Writing is a huge passion for me. However, it is always a struggle to open a blank page and fill it with meaningful words. I see a blank page and immediately I am hit with writer’s block… That is until I start typing. Once I start typing a whole world unfolds before me and words begin to be printed out even before I know what I am thinking of. This happens when I simply want to write creatively, need to answer a question, and especially when I am in the middle of analyzing a piece of writing.
So many thoughts run through my brain when I am trying to decipher what an author was thinking when creating characters, ideas and a story line. Thoughts that bring up more questions than answers in most cases.
Recently I read four pieces of writing: The Guest by Camus, The Metamorphosis by Kafka, Requiem by Akhmatova and finally Faust by Goethe. All of which were completely new to me except for The Metamorphosis in which I read while in high school. I did, however, find it to have much more meaning now than it did back then. This is because I have more life experience. By no means am I the best or even a good writer. I am the last person to be giving advice on what it means to read good writing. Yet I can tell you the theme of these stories hit me emotionally and even logically. I found that the recurring theme of all the works shared the theme of humanity and choice. Decision making in hard times… Or what these characters believed were hard times.
How do choices we make affect us? Especially if we are aware of the different possibilities? There are a million different ways to teach these themes and ideas to students, some more effective than others. Some paragraphs down to individual words can be broken down to have different meanings depending on the context in which it was used. This can make it very difficult while teaching these concepts and using them to define themes of entire writings.
This makes me think about if I were in the position. If I were to teach the theme here which I find to be humanity and choice, I would start by taking the position of pathos. Pathos focuses in on emotion and this is where humanity comes into play. Saying that humanity is the only factor at play here would be wrong. Choice and free will is what we love about humanity, yet this same factor will land us into trouble if played wrong. I empathize with these emotions because as an adult, I realize how hard life can be or how hard we think we may have it as humans. We see the character Faust go through this in his self-doubt about mankind’s limitations in which he is not entirely wrong, he simply had a terrible outlook. We then see it again in Daru’s character when we can truly feel his eeriness about helping an Arab stranger when his beloved homeland was at war. In The Metamorphosis, the transformation that Gregor went through because he devoted his entire life to his family and work was another choice that was questionable at best. Lastly in “Requiem” we read a life play out of sadness, loneliness and madness in very slow moving events as our character waits for Death in numerous passages. These are all stories of choice whether humanity is shown before and after the decision that led all characters to where they were in life.
They happened because of the spirit of humanity and how humanity pushes people to make the decisions they end up making. The events above also show what happens to one’s humanity over the course of time. According to this study, it is said that we do not worry as much about risks that are not set in front our noses. We tend to stay in our comfort zones, never looking towards the eternal outcomes that may lay around the corner. Whatever is around the corner simply has no effect on us… yet. Human beings tend to live in the now.
To educate people on a more casual level, I would use television and movies that may or may not be popular to show these occurrences. The ID Channel could be an example for it is true stories of people making choices that impact not only their lives, but humanity in an astronomical way. While television is one medium, movies have taken a liking to display the idea of humanity in every way they can. A perfect example of this is Hitchcock’s infamous Psycho.
It is obvious that people latch onto this subject because it hits so close to home. Even social media begs the question of humanity every single day through news articles and satire posts. An important aspect to note is this theme speaks to all age groups. It asks the question of “why people do the things they do?” We all make choices on a day to day basis, however, usually none of these choices are extremely life changing. The choices in the text above were life changing. This is how humanity, or the lack thereof, can impact a person to choose what is right or wrong in their own eyes. How humanity can affect everyday life and even the thought process. Humanity is a subject that takes years to truly know inside and out, although, we all can understand it and better yet, feel it.