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Knowledge and Individual Power

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There is a certain positive position taken when the words knowledge and individual power are placed together. As my mind flooded with emerging ideas to define my feelings and thoughts on these words I kept coming back to independence, healthy self esteem and accepting. Reading through the assigned stories and poems and there analysis by others, I found that they too concluded a certain theme of accepting others once they were more informed. My view and the excerpts from Lauren Axelrod well written analysis below seem to be the same. Knowledge gives self empowerment.

While reflecting and brainstorming for this essay, I took the advice of the author and followed the directions on pages ninety and ninety one. As instructed I wrote down some of the broad generalizations and assumptions I came to while pondering over the words knowledge and individual power. Having knowledge leads to individual power over ones own environment. It makes you a better person and improves the environment for all those around you. It gives you the strength and sets a standard that will positively make you feel and live better. Knowledge and individual power help you make better decisions and guide you toward justice in daily life. I read “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, “Crazy Courage” by Alma Luz Villanueva and “Much madness is divinest sense” by Emily Dickinson. After reading, I went online to get some concept of what others were expressing on the topic. The website that published Lauren Axelrod’s work on comparisons of Emily Dickenson’s and Alma Luz Villanueva writings summed it up.

Here is an excerpt from a website I found. MLA:http://bookstove.com/poetry/blind-perception-a-comparison-of-good-and-evil/published by Lauren Axelrod, May 11, 2009 “In Emily Dickinson’s piece Much Madness is divinest sense, the path of righteousness is clearly the main topic of the prose. The author states, “Assent—and you are sane–, Demur—you’re straightway dangerous”, this alludes to the choice of good and evil (Dickinson 1). We all have a path to travel, and sometimes the road less traveled is the one that defines our entire lives. However, in the case of Emily Dickinson’s piece, there are consequences to choosing the wrong path. There is no room for unconformity; there is only discrimination and intolerance when a person chooses the wrong set of ideals.

In contrast, Alma Luz Villanueva’s poem Crazy Courage conveys a much deeper feeling of acceptance and an emphasis on being distinctive. There is unmistakably no judgment placed upon the man that comes to his fiction class one day as a man, and the next as a woman. The professor still sea’s a man hiding under the feminine miniskirt, bright purple tights, a scooped-neck blouse, carrying as single red rose (Villanueva). There is a sense of adoration and acceptance towards this man, as the crowd is full of younger adolescents that have seen it all, being they are of the MTV crowd (Villanueva). A crowd that remains un-shocked when this man is showcasing his talents, rather than himself.

When it comes to discrimination and conformity, these poems are quite distinctive in their stance on the subject. In Dickinson’s piece, on the last line she states “handled with chain”, as if there is no other option for choosing the wrong path (Dickinson). There will no acceptance for an ungodly way, sinner’s life, or a darkened soul. The poem is completely one sided, which makes complete sense considering it was written years before a time that more accepting to outwardly diverse individuals.

However, in the piece by Villanueva, the professor openly hugged the man goodbye, his faced blossoming with delight, setting apart the pain of the situation, the crazy courage that it takes to be whole (Villanueva).” Lauren Alelrod describes and contrasts these to pieces in a way that perfectly illustrates the point. With knowledge we gain self empowerment, even though she discuss, analyzes and contrasts remarkably opposite narratives. When I was younger I feel I made immature decisions based on lack of knowledge, insight and security on who I was. At the time, the perception I had of myself was based solely on what others thought of me. The definition I had for the word knowledge was basic dictionary format. I took it to mean that I simply had some information on a topic. Now that I am older and more mature I sense that true knowledge can only be gained if it is linked to emotion. The knowledge that I have now is based on personal experience and that is what makes it powerful to me as an individual. I have earned my individual

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