spin with your friends without her permission and against her wishes and ended up hitting a parked car because you were fooling around with your friends, you would
go home and face the music. You made a mistake and you promise your parents it will never happen again. You are promptly grounded for 3 months.
not really care because it could have happened to anyone. Its not your fault the car was parked there.
realize how stupid your mistake was and promise yourself that you will always think carefully before you make decisions. However, you decide this time to devise a plan to save you from punishment.
tell your mom and tell her you hit were involved in a hit and run accident that was not your fault. You also tell her that you were alone so that your friends will not get in trouble.
leave the car exactly where it is and walk home. No one is around because it is late at night. You can play it cool the next morning and suggest that maybe the car was stolen.
In The Great Gatsby, Daisy makes the decision in a fit of rage, to hit Myrtle, who pines for her husband, with the car, thus ending Myrtles life. You are truly upset about breaking up with your boyfriend/girlfriend because he/she cheated on you with another girl/boy. You consider taking violent action against what you perceive to be the source of your problems. You decide to
calm down first and talk to a parent or friend about your angry and intense emotions. Maybe you can go into counseling.
convince yourself that its no big deal and your partner will change their ways.
forget about that cheating liar and vow to never let yourself be deceived again. You deserve much more than him/her.
end up going back to your girlfriend/boyfriend,because they begged you, and told you they were lonely without you. You do this even though you are still hurt and angry.
provoke the new girlfriend/boyfriend into fighting you. You feel like it is the only way to solve your problems and prove that you are better than her/him. Your violence puts this person in critical condition because you are so angry. In the end you walk away feeling worse than before, and knowing that you will never be able to trust anyone ever again.
In Of Mice and Men, George makes a decision to kill his mentally-slow friend Lennie because he feels his life is in danger and does not what him to continue living with the chance of being killed or tortured by people who hate him. You are an older man/women and your mother who is very old and on life support. The doctor says if she can continue to stay on life support but be very miserable and in a lot of pain or he can take her off it, but she will surely die. You make the decision to
Take her off life support so she can live peacefully because you realize that in this situation this choice is the best one. You feel happy with this decision.
Not decide because you dont think you can make that choice and leave it for someone else to decide.
Think that taking her off is the best decision, but your not sure so you dont choose.
Ask everyone in your family what they want to do. Then you choose what the majority feels is the right decision and what you think she would wont from what her will says.
Not do anything, you dont think its your responsibility.
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester has an affair with Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and she gets pregnant. The entire town shuns her, but she refuses to tell whom the father is- taking complete responsibility for the situation. You and your best friend decide to drink alcohol during school, because you were able to buy some illegally. When you leave for a few minutes she/he is caught. Your best friend refuses to say whom she was drinking with or where she got the alcohol and is suspended. You decide to
.Turn you self in and take responsibility for what you did with your free will. You both did wrong and you feel you should be equally punished. You friend shouldnt take complete blame.
You say nothing even though you know its the wrong thing to do. You think you
.Think about it and realize you should do something but in the end you end up doing nothing.
You ask your friends and family what to do and in the end know you have to help your friend by turning yourself in for her sake.
Deny that the problem is occurring because you think its not your problem. The world screwed she/he over and you dont want to mess your life up also.
In the Red Badge of Courage, Henry, a soldier in the Civil War, makes a decision to leave a sick man who is trouble. He doesnt help him, thinking there is nothing he can do and that the man is crazy. You are at a party and someone you just met gets drunk. He/she is acting very crazy and inappropriate and no one around you is helping them. You decide too .
Pull he/she aside and tell them to calm down. You bring them outside for some fresh air and away from the crows of people. You figure if they need help and you dont mind being the one to do it.
You know you should do something but you arent sure what so you let them do what they want. Maybe someone who knows the person better will take care of it.
Walk away because even though there might be something you could do.
Help the person because you feel you should help them in some way since they are unable to take care of themselves.
Sneer at the person because they would let themselves get out of control like that. You dont need another that kind of person like that in your life so you walk away.
In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby made a decision to take responsibility for the love of his life, Daisys bad judgment. Daisy is driving him home from a party and she hits another car and kills the driver. Gatsby says that he was driving the car so she wont get punished or suffer the consequences. You and your girlfriend/ boyfriend are being paid to help clean up someones back yard. They need the job in order to get into college, but they accidentally knock over a very expensive statue, which breaks as well as the fence it landed on. When the owner of the house comes out and asks what happened, you reply
Im so sorry I was trying to move some more stuff and didnt see the statue behind them. I will pay you back tomorrow and clean up the mess. Hey, theres no sense in your boyfriend/girlfriend losing the job when they need it more.
You say nothing because you arent sure what to say to the owner that will help the situation.
He/she knocked it over while we were cleaning. Its not your fault they knocked it over so why should you take the blame?
Do you want to explain or do you want me to? to your b/g friend
I dont know, dont look at me. Hey, its not my fault.
In the Red Badge of Courage, Henry Fleming fought with the 304th Regiment in the Civil War. Henry dealt with a constant personal struggle between fighting or fleeing from battle. On the surface, it seemed to really be about the battle. However, underneath it all, Henry was really having personal issues with himself. Perhaps he felt not worthy enough for his own life. His insecurities kept him from living his life. In your life, you constantly struggle with facing your problems, and solving them, or covering them up, 'running away,' and delaying the inevitable. For the most part, you:
a) Realize that what you're going though is, in fact, a problem that needs to be resolved. You think over your options, decide which is the best route of attack, and face your problems head on. Most of the time you are successful, and feel relieved and happy afterward.
