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Personal Flaws

Every human has shortcomings. However, it is each individual’s choice to decide whether to share and admit the flaws. In his classic Amercian novel The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne repeatedly suggests to the readers to be true to the world and be true to themselves, such as through the minister called Dimmesdale. The great minister tries to hide his sin and flaw throughout the majority of the book. Thus as a consequence, Dimmesdale has to suffer through agony, fear, and self-hatred.

The book has inspired me to reveal my own flaws. One shortcoming of mine is that I cannot manage anxiety well. Especially during the competition or testing months, my usually calm and logical thoughts are often being attacked and disrupted by spasms of anxiety. The nervousness would creep into my brain when I am trying to practice or study, making it impossible to focus. The anxious feeling also creates inconveniences even in the middle of competing in an event. When the judges give me time to prepare for an event before I start, my thoughts would not stay on reviewing or preparing. Instead, they often wonder away from the current situation, and embed themselves in a strange dimension of the universe. Strange ideas would then explode in my brain like popcorns, such as “did dinosaurs really extinct with the comet”, or “tennis balls bounce up and down”, and eventually end with “I will die right here right at this moment”. Therefore I often spend almost all the time trying to calm down rather than wisely using the time to prepare. On the other hand, knowing that anxiety hinders my performance ability, I often try to prepare well before the contest so that I can minimize the damage caused by the jumpy emotions.

I also have the tendency to doubt my own judgment. I would often leave home and after ten minutes into the highway, a suspicion would form about whether or not I have locked the door. Also, when answering questions, I often do not trust my own answer, even though most of the time I find that I am actually right afterwards.

Many people share the same flaws, but some choose to share and face it, while others hide and ignore it. Each person can decide how he or she lives in this world. However, no matter what you choose, it is never too late to confront your own flaws and mistakes.

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“A Scarlet Letter”: Analysis

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a masterpiece of American literature. It reveals the themes of sin, guilt, and redemption through the struggle of the adulteress, Hester Prynne, and the sufferings of the people around her.

Many critics have been made about Hawthorne’s opinion on the adultery between Hester Prynne and Dimmesdale. I believe that Hawthorne both condemns and condones the relationship.

Hawthorne reveals his disapproval of the adultery through the contrast of lights and shadows. During the walk in the forest, Pearl noticed that the “sportive sunlight […] withdrew itself as they came nigh”. When Hester attempted to touch the light, “the sunshine vanished” (A Forest Walk). Light makes a person vulnerable to punishment and reveals their sin in the Puritan society. However, darkness allows the originally intolerable or shameful actions in daylight to occur. Hawthorne shows that Hester’s guilt and sin always cast shadows on her heart. The avoidance of the sunshine reveals the shameful actions of Hester, thus showing that Hawthorne disapproves her adultery. In addition, throughout the novel, except for the rare instances such as Hester standing on the scaffold in the beginning, Hawthorne often conceals Hester’s character with shadows. Such as at minister’s home, Hester had been standing in the shadow of the curtain while her daughter and others were in daylight (The Elf-Child and the Minister).

On the other hand, Hawthorne condones the adultery through the characterization of Pearl. When Pearl and her mother met Dimmesdale by the brook, she asked her mother with “acute intelligence” whether Dimmesdale would “ ‘go back with [them], hand in hand’” back to town (The Child at the Brook-Side). Pearl often sees connections and truths that others cannot see. Her question at the brook reveals that she is aware that Dimmesdale is her father. As a seven-year-old child, Pearl is surprisingly sharp. The other Puritan kids in town are described as childish, fitting their age. However, Pearl talks like an adult when comparing her to other children. Throughout the story, Pearl has been one of the main forces that lead and develop the story with her speech. If the author truly despises the relationship, he would have set Pearl as a faithful Puritan’s child to contrast against Hester’s sin. However, Hawthorne creates such an intelligent and precious figure as an adulteress’s daughter, thus reveals that he condones the adultery.

Hawthorne skillfully weaves themes and ideas within the plot, characters, and an historical background, producing an eloquent masterpiece.

Work Cited: Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. N.p.: Dover, 1994. Print.

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“The Fox Who Basked in the Glory of the Tiger”

fox and tiger

The story connects with a famous Chinese Idiom: “hu jia hu wei”. The first “hu” means fox, while the second “hu” means tiger. “jia” can be translated into fake and “wei” to power or glory. It is often taught in elementary schools and pre schools. I had learned the story during first grade, thus it imprints a deep mark in my memory.

One day, a tiger caught an unlucky fox. The fox knew that he would soon die if he didn’t take action.

Thus when the tiger was about to eat him, the fox growled furiously, “ How dare are you to attack me! I am sent from Heaven to rule the forest! I am the true King!”

Seeing that the tiger was suspicious and a little confused, the fox added, “Follow me, and I will show you who has the real power.”

The tiger agreed. When they walked into the forest, all the animals either fled away or took shelters in shrubs and trees. The fox was smug. However, the tiger turned extremely surprised and awed without realizing that it was himself that the other animals feared the most. The fox was finally freed from the predator’s teeth and claws.

While I was gaping at the tiger’s stupidity in my first grade classroom, I also marveled at the fox’s intelligence and quick thinking (foxes were often characterized as the cunning ones in Chinese stories). Later on in my history classes during high school years, I could connect the story to many historical Kings, Queens, and nobilities, who have claimed themselves as divine or descendants of Heaven, such as: King Naram-Sin from Mesopotamia, the Chinese Emperors and the Japanese rulers.

Link for picture: https://www.google.com/search?q=%E7%8B%90%E5%81%87%E8%99%8E%E5%A8%81&biw=853&bih=392&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=tlEUVNDiDfTc8gGM2IGYAw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=yz-L69c82-tNAM%253A%3BjCA-KmR6mrlNyM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fimage.189store.com%253A8080%252Fdata%252Fapp_files%252F2012%252F07%252F45fe5f0e22bd7f952edcfef060a3ad8e.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.189store.com%252Findex.php%253Fapp%253Dgoods%2526id%253D314542%3B1402%3B782

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A Response to “What is Happiness” by John Ciardi

  In his essay, Ciardi divides the idea of happiness into material and spiritual, as well as Eastern and Western; where Western being the more materialistic one, and Eastern leans toward the internal sense of joy. He acknowledges that different people register happiness in different ways. However, no matter what kind of happiness people try to achieve, it is the effort in the pursuit of happiness, the process of becoming happy that is essential.

  The author is spreading this idea to all age groups, since mostly everyone has experiences with happiness, no matter what kind. Thus Ciardi tries to let people see the true nature of what is it to be happy by letting them rethink about the idea of happiness. He lists the two extremes: materialistic and spiritual felicity. Almost everyone can belong to one of those two categories. The author expresses the idea that no one is purely composed of happiness, it is only partial in everyone. However, every individual has the ability to find joy, the process and effort of overcoming difficulty. Also, the author wants the society to find balance between the extremities. Ciardi tells the audiences that happiness can never be fully owned by men, but people can always pursue and find balance of it, which is where the idea of happiness truly lies. 

  I agree with Ciardi’s interpretation of happiness. I have seen many people who take the material and spiritual or Eastern and Western extremities always craving for more. They are always hungry. Thus combining and balancing the two extremities helps by making the extremities supplement for each other. Also, through many experiences I agree with Ciardi’s idea that no one can be in a constant state of joy, but conquering difficulties often brings a rich recompense of happiness. For example, after a long period of rigorous studying in my AP class, I made a good score, which provides me a special sense of joy. 

Link to essay: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxcQgjnJhCFGbzJEN1E3NDFxcU0/edit?pli=1