In this weeks assignment we were asked to read "Thank you Ma'am" by Langston Hughes, "Directions for resisting the SAT" by Richard Hague, and "First Practice" by Gary Gildner. In all works I was able to see a common theme of promoting goodness in all people. Each work of literature showed an example of someone promoting independence, and goodness in a person or group. Through each work and the Zen Meditation, it is clear that goodness exists in all people, and it is important to see it.
In the story "Thank You Ma'am" by Langston Hughes, a young boy is caught stealing a woman's large purse. The woman grabs the boy urging him to return to her the purse, then she questioned him on why he did steal it in the first place. He says that he did not have much money and that he wanted to buy a pair of blue suede shoes for himself. The woman understands the boy, taking him home with her, feeding him and talking to him about what had happened. She showed compassion for the boy and when she ultimately left the purse out in the open the boy was not tempted to steal it. She helped the boy realize the difference between right and wrong, helping him grow into a more mature individual. She helped his character and ultimately made him better ultimately showing that good can be brought out of even a bad situation.
In the poem "Direction for Resisting the SAT" Richard Hague describes the various ways to not do well on the SATs. The author presents a view that is not favorable towards the test, criticizing the different categories students are quantified with that really mean little in the scheme of things. The author believes that the SAT is an improper way to judge the true virtue, knowledge, and character of a person who is applying to college. He says, "Lie about numbers. Resign all clubs and committees." These are the various ways he encourages sabotage. He later says, "Follow no directions, and listen to no one." This is where the common theme of individualism and striving to be one's own person is clear. The author believes that young individuals shall be independent from the influence of others and that they should strive to become their own people, contributing to the world in different and beneficial ways. This encourages students to bring new good into the world that will help all.
The poem "First Practice" by Gary Gildner presents the various relationships and exchanges between a coach and a team on the first day of practice for a sport. The speaker shows how the coach begins to encourage his players regardless of whether he knows who they are. He says, "I take it to mean you are hungry men who hate to lose as much as I do." This shows the coaches passion and desire to strive for perfection in the season upcoming. He later says, "If we win the title I want to see how." This shows his expectations for the team and how they are to win regardless of what may happen. This connects to the previous theme as the coach wants the best out of his players, hoping to bring the good out in all of his players to reach the ultimate goal of winning the championship. his enthusiasm is hoped to be matched by the best efforts of all his players.
Lastly, in the Zen Meditation group I sat and pondered the different ways that I can bring out the best of myself to help contribute to a cause that may help others. Clearing my mind in the meditation I realized that if all people see the good in others, encouraging activities like community service, and athletics, and just promotion of the greater good, the world we live in can be a better place. Ultimately I strive to see the best in everyone, hoping to bring out the best of myself.