From my middle girl's final in Literature. I am so proud of her and of her growth that I asked her if I could post it here. She agreed. I wish that more people understood the value of mutual support, of loyalty, of forgiveness, and of self control as well as she does.
What I learned through this class.
I want to say that I learned that there are some good teachers and some not so good teachers. There are some teachers that say they are there to help you through anything only to let you down and withdraw you from their class.
I learned this semester that I can connect with some teachers on a real life level. I also learned that you are not only a good teacher but a real teacher with heart. That is rare in this day and age and it thrills me to know that not only did you teach me literature and drama but you taught me about real life and real tragedies (your tragedy).
You are the only one of my teachers that stepped up and held me up so that I could learn through your class. You didn't just throw your hands up and give up. You understood the dilemma that I am in with my husband. You alone held on to my schooling and kept me in school, if it wasn't for you I would have walked away and never looked back.
Yes, I was going to run away. I didn't think that I had the strength to go through Ed's cancer and school as well, but through you I did it. So I learned that even when life deals me a dirty hand that I am not alone. There are good people who care, sometimes it takes a horrible tragedy to find out who they are.
Something that comes from any study of literature, but especially when we are focusing on the tragedies in Hamlet and Oedipus, is just how hard we humans struggle. We try to find a little control in our lives, a little security, but whatever we can build can be swept away in a moment by forces completely beyond our control.
Living is like a game of chance. Everyday we make deals and bets and take gambles in our lives. We truly do the best of our ability, We try to make decisions that we think are good and right and using reason. But sometimes life (fate) proves that even the most carefully thought out actions can have horrible repercussions that can not be re-done or changed. Its just like the saying "That's the way the cookie crumbles".
Life is what it is So this reminds me that we should be careful of our actions and of the words that are spoken. Once the words escape your mouth and hurt someone, there is no way that we can retract the negative actions our words have caused. Once something is done or said, there is no rewind or delete button. It is forever saved in the memory of the one that has been affected by it.
This is why I do not let myself get angry. I am conscious of how strong my tongue is and how much damage it can create. So I try, oh, I try, not to let myself rage because I can be ugly and vile and I do not want to be the cause of someone's injury. I don't think that I truly really grasped the concept of this until this semester.
This is what happened to Oedipus. He did everything that he believed to be right. He left his father and his mother behind and moved to a strange country so that his fate would not come true. Oedipus had no way of knowing that the people who raised him were not really his parents and by staying home he could have prevented the tragedy that he was trying so hard to keep from coming true. This goes to show you that even if you do good things and are truly a good person, bad things can still happen. you don't have to be royalty to be a big influence on everyone around you or for big things to happen to you. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.
Hamlet taught me that we may never be able to really know the truth and nothing is as it seems. Was Hamlet really insane to begin with? Did him acting insane lead him to actually lose his mind? Did Ophelia kill herself or was it a accident? For me there are no real clear answers. It just goes to prove that life can be a great big mess sometimes.
Hamlet had so many choices, but time and time again he made the most horrible choice. He had so few facts in front of him. Hamlet was not thinking clearly or very carefully. He truely let his emotions run away with him. While in contrast, Oedipus tried to think things out with reason and logic. It failed Oedipus as Hamlet's actions failed him.
For me in my daily life, especally with the Ed's tragedy of being dignosed with cancer, his tragedy could crush me and contribute to the me just running away or giving into despair. We have to keep going, No matter how rough our lives are going to be at times. Just as in Angels in America, I must keep moving. I can not just sit there and think that life is going to fix itself. I must be proactive in my husband's treatment and I must advocate for the his right to good care. I must not let the demon of cancer hold me back from helping Ed.
If I were to give in and crumble, Ed would as well. Ed having cancer is a really ugly card that he was dealt. Even with the cancer diagnosis, it does not define the man that Ed is. It is just a part of Ed. Just as me having bi-polar is not the same as bi-polar being me. Ed's cancer is just something we have to gear up and fight against. Ed will prevail, he will be healed and is being healed as I type this out. But just like our heros in Hamlet and Everyman, Ed has to go through the unknown (his quest) to reap the rewards of his fight. Will his fight be easy? Hell, no, it wont (its a fight for his life)! It is not fair or right, but it is our life and we have no control over this part of it.
I've learned through the class and Ed's cancer that I have to live in the moment and do my very best in good moments. I will live in them and soak them up, for when the bad moments come. The bad moments will take a lot of energy, but I must not to let them consume me or my life. Life is a balancing act with good and bad. It's what I do with those moments that makes the difference.
Lastly, I would like to say that this class has taught me more then I could ever explain but it also helped me to realize that life is unpredictable, like when sometimes terrible things happen to everyday ordinary folk. In a stange way, I find these revelations bring me some comfort, strength and understanding that me, you, and my fellow classmates are emotional creatures and that's OK. It is life. It's plain and simple, we are what we are, good or bad. It is what it is.
We just have to do our best with it.