Week 3 and 4 Reflective Essay





Week 3 and 4 Reflective Essay

The weeks reading introduced several people in history and covered different authors. It was interesting to learn of the lives of different people, the challenges they experienced in their lives, their experiences and encounters, and any other thing that made them interesting. In week three, we covered Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Olaudah Equiano. These men came from different backgrounds. However, they had some similar characteristics. In week four, we covered works by Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe. The works were a reflection of the beliefs and characters of the authors.

The different texts made me realize of how the times have changed over the years. I also realized that people today have different sources of inspiration compared to people in the past. We generally have an easier life despite all the challenges we face. Men like Franklin and Paine did not have the luxury of attending the schools they wanted. They were self-taught and this made them ambitious. Franklin taught himself several languages, business, and other subjects. Paine was self-taught in matters concerning law, philosophy and religion. In addition, Franklin, Paine and Equiano did not seem to believe in any limitations. They were willing to do whatever it took to change their situations in life. They worked at multiple jobs and they were willing to realize their dreams.

Equiano worked in especially hard circumstances. He was a black slave, who had experienced the horrors of slavery. However, this did not deter him from realizing his dream of becoming a free man. He made great accomplishments in his life. Not only that, but he also managed to travel to far off places around the world. Equaino proved to be a challenge for me. His life story, challenges and accomplishments made me realize that there is nothing that can prevent me from realizing my dreams, if only I remain focused on what I want to achieve. He demonstrated the importance of hope and faith in whatever one wants to accomplish

Irving’s story, Rip Van Winkle, made me realize that time does not really wait for anyone. Change will happen whether one wants it or not. Winkle woke up to find many changes had occurred as he slept. Although some of his friends considered him lucky since he did not experience the horrors of the American Revolution, I think that he ended up losing a significant part of his life. He did not have the chance to see his children grow up or his country gain freedom. He might have wanted to participate in the events in his children’s life or the changes that happened in his country. The story taught me about the importance of appreciating the present, and embracing the moments in my life irrespective of how hard they are.

Hawthorne offered a different view of the world in his story Young Goodman Brown. Brown ended up living a life of misery after his enlightening journey. Hawthorne demonstrated the presence of religious hypocrisy in the town. I was quite confused after reading the story, because of the uneventful ending of brown’s story. The man did not have a happy life, following his discovery. He never got a chance to enjoy his marriage. He did not trust anyone in the town anymore because of what he had learnt. Perhaps the story revealed that in some cases, it is important to accept people as they are and to avoid failing to want to know everything about them. Such knowledge will eventually lead to judgment and condemnation of others.

Poe’s poem The Raven was interesting. It read more like a story than a poem. Poe generally deals with the mysterious and he ventures into areas that other authors of his time do not. He exposes the mind of a man following his distress after losing a loved one. The man discovers that the raven can only say one word but this does not deter him from asking questions. The poem made me think of people in similar situations. They may want someone to comfort them and they are willing to do anything to get that comfort.

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