Based on the attached file write an essay about ConsciousnessYou need to have an introductory paragraph, a main body (Including three paragraphs) and a conclusive paragraph.base your essay only on those text In attached file :1)What life means to me2)the beginning of consciousness 3) some self-analysis4) letter to his father5) the anger of a child6) the right to be me 7) noble prize award speech8) who’s educated9)Malcolm X A Homemade EducationPlease use simple English +not long essaybut (You need to have an introductory paragraph, a main body (Including three paragraphs) and a conclusive paragraph.)
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What Life Means to Me
Must I then lose the world forever, that I had so loved? .vas it all, the
whole bright and various planet, where I had been so ardent about finding
myself alive, only a passion peculiar to children, that I would outgrow even
against my will?
Suggestions for Discussion
1. What “hit” the author when she was si.xteen?
2. How does the metaphor of the tunnel and her movement in it relate to the author’s
sense of self? How does it relate to he.r description of what follows?
3. What details of her attitudes and behavior tell you about Annie Dillard’s experience of adolescence?
4. What evidence is brought forward that the author was “what they called a live
5. What does the author mean by being “transparent” to herself? How is that state
contrasted with her being in her own way?
6. What images contribute to the reade~’s understanding of Dillard’s sense of crisis?
7. In what sense is. Dillard’s final questioning a logical conclusion to what has preceded in her narrative?
Suggestions for Writing
1. Recount some of your adolescent experiences and indicate how they related to
your sense of self.
2. Draw a portrait of an adolescent you know by examining her/his attitudes and behavior.
3. Compare Dillard’s experience of adolescence with that of other v.-Titers in this section.
What Life Means to Me
jack London ( 1876-1916). American novelist and short-story writer. drew
upon his extensive travels in such workS as The Call of the Wild ( 1903) and his
South Sea tales and developed social themes in such workS as The Iron Heel
( 1907). Although London experienced the loss of many illusions about
man’s goodness and integrity, he retained his belief in human nobility and
I was born in th’e working-class. Early I discovered enthusiasm, ambition,
and ideals; and to satisfy these became the problem of my clild-life. My environment was crude and rough and raw. I had no outlook, but an uplook
THE SEARCH FOR SELF
rather. My place in society was at the bottom. Here life offered nothing but
sordidness and wretchedness, both of the flesh and the spirit; for here flesh
and spirit were alike starved and tormented.
Above me towered the colossal edifice of society, and to my mind the only
way out was up. Into this edifice I early resolved to climb. Up above, men
wore black clothes and boiled shirts, and women dressed in beautiful gowns.
Also, there were good things to eat, and there was plenty to eat. This much
for the flesh. Then there were the things of the spirit. Up above me, I knew,
were unselfishnesses of the spirit, clean and noble thinking, keen intellectual
living. I knew all this because I read “Seaside Library” novels, in which, with
the exception of the villains and .adventuresses, all men and women thought
beautiful thoughts, spoke a beautiful tongue, and performed glorious deeds.
In short, as I accepted the rising of the sun, I accepted that up above me was
all that was fine and noble and gracious, all that gave decency and dignity to
life, all that made life worth living and that remunerated one for his travail
But it is not particularly easy for one to climb up out of the worldngclass-especially if he is handicapped by the possession of ideals and illusions. I lived on a ranch in California, and I was hard put to find the ladder
whereby to climb. I early inquired the rate of interest on invested money,
and worried my child’s brain into an understanding of the virtues and excellencies of that remarkable invention of man, compound interest. Further, I
ascertained the current rates of wages for workers of all ages, and the cost of
living. From all this data I concluded that if I began immediately and worked
and saved until I was fifty years of age, I could then stop working and enter
into participation in a fair portion of the delights and goodnesses that would
then be open to me higher up in society. Of course, I resolutely determined
not to marry, while I quite forgot to consider at all that great rock of disaster
in the working-class world-sickness.
But the life that was in me demanded more than a meagre existence of
scraping and scrimping. Also, at ten years of age, I became a newsboy on the
streets of a city, and found myself with a changed uplook. All about me were
still the same sordidness and wretchedness, and up above me was still the
same paradise waiting to be gained; but the ladder whereby to climb was a
different one. It was now the ladder of business. Why save my e”amings and
invest in government bonds, when, by buying two newspapers for five cents,
with a tum of the wrist I could sell them for ten cents and double my capital?
The business ladder was the ladder for me, and I had a vision of myself becoming a baldheaded and successful merchant prince.
