by

November 27, 2021

 

The Importance of a Character Change and Drawing Inspiration from “Araby”

The character change in “Araby” by the young boy demonstrates an eventual loss of innocence, a loss of innocence that is driven by his defeat and despair. In the short story, a young boy is passionately excited to attend a bazaar, and the time leading up to his eventual arrival seems to drag on in a painfully slow manner, as he states “I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child’s play, ugly monotonous child’s play,” which demonstrates that the young and excited child was consumed with his envisioning of the culminating event of purchasing an item from the bazaar for the girl he loved in a passionate manner (Joyce 3). When the young boy eventually arrives at the bazaar, however, the character becomes immediately disappointed in the fact that the shops were closing for the night and he could not purchase a nice gift for the girl he ardently loved. In his final moment at the bazaar, the young boy recalls that “my eyes burned with anguish and anger,” his final realization and admittance to himself that his reality could certainly never be as grand and satisfying as his compelling dreams.

In “Araby,” the elements that I can emulate in my capstone project are the author’s heavy emphasis on describing the setting in the beginning of the story and the complex detailing of one character’s coming of age journey, a journey that results in an inevitable character change by the end of the story. A description of the setting in the beginning of a story allows readers to begin to imagine how a character’s mood will correlate with his/her setting, as the setting, oftentimes, heavily influences the motives and actions of a character. Additionally, in a coming of age story, it is extremely important to adequately detail the emotions of a character, as an emotional change by a character is what demonstrates the themes of a story because an emotional change demonstrates that a character has learned something; as a result, the readers can also learn from the character’s journey. Likewise, an emotional change is also commonly associated with the character’s environment, such as the character’s journey to the bazaar in “Araby.” Both the setting and emotional coming of age journey of a character are often intertwined with one affecting the other, and vice versa. 


Jane Eyre’s Influence on my Own Story

After reading the first chapter of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, I have decided to draw inspiration from the narrator’s distinctly detailed observations of her settings that are interspersed between the dialogue in the novel, as the descriptions of her setting helps to explain her own actions.

By incorporating highly detailed descriptions of the setting from the narrator’s point of view, the reader is able to visualize the physical descriptions of the setting, and this also helps to strengthen the characterization of the narrator through her thoughts and observations on what she notes around her. Following a short line of dialogue on page one, Jane begins to note her surroundings, and then she proceeds to interact with her setting. She first notes that “A small breakfast-room adjoined the drawing room,” and then, immediately following her observation, she “slipped in there” (Brontë 1). Again, following this same pattern, she then observes that “It contained a bookcase,” and then, to interact with the setting, she “soon possessed myself of a volume, taking care that it should be one stored with pictures” (Brontë 1). Intertwining the character’s observations with her own actions allows the author to proceed with the storyline while also ensuring that the reader is able to visualize the storyline itself.

Likewise, in my own story, I will be developing a complex portrayal of nature, and by following the pattern that Charlotte Brontë uses, I will be able to have my characters interact with their environment in an organic way; they will first observe their surroundings, and then they will use their observations to guide their actions and dialogue.


Blue Zones Versus the United States: How Does Diet Play a Role?

What is a Blue Zone, and is the United States one? Firstly, the term “Blue Zone” is a title developed for places in the world where people live the longest, and currently, there are five of them: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California. As an entire country, no, the United States is not a Blue Zone. In fact, “The United States ranks 26th of 35 OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries for life expectancy, with an average life expectancy of 79 years” (“Comparison with Other Nations”). By delving into the dietary lifestyle of Ikarians and comparing it to the dietary lifestyle of Americans, we can see that this is one reason why members of this Greek island live about eight to ten years longer than Americans do (“A Greek Island’s Ancient Secret”).

Ikarians are credited with eating the “strictest version of the Mediterranean diet in the world,” and this is a diet that primarily consists of “fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, red wine, and olive oil,” all of which are nutrient-dense and high-antioxidant foods (“A Greek Island’s Ancient Secret”). On the contrary, Americans consume a diet that is high in fat, sugar, refined grains, sodium, and saturated fat with a national average for regular produce consumption at 57.7% (“Facts and Statistics”). Both countries’ food choices visibly differ from the other, and it is unquestionable that the dietary choices from Ikarians favor longevity and wellness. To verify this claim, we can analyze the life expectancy from this Blue Zone, and we see that the life expectancy is above 90 years old, a stark contrast to the United States’ life expectancy of 79 years (“Ikarian People”). It is easy to become acclimated and accustomed to following the dietary patterns from one’s own country, but it is fundamentally crucial to examine and reflect on our food choices and recognize that these choices are capable of influencing our health and the duration of our life. 

As an American myself, I notice that it is dangerously easy for just about anyone to gorge themselves with takeout and skip the fruits and vegetables and opt for high-sodium french fries because we are given this option on just about every other street corner we drive by. When I was in Switzerland, I remember my parents wrangling to find a McDonald’s to quench the Americanized palettes of both my brother and I, two kids who grimaced at the fresh produce and artisan cheeses on the country’s street corners. An adult now, I have embraced recognizing the importance of what I put on my plate, and I certainly encourage everyone to think about how, perhaps, your own country may have a prevalent influence on your dietary choices, choices that ultimately have an impact on your life expectancy.

Works Cited

“A Greek Island’s Ancient Secret to Avoiding Alzheimer’s.” Blue Zones, 3 June 2020, www.bluezones.com/2018/11/a-greek-islands-ancient-secret-to-avoiding-alzheimers/. Accessed 20 January 2020.

“Comparison with Other Nations.” America’s Health Rankings, www.americashealthrankings.org/learn/reports/2016-annual-report/comparison-with-other-nations. Accessed 20 January 2020.

“Ikarian People.” Ikarian People – Visit Ikaria, www.visitikaria.gr/en/ikaria/ikarian-people#.YAjorS1OLmo. Accessed 20 January 2020.

“Facts & Statistics.” HHS.gov, US Department of Health and Human Services, 26 Jan. 2017, www.hhs.gov/fitness/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/index.html. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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