Importance of Reflection
In our fast paced and distraction filled modern culture, young people have an extremely difficult time finding a life that is true to themselves. In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Cask of Amontillado”, Montresor became blinded by emotion and other distractions. This failure to recognize and rectify the situation, Montresor committed an act, which he would undoubtedly regret in the future. When speaking with my friends and examining myself, it is easy to recognize that we do not always act in a way that is true to ourselves when faced with our daily distractions. It is important to take a moment to assess ourselves and the effects of our thoughts and actions regularly.
The theme of the short story by professor Marion Crotty, “The Common Application With Supplement” was the struggle of a teenager to come to terms with her emotions. In the form of supplemental essays on her common application, the main character of Crotty’s short story candidly explained her situation that began with simply not fitting in at school to troubles with a boy, and finally to the attempted suicide of her mother. Although the specific situations described in the short story did not necessarily apply to my life, it was easy to sympathize with the character in her struggle. The distracted and sometimes selfish culture in which the character shares with the readers seemed to really help the audience and myself engage in the story. One such example came as the main character returned home from a challenging day of school and work and would shut her mother out of any opportunity for meaningful conversation. The daughter had been so self-absorbed in her own life that she as unable to connect with her mother. It was clear to me that the mothers only concern was the success and safety of her daughter, which was unfortunate to watch considering her daughters choices. This inability for the two characters to connect put a noticeable strain on their relationship and their individual well-being, which was aware to readers, but not to the character.
I noticed a similar conflict to the one experienced by the two characters in “The Common Application” in Poe’s work. However, instead of merely responding with disrespectful phrases as the character in Crotty’s story did, in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”, Montresor vows retribution to what he once called a “friend” in paragraph four. In my opinion, the reason Montresor ultimately murdered his friend was not because Fortunato deserved to be punished, but Montresor was unable to see that he was a jealous friend. Monstresor, as the character from Crotty’s story was overcome by his pride and the emotion of the situation, that he was unable to act in a way that he would be proud of in the future. On page 1066 after essentially sealing the fate of Fortunato, Montresor has a moment of clarity in which he “harkens for the reply of his friend”. If only this moment had come earlier or Montresor took the time to reflect on the situation, the outcome could have been different.
After reading Poe’s work and attending the reading of Crotty’s short story, I began to think about how they can relate to my life. I know that I am fortunate to attend a school in which self reflection in the form of the “examine” is encouraged. It is too easy in our current culture to constantly seek the next reward or reason to stay mentally occupied. Instead, I found the examine especially helpful in reflecting on how interactions may have gone with others throughout the day and how you can improve in the future. Perhaps if either of the characters in the short stories took some time to reflect, the outcomes could have been different. Therefore, it is very important that we take the time necessary to evaluate our situation to assure we are projecting an image of ourselves that we believe is true to us.