Stories That Strike Our Inner Self

September 13, 2008
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I have selected four different works of literature all of which I believe will raise the quality of the curriculum in school district around the nation. All of these titles are very meaningful and have helped define my view of the world. They can help students young and old learn how life should be lived.
Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go! is an inspirational book that provides an uplifting farewell, in Dr. Seuss style, for people entering new phases in their lives. Through the story, Seuss has a young traveler who represents the reader. He starts out by explaining that your life does not depend on the people around you, but on you and the choices you make. He then tells how you will begin ahead of all your competition, but then you may “get all hung up in a pricke-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.” Dr. Seuss is pointing out that there will be difficult times as well as good times. The traveler then refuses to waste away his time waiting, and is soon off on his journeys yet again. The boy becomes lonely, but pursues his goals anyway. Dr. Seuss portrays the difficulties of having to make decisions through our life. “Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.”
At times, I can be standing in a situation, and have only two ways to go. How do I know which way to go, or which trail will lead me on the right path? Both roads seem to look perfectly fine, although there is no way to know what lies a few miles down the road. These are only a few items that I considered after reading the poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. When I first read this poem, the meaning seemed pretty obvious. A traveler comes to a fork in the road and has to decide which path to take in their journey through the wood. But then I realized that it meant much more. It meant that it is not always easy to make choices in our lives. It meant that the path with the better claim, and more traveled on, is not always the best path for you. It meant that sometimes the only way to find out what lies ahead of you is to take a chance and hope for the best. In my opinion, The Road Not Taken is not about the traveler’s regret of taking the wrong road; it is about not taking the easy path in life. The traveler had the choice to either take the path that so many before him had taken, or to take the less traveled path. The Road Not Taken has taught me that there is more than one road in life and to accomplish everything to the best of my ability by making good choices. There are challenges that I will face and will have to succeed over during the course of my life. This poem has also taught me that there will always be a road not taken, and I will never know where it might have led. The Road Not Taken insinuates that the right choice is not always easy or popular, and that the right decisions often require perseverance, determination, effort, and courage. “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
In The Phantom Tollbooth, Milo is a young boy who fails to see the meaning of life. He spends his time doing nothing, simply because he does not see a point to bothering. But one day, he mysteriously receives a package, containing a travel booth. He is soon embarking on a journey like no other. Along with a watchdog named Tock and an ill-tampered Humbug, Milo decides to pursue on a quest for Rhyme and Reason. With them, he will hopefully be able to settle the war between words and numbers. Along the way, Milo meets a breed of Lethargarians, who remind Milo of himself and provide him with one of the many examples given throughout his journey as to why spending your time doing nothing is not very logical. "As you can see, that leaves almost no time for brooding, lagging, plodding, or procrastinating, and if we stopped to think or laugh, we'd never get nothing done."
When learning about schizophrenia in health class, I watched the movie A Beautiful Mind. It is about a man named John Forbes Nash overcoming his schizophrenia, and going on to win a Nobel Prize. The most startling aspect is the movie is that it is based on someone’s real life. It shows that all things are possible and that you can triumph over any obstacle you come across in order to reach your goals. “Perhaps it is good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to discover a beautiful heart.”
These four works of literature have influenced the way I live my life and, I believe, will change the way others in high schools all over live their lives.

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