Tend not to have many major problems. You are indifferent in many situations, and your lack of opinion or preference is your key for exoneration.
Make whatever decision is best for YOU at that particular moment. You don't really realize or think about what kind of repercussions might follow for others. For you, independent, 'every man for himself' decisions are the way to be.
Think very hard before making any major decision regarding changing a situation you are in. You think not only about yourself but primarily how your decision will affect those around you. You sometimes jeopardize your needs in resolution in order to accommodate the other persons involved.
What problems? You don't have any problems. Well, yes, you do. You just choose to live behind a smokescreen. You ignore your problems in hopes that they will resolve themselves and go away. You feel that the world is full of lies anyway, so why not lie to yourself? After all, ignorance is bliss.
In the Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby devoted a great deal of his time, effort, and money throwing lavish parties, mostly in order to win his love, Daisy. Gatsby thinks that the only way for him to be happy is to have her love and acceptance. As humans, we sometimes find that nothing is ever good enough. We think that we want something so much that having it would be the only thing that would make us happy. Then, we get that something, and there's a new something that's beyond our reach. As a normal human, with real experiences, you find that:
You can have anything you want, everything is within your reach. It is your right as a person to want and desire. However, you choose your battles, and go for what you think you have a pretty good shot at getting. Also, you realize that nothing will ever be perfect, but you try to get as close as possible. Your Gatsby side comes out rather often, and some think you're a fool and a dreamer for it, but you think those people are simply not being true to themselves.
You take things as they come. If something happens to fall in your lap, and is favorable to you, you're happy. If nothing good happens for a while, you don't mind, because you're also not getting hurt. You play it safe.
You always get what you want, at all costs. It doesn't matter to you who gets hurt in the process. You always want more, and reflect on your own desires instead of actual needs.
You wonder if your needs seem selfish to other people. You sometimes find that what you think you want is really, in fact, what someone else wants. You look to placate others, and use up your wishes on them.
You know that you will never truly be happy. Yet you still search for ways to fill the void left by the emptiness of your unfulfilling life. Your sometimes-harmful obsessions never lead you to your much-anticipated state of nirvana.
In the Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne made a wrong decision, on impulse. The extremely strict society in which she lived did not accept the fact that she, just like any other imperfect human, made a mistake, and wished to repent. Instead, they forced her to display a scarlet 'A,' meaning that she was an adulterer, and was forced to endure public shamings. Society has certainly come a long way since the seventeenth century, however there are still equivalents for some circumstances. In one way or another, we sometimes have to bear our own personal 'scarlet letters.' You find that:
You're different and you like it! You don't mind being the outcast, because that's where your chips fell. Why shouldn't everyone else know and appreciate that?
You don't care enough about society to get yourself in those kind of situations. Other people's opinions of you mean nothing, and in turn, you do what you want, when you want, without making any major changes to yourself and your being.
You do what you have to in order to survive. It really doesn't matter what others think of you, or what they think you should do. When you make a mistake, you play it off like it was someone else's fault. You use people to better yourself, and when you find yourself in trouble, you use others to help you out. But they better not expect the same from you.
You care so much about what others think, or will think. In turn, you are so afraid to make a mistake, or do anything to attract negative attention to yourself, that you end up restricting yourself and your own possibilities.
Here is where your ignorance might sometimes get you in trouble. However, you are so concerned with not caring, and thinking about how insane everyone else is, that you couldn't care less when your reputation is being brought down. You feel that there is no rational solution for anything, so there may as well not be any solution.
In Of Mice and Men, one recurring theme was the corrupting power of female sexuality, and the cruel, predatory nature of human life. Curley's wife represents the temptation of female sexuality in a male-dominated world. She goes around flirting with all of the men on the ranch, which just gets them in trouble. She isn't really an inherently evil person, but is, rather, a victim of excessive boredom. She pretends that she can do anything she wants and is so much better, only to cover up her over-anticipated life's shortcomings. This, in essence, is not being true to one's self. In everyday life, we face these same dilemmas. No one is willing to show their weaknesses, or that they are human. Instead, people put up fronts, in order to keep others out, and their perfect image going. You:
Don't feel the need to pretend that everything is okay. You recognize who you are and what makes you, you. Even if your life isn't perfect, you assure yourself that no one's is. You are free to make your own decision, and create the characteristics of human nature by doing so.
Also don't feel the need to put up a fake image of yourself. You probably wouldn't even know how to portray yourself as anything but what you are. You are true to yourself, and yet, who are you? You aren't really yet defined as anyone, because you aren't affected by any outside influences.
You take the liberty to be radically free to act independently of determination by outside influences. You realize that your real self lies beyond the reach of external determination in virtue of its absolute individuality.
Choose your own nature not only for yourself, but for all of humanity. You desire freedom for all people, so that everyone will have a chance to be their real selves, nothing fabricated.
Choose to live the life of lies. After putting up fake fronts for other people for so long, you begin to believe that you're really like that. You find yourself sometimes questioning who you really are. When you realize that you're not what you thought, you get frustrated, and give up on the world, once again.
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