Change for Good or Bad?

November 11, 2008
By Scott Silverstein, Park City, UT

“The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes. Change is the one quality we can predicate of it. The systems that fail are those that rely on the permanency of human nature, and not on its growth and development.”(Wilde) Change is inevitable, but humans can change in ways that people could never believe. Daniel Keyes exemplifies this concept in the story Flowers for Algernon. He shows that people can change.

There are many changes in Charlie Gordon’s life. That said, the most obvious change in Charlie’s life is when he changes from mentally challenged to smart and back to mentally challenged again. “Its a funny thing I never knew that Joe and Frank and the others like to have me around all the time to make fun of me. Now I know what it means when they say ‘to pull a Charlie Gordon”(Keyes 212) When the quote says, “Its a funny thing I never knew that Joe and Frank and the others like to have me around all the time to make fun of me,” that says that he understands that they are just making fun of them. That shows that he is changing from not knowing that Joe and Frank like to be around Charlie just to make fun of him. Charlie at that point changed dramatically showing that it is not impossible for a person to change.

Again, Lois Lowry presents this theme in the book The Giver. Jonas, the main character in the book has to change from being just a normal boy to having a very important job. “Jonas has been selected,’ he blinked, what did that mean? We felt a collective question stir from the audience, they were puzzled. In a firm, commanding voice she announced, ‘Jonas has been selected to be our next receiver of memory.”(Lowry 60) That shows that being a “receiver of memory” must be a very important job because it said that there was a “stir from the audience,” and that the audience was “puzzled.” That shows that Jonas changes from being an unimportant soul, to be specified, as the receiver of memory, which is obviously a very important job. This portrays that you can change in a way that does not change you physically but changes your status in the world.

Once more the theme is presented in the movie The Longest Yard. In the movie Paul Crewe got kicked out of the National Football League for throwing a game although he was not totally found guilty. He got arrested for stealing a car and drunk driving. He was sentenced to a prison where the guards were very cruel. He played on the criminal’s football team and played the guards. In the game they were tied at halftime and the warden of the jail bribed him again to throw the game. He threw the game through the third quarter until he realized what he was doing was wrong. Until this point in the movie he has never admitted that he threw that game. “I know this does not come as a surprise, but I did throw that game. I was in a bad situation, and I was trying to throw this game. I am not making the same mistake twice in one life so I guess that I am going to see you guys for a long time.” (MTV) That shows that Paul Crewe changed from lying to everyone to finally admitting it. Paul Crewe changed ethically in order to clear his conscience.

Yet again, the theme is portrayed in history when America decided to end neutrality in World War II. For a long time at the begining World War II was going on America tried to remain Neutral, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii ruining army bases and killing many Americans. President Franklin Roosevelt decided that action was needed to take course in order to defend our country. “As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.”(President Roosevelt’s) Roosevelt changed his mind from being neutral to leading America into World War II. The change is mentally where Roosevelt changes his mind. Sometimes it takes direct confrontation to make someone change.

One more time, the theme is in my own life. Change though is not only for the good. I had a friend with this kid named Christian Barkett in Tampa, Florida where I used to live. I was really good friends with him until I got to the sixth grade. After the sixth grade he turned into a bad kid. Eventually we did not even talk and we were no longer friends any longer. This shows that he changed from being a kid that was really nice and funny to a kid that turned into just plain mean and that effected our friendship.

People can change in many ways. There are many different examples from the story Flowers for Algernon to the book The Giver to the movie The Longest Yard to historical events such as President Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy Speech” to a negative change where my own life experience having a friend that turned bad. The only thing that is certain is change itself.

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