Dr. Ellis/ EN 101.21
September 11, 2013
The Change In Perspective From Experience
A Jesuit education, characterized by serving faith and promoting justice is a significant way one is able to transform his or her perspective on the world. This type of education also targets the whole person as a way for people to learn through service about the world while reflecting on it and learning about themselves. The poems by Frost, McDonough, and Harper all display a change in perspective where each person gains something in the end that they once did not have.
In Robert Frost’s Poem, “Mending Wall” two men are walking along a stone fence that not only separates their properties, but also their lives and opportunities of knowing each other. The wall is an impersonal and unemotional object. When it physically divides two people, it causes those people to act in this way to each other. There would be no way for the two to become friends if there was a wall. The wall was a way for the men to both gain and transform a perspective on the wall and eachother. In the springtime, just once a year, the men take a look at the wall. One man views that the wall should be taken down just like the stones are naturally falling out. The other views the wall as a necessity and kept repeating, “good fences make good neighbors” (line 24). This reveals the difference the two have of the wall, but also how two perspectives can be completely different in the same situation. It was clear that the two gained a friend from this acrimonious wall.
The poem “Accident, Mass. Ave.” by Jill McDonough is also a poem about not seeing someone else’s perspective in a situation. This time the interaction is not between two men, but the narrator and an older woman who is not native to English. The two are driving on Mass Ave and get into an accident with each other. Accidents are temperamental situations and no one enjoys being in one. They are usually filled with rage, confusion and sadness, which are three emotions that the two felt. This poem demonstrates that one cannot judge another in a situation. Although the reason for the accident is not determined, the two quickly realize that getting into the accident was not the worst thing in the world since there was no harm to either of them. They both realized that fear and the expectation is what caused the rage, but in the end “[they] laugh” (line 38).
Perspective is also demonstrated in Frances E. W. Harper’s poem “Learning to Read”. This time the issue is not a wall, or a car accident, learning how to read. It is evident from the diction that this poem is set in the rural south where slavery was still prevalent. It is uplifting to read how the narrator has such a passionate view on reading. To the narrator, learning how to read is an opportunity and a way to strengthen a connection with God through the Bible. Independence and pride was also gained through the ability of leaning how to read. This poem is a reflection how with a good perspective and determination it is possible to do whatever someone sets their mind to.
Perspective is definitely something that is always changing and is greatly affected by the world were in and experience. Stephen Graham Jones, a fictional short story writer, is one who can agree with that statement. He traveled and read a lot during his career, which inspired him to start writing. He was truly inspired in 4th grade by the book Where the Red Fern Grows. He didn’t realize that writing would become his passion. He said it started with some lies, then some high school love letters, and lastly transformed into a fictional piece of work. At some points, Jones said his writing disturbed him. His process of writing includes reflection and revision as vital parts. He looks over the introduction or first part of writing a numerous amount of time then continues to develop an outline. It may not be easy to write in the style that he does the reflection helps change is perspective on his writing and world for the better.