Tagged: character

A Book Grows on Me

Betty Smith is actually one of the most strikingly beautiful women I’ve ever seen. 

 

Daily Prompt: What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?

So, I suppose that you could say that I’m still a child. Does 16 constitute being a child? Is being a teenager mutually exclusive with being a child? Who knows.

When I was in middle school, I read a book series called, “The Wedding Planner’s Daughter.” It takes place in the twenty first century, and follows the adolescent life of a girl who loves reading. The greatest part about the series was not that actual story, but the fact that the author provided a list of suggested reads at the end of the book. After I finished the book, I skimmed the reading list for a title that caught my eye.

 

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith 

 

Isn’t the title at least a little bit intriguing? Not many people agree with me, but I personally became very interested with title. What kind of tree, and what’s so special about Brooklyn? Perhaps that wasn’t my train of thought. Maybe I just asked a friend or did a quick Google search for a summary.

Either way, I ended up reading the book in seventh grade or so. At the time I just really liked the book simply because it had a wonderful story. And that was it, for the time being.

But then as the years went by and my English teachers taught me year-after-year about literature analysis, symbolism, and motifs, I realized that there was no doubt more to the story.

I checked it out again sometime in high school. Ninth grade, perhaps? Eventually I had checked it out enough times for me to decide that I needed an actual copy.

And you know how people operate. You go to new events and they need icebreaker games to introduce themselves, and one of the most commonly asked questions is: “What’s your favorite book?”

In those days, I’d probably say something like the Harry Potter series or some book that I had recently read. While HP and plenty of other books were fantastic, the one that kept coming back to me and calling to me personally was “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”

So now, I don’t even hesitate when people ask me for my favorite book. I recall childhood memories of hiding under the covers with a flashlight trying to finish this book. Yes, these things actually do happen!

Since learning about literary analysis and the once-alien concept of “annotation,” my favorite book has become all the more personal, filled with markings indicating my favorite passages, with arrows and lines, with explanations of why a certain passage is important.

I also just learned about World War One in my AP Euro class. Although I knew generally what had happened, I hadn’t known the exact position of the United States, but now all of that has been much more contextualized for me. And it helps! I am able to more easily relate with the sentiments of the families who had to send their men to war.

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A quick summary: The book plays out in many flashbacks, covering the background story of Frances Nolan’s parents, following Francie through her childhood, all the way to her first year at college. She is born right around the turn of the twentieth century, and as a young lady she sees the indirect effects of World War One on the people that live in her city.

^That summary does not even suffice; I heavily recommend that any girl under 21 who has the ability to read, read this book.

They say that one of the best ways to understand a person as well as their morals and priorities is to read their favorite book. This book touches me because Francie’s character exemplifies how I would like to approach my problems, and the society that I grow up in. Since she first went to school, she’d wanted to be a writer.  Her family was comprised of immigrants, and they had endured many hardships and economic struggles to rise out of the poverty that they had continually been confined to. The story follows her from her childhood to the beginning of her adulthood, and depicts changes in perspectives as she becomes continually more mature, and gets increasingly globalized in perspective. These changes build character. I take her personal revelations in consideration, accepting my ultimately infinitesimal role in society. Francie expressed a strong interest in writing, and the method that Betty Smith utilizes to explain why help spark my interest in literature as well. The lessons that I take from the book guide the way I deal with overarching problems.

 

It Is So Easy To Hate People

Internet Explorer Girl’s face???/Different personalities, yo.

They’re just a speckle among the sea of people you know, the rest of which you feel passionate, neutral, ambivalent, or just plain indifferent about.

They’re not aware that you “hate” them, so they don’t try to defend themselves.

That, or they’re 100% aware and have reciprocated the hatred.

But in any case, I don’t think we should hate people anymore.

Hi. I’m Catherine, and I’m an extreme categorizer.

If you ask me about a person, I have a tendency to immediately blurt out whether or not I love them or hate them. Very rarely am I able to distinguish them as someone in between.

But I’ve given it a lot of thought (as well as love and reflection) and I’ve come to conclude that it’s not healthy to categorize people into extremes. You can’t 100% love or hate someone.

I used to categorize everyone I knew. Lately, I’ve made a huge effort to no longer categorize people, and to recognize them as what they are: human. Like me. Human.

It’s more detrimental to arbitrarily hate someone.

You think you hate them, but you probably don’t.

See, we are each our own person. The only things we know are what we see and what we hear. Both are never 100% accurate; both are obscured by our own predispositions and personal biases. Who are we to assume that we know everything about the people we supposedly hate? We have absolutely no stable foundation to base our hatred off of.

I am not an angel, you are not the devil. We are a combination of both. I would even go as far to say that I am not more angel than devil, and you are not more devil than angel. We’re probably equal in our angelic/devilish proportions, but we just evaluate these sorts of measurements in different ways. You shouldn’t hate someone for “sinning” differently than you.

Maybe you think you hate them because you two are just so different. You have completely different morals, backgrounds, opinions, perspectives, goals, and methods of achieving these goals. None of these disparities constitutes as a character flaw. They are character differences, and there’s nothing you can do about them. So, what to do at this point? Sometimes, opposites attract and live in harmony. Otherwise, it takes a bit of experimenting and suffering to realize that two personalities really don’t mix well. In the saddest of situations, people never realize that they are just suited to be companions, and lead unhappy relationships.

But what makes one lifestyle superior to another? Aren’t any reasons that you try to give completely arbitrary?

I also think part of the problem has to do with the media. Yes, we are constantly criticizing the media for destroying the beneficial aspects of human nature and yet, this has become somewhat of a blanket indict. The media is not totally evil. In this instance however, the media helps to spread these ideas that if two people have conflicts, someone is wrong and someone is right. The best example I can provide would be these things I see on Tumblr all day, everyday.

They’re always like:

“The biggest mistake I have made in my life is letting people stay in my life far longer than they deserve.”

Well, they’re inspiring, are they not? They’re effective, aren’t they? If taken seriously, they manage to keep one person from engaging in a conflict of some sort and “being the better person” or “being more mature” or “letting it go”. But these messages are also somewhat misleading. Don’t they make it seem like whoever reads these positive messages is the victim of some horrible bullying, and that the “bully” is wrong, insecure, misguided, etc. Of course, these messages are true – to an extent. There are definitely people out there that don’t treat others well, More often than not, this is really not the case; the real root of the problem arises from personality differences. And again, there’s nothing you can do about them.

What Does It Mean to Be “Never Stationary?”

When I was trying to come up with a cool name for this blog, I thought about what I’d tried to do in the past. Note to readers: This is NOT the first blog that I’ve ever written. I’ve been trying to get blogs going for years now, ever since 6th grade. The quality of said blogs has undoubtedly increased since then, but I started this blog with the intention of sharing it with people that I know. Continue reading