The Value of X

September 1, 2011
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Life has many valuable lessons that can come from the strangest situations but in every circumstance many different meanings can arise. For example if a group were to undergo the same obstacle each would come with new view on life unlike to their companions. In the three short stories chosen the question how people find value in life surfaces as the reader’s views is compared to the narrator’s views. People find value in their lives by making mistakes in order to grow as person or community with the lesson the individuals learn.
In “The Other Side of the Hedge” by E.M. Foster, the author focuses on a variety of lessons but the pressing lesson would be that, the family one leaves in order to progress is the same family that will save you in the end in one’s distress. The narrator explains his need to leave his brother on the side of the road so that he can move forward but when he travels to the other side the man that helps him turns out to be his brother. The author includes many symbols throughout his piece, one of them being “the long dusty road” that represents the long journey of life that never seems to end with this nameless goal always in the distance. The narrator in the story seems to struggle with the idea of being happy with his achievements; he wishes to keep progressing towards this unknown ultimate goal on the “long dusty road”. The narrator is more than just one man, he is symbolism for modern day individuals who speed through life, keeping track of their success but never stopping to appreciate the beauty of life. Readers are able to relate, because the fast pace life of today pressures people to keep advancing without breaks. The main character learns the importance of family and that if one doesn’t take the time to be grateful for their surroundings and their accomplishments then there is no point to keep continuing to “nowhere”. Overall, readers and the narrator seem to share a common lesson of taking a step back to actually see their creations instead of whipping by them without giving them the praise they need, and in that praise one will find happiness.
In “Ultima Thule” by Gareth Evans, the story elaborates on the hard work one must partake in to create great work and how little thought can easily diminish the past accomplishments. The narrator is rather omnipresent; he seems to tell the tale instead of experiencing it for himself so that readers are able to process different views. The steps written throughout the story resemble the actions that intellectual people have taken to create this wonderful modern city. The author, though, doesn’t focus on the thoughts of these great people who help make the city, he focuses on a community of mishaps that feel they aren’t able to appreciate this city. There are two main ideas in this short story, one being the most obvious, that individuals who don’t feel part of the greatness are more likely to make it unavailable to everyone else. This occurs because everyone desires to be part of a group where they are supported and loved and when they are rejected that love turns to growing hatred. Easily this hatred will drive one to destroy the very thing that keeps them motivated to live, because at some point one might begin to feel that their ultimate goal is unreachable. Furthermore, the author show how much it takes to build greatness but how little it takes to destroy it. In conclusion, readers are able to learn one should think before acting and that time and hard work is required to help create something worthwhile.
In “The Legend of Saint-Julian the Hospitaller” by Gaustave Flaubert, the tale revels how low human nature can sink. The narrator shows the struggle one has to be good in the eyes of others and how the pressure can create conflict in one’s mind. In a situation where one is forced to follow these regulations and is openly expected to be amazing, one tends to avert their anger elsewhere. This is apparent when Julian’s parents push him to be excellent at tasks without asking him what he would like, leaving him to use animals’ deaths as an outlet of suppressed emotions. The author retells a common myth of the unfortunate actions of Julian and one would naturally be horrified but readers can see that he is guilty. The author shows a man that can reflect and see his wrong doings, if Julian couldn’t see his faults then he would not have had the potential to become a saint. Although Julian kills his parent and countless animals he always tried to be better and in the end all an individual can ask is for the one to try to be his best. Julian seems to understand, by the end, that his good deeds are rewarded and his misgivings fill him with guilt and regret. He learns to give his life instead of taking others. Reader’s might find this story complex and might not understand how one act could erase all others but one can see that the moral of the story is it’s never too late to be “good”.
Individuals who are willing to make mistakes in their lives are capable of developing into an intellectual people because through trial and error, people are able to see what is truly meaningful in life. Throughout the short stories discussed readers find “Ultima Thule” to have the most lucid concept, the story doesn’t require individuals to reread because by the end, one can comprehend the meaning of how little effort can demolish hard long work. In the short story “The Legend of Saint Julian the Hospitaller” readers uncover the meaning through careful speculation; individuals tend to think this tale to be chaotic, and are force to take closer look at certain parts t to understand that there is always a chance to become a better human being. Although two out of the three short stories are following one single person opposed to a community one can see that all three tales are directed at a group. For example in Gaustave Flaubert piece Julian seems to represent the constant struggle in humans to stay in the moral codes our society has created. In “the Other Side of the Hedge” the narrator is symbolism for the people in the world who forget to appreciate hard work. In conclusion through short stories such as “the Other Side of the Hedge,” “Ultima Thule,” and “the Legend of Saint Julian the Hospitaller” readers can realize the authors’ values and apply them throughout their own lives.





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