Alas for visions! When I was sixteen I had already earned the title of
“prince.” But this title was given me by a gang of cut-throats and thieves, by
whom I was called “The Prince of the Oyster Pirates.” And at that time I had
climbed the first rung of the business ladder. I was a capitalist. I owned a
boat and a complete oyster-pirating outfit. I had begun to exploit my fellowcreatures. I had a crew of one man. As captain and owner I took two-thirds of
the spoils, and gave the crew one-third, though the crew worked just as hard
as I did and risked just as much his life and liberty.
This one rung was the height I climbed up the business ladder. One night
I went on a raid amongst the Chinese fishermen. Ropes and nets were worth
dollars and cents. It was robbery, I grant, but it was precisely the spirit of
What Life Means to Me
capitalism. The capitalist takes away the possessions of his fellow-creatures by
means of a rebate, or of a betrayal of trust, or by the purchase of senators and
supreme-court judges. I was merely crude. That was the only difference. I
used a gun.
But rriy crew that night was one of those inefficients against whom the
capitalist is wont to fulminate, because, ~· such inefficients increase .
expenses and reduce dividends. My crew did both. What of his carelessness:
he set fire to the big mainsail and totally destroyed it. There weren’t any
dividends that night, and the Chinese fishermen were richer by the nets and
ropes we did not get. I was bankrupt, unable just then to pay sixty-five dollars for a new mainsail. I left my boat at anchor and vent off on a bay-pirate
boat on a raid up the Sacramento River. While away on this trip, another
gang of bay pirates raided my boat. They stole everything, even the anchors;
and later on, when I recovered the drifting hulk, I sold it for twenty dollars. I
had slipped back the one rung I had climbed, and never again did I attempt
the business ladder.
From then on I was mercilessly exploited by other capitalists. I had the
muscle, and they made money out of it while I made but a very indifferent
living out of it. I was a sailor before the mast, a longshoreman, a roustabout; I
worked in canneries, and factories, and laundries; I mowed lawns, and
cleaned carpets, and washed windows. And I never got the full product of my
toil. I looked at the daughter of the cannery owner, in her carriage, and knew
that it was my muscle, .in part, that helped drag along that carriage on its
rubber tires. I looked at the sdn of the factory ~wner, going to college, and
knew that it was my muscle that helped, in part, to pay for the wine and
good fellowship he enjoyed.
But I did not resent this. It was all in the game. They were the strong.
Very well, I was str,ong. I would carve my way to a place amongst them and
make money out of the muscles of other men. I was not afraid of work. I
loved hard work. I would pitch in and work harder than ever and eventually
become a pillar of society.
A,ndjust then, as luck would have it, I found an employer that was of the
same mind. I was willing to work, and he was more than willing that I should
work. I thought I was learning a trade. In reality, I had displaced two men. I
thought he was making an electrician out of me; as a matter of fact, he was
making fifty dollars per month out of me. The two men I had displaced had
received forty dollars each per month; I was doing the work of both for thirty
dollars per month.
This employer worked me nearly to death. A man may love oysters, but
too many oysters will disincline him toward that particular diet. And so v;ith
me. Too much work sickened me. I did not wish ever to see work again. I
fled from work. I became a tramp, begging my way from door to door, wandering over the United States and sweating bloody sweats in slums and
I had been born in the working-class, and I was now, at the age of eighteen, beneath the point at which I had started. I was down in the cellar of
society, down in the subterranean depths of misery about which it is neither
nice nor proper to speak. I wa.S in the pit, the abyss, the human cesspool, the
shambles and charnel-house of our civilization. This is the part of the edifice
of society that society chooses to ignore. Lack of space compels me here to
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ignore it, and I shall say only that the things I there saw gave me a terrible
I was scared into thinking. I saw the naked simplicities of the complicated civilization in which I lived. Life was a matter of food and shelter.
In order to get food and shell:er men sold things. The merchant sold
shoes, the politician sold his manhood, and the representative of the people,
with exceptions, of course, sold his trust; while nearly all sold thei:r~ honor.
Women, too, whether on the street or in the holy bond of wedlock, were
prone to sell their flesh. All things were commodities, all people bought and
sold. The one commodity that labor had to sell was muscle. The honor of
labor had no price in the market-place. Labor had muscle, and muscle alone,
But there was a difference, a vital difference. Shoes and trust and honor
had a way of renewing themselves. They were imperishable stocks. Muscle,
on the other hand, did not renew. As the shoe merchant sold shoes, he continued to replenish his stock. But there was no way of replenishing the laborer’s stock of muscle. The more he sold of his muscle, the less of it remained
to him. It was his one commodity, and each day his stock of it diminished. In
the end, if he did not die before, he sold out and put up his shutters. He was
a muscle bankrupt, and nothing remained to him but to go down into the
cellar of society and perish miserably.
I learned, further, that brain was likewise a commodity. It, too, was different from muscle. A brain seller was only at his prime when he was fifty or
sixty years old, and his wares were fetching higher prices than ever. But a
laborer was worked out or broken down at forty-five or fifty. I had been in
the cellar of society, and I did not like the place as a habitation. The pipes
and drains were unsanitary, and the air was bad to breathe. If I could not live
on the parlor Roor of society; I could, at any rate, have a try at the attic. It
was true, the diet there was slim, but the air at least was pure. So I resolved
to sell no more muscle, and to become a vender of brains.
Then began a frantic pursuit of knowledge. I returned to California and
opened the books. While thus equipping myself to become a brain merchant,
it was inevitable that I should delve into sociology. There I found, in a certain class of books, scientifically formulated, ·the simple .sociological concepts I
had already worked out for myself. Other and greater minds, before I was
born, had worked out all that I had thought and a vast deal more. I discovered that I was a socialist.
The socialists were revolutionists, inasmuch as they struggled to overthrow
the society of the present, and out of the material to build the society of the
future. I, too, was a socialist and a revolutionist. I joined the groups of working-class and intellectual revolutionists, and for the first time came into intellectual living. Here I found keen-flashing intellects .and brilHant wits; for here
I met strong and alert-brained, withal horny-handed, members of the working-class; unfrocked preachers too wide in their Christianity for any congregation of Mammon-worshippers; professors broken on the wheel of university
subservience to the ruling class and flung out because they were quick \-ith
knowledge which they strove to apply to the affairs of mankind.
Here I found, also, warm faith in the human, glowing idealism, sweetnesses of unselfishness, renunciation, and martyrdom-all the splendid,
stinging things of the spirit. Here life was clean, noble, and alive. Here life
What Life Means to Me
rehabilitated itself, became wonderful and glorious; and I was glad to be alive.
I was in touch with great souls who exalted flesh and spirit over dollars and
cents, and to ‘whom the thin wail of the starved slum child meant more than
all the pomp and circumstance of commerical expansion and world empire.
All about me were nobleness of purpose and heroism of effort, and my days
and nights were sunshine and starshine, all fire and dew, with before my
eyes, ever burning and blazing, the Holy Grail, Christ’s own Grail, the :warm
human, long-suffering and maltreated, but to be rescued and saved at the last.
And I, poor foolish I, deemed all this to be a mere foretaste of the delights
of living I should find higher above me .in society. I had lost many illusions
since the day I read “Seaside Library” novels on the California ranch. I was
destined to lose many of the illusions I still retained.
As a brain merchant I was a success. Society opened its portals to me. I
entered right in on the parlor floor, and my disillusionment proceeded rapidly. I sat down to dinner with the masters of society, and with the v.rives and
daughters of the masters of society. The women were gowned beautifully, I
admit; but to my naive surprise I discovered that they were of the same clay
as all the rest of the women I had known down below in the cellar. “The
colonel’s lady and Judy O’Grady were sisters under their skins” -and gowns.
It was not this, however, so much as their materialism, that shocked me.
It is true, these beautifully gowned, beautiful women prattled sweet little
ideals and dear little moralities; but in spite of their prattle the dominant key
of the life they lived was materialistic. And they were so sentimentally selfish!
They assisted in all kinds of sweet little charities, and informed one of the
fact, while all the time the food they ate and the beautiful clothes they wore
were bought out of dividends stained with the blood of child labor, and
sweated labor, and of prostitution itself. When I mentioned such facts, expecting in my innocence that these sisters of Judy O’Grady would at once
strip off their blood-dyed silks and jewels, they became excited and angry,
and read me preachments about the lack of thrjft, the drink, and the innate
depravity that caused all the misery in society’s cellar. When I mentioned
that I couldn’t quite see that it was the lack of thrift, ‘the intemperance, and
the depravity of a half-starved child of six that made it work twelve hours
every night in a Southern cotton mill, these sisters of Judy O’Grady attacked
my private life and called me an “agitator” -as though that, forsooth, settled
Nor did I fare better with the masters themselves. I had expected to find
men who were clean, noble, and alive, whose ideals were clean, noble, and
alive. I went about amongst the men who sat in the high places-the preachers, the politicians, the business men, the professors, and the editors. I ate
meat with them, drank wine with them, automobiled with them, and studied
them. It is true, I found many that were clean and noble; but with rare exceptions, they were not alive. I do verily believe I could count the exceptions
on the fingers of my two hands. Where they were not alive with rottenness,
quick with unclean life, they were merely the unburied dead-clean and
noble, like well-preserved mummies, but not alive. In this connection I may
especially mention the professors I met, the men who live up to that decadent university ideal, “the passionless pursuit of passionless intelligence.”
I met men who invoked the