Friday, June 3, 2011

What I have learned about people/myself in relation to the study of the Holocaust, the Book Thief and other articles, discussions and connections made during English 11.

As a student in English 11, I have learned a lot from the materials that we have been studying in the class. The major themes that we have been reviewing about this year are evil, power, ambition, guilt and greed. Not only did we research about them on different levels, we also tried to make connections to them in our lives. Topics such as the Holocaust, death as revealed in the Book Thief, and other articles and discussions have widened my knowledge about human nature, broadened my sense of events that have occurred and are occurring in the world and most importantly, enhanced my understanding towards myself and others.
I have always been a nice person, but during the course, I have learned that it is not pleasant to be nice because nice people are too afraid to do anything; they are too scared to hurt other people’s feelings. Throughout my life, I have never made foes and I rarely get into fights with my friends. I think it is because I have always assented with others. Even when I disagree, I conceal my true opinion because I was taught to “mind my own business”. However, after contemplating the “White Rose Movement” and Rosa and Hans Hubermann’s actions in the Book Thief, I challenge myself to stand up for what I believe in and to do what is right. I understand now that those are true heroic undertakings and that people who may act harsh and coarse, can be very compassionate and thoughtful.
While taking English 11, I have also acknowledged the steps to evil and have been constantly reminding myself of not to “mindlessly [take] the first small step”. Moreover, instead of complying with everything that others say, I have learned to continuously question authority and to ask “why” ever so often. One of the most shocking quotes that I have read in the class is “When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion,” by C.P.Snow. Now, I try to relate the idea to real life and what I can do to stop it or change it.
Although many parents would oppose to letting their children learn about evil, I think that it is essential for us to comprehend why humans conduct immoral acts. I think it would be useful to identify evil and to recognize that we all have the potential for it. By studying these elements, I will be well prepared for the evil in the world.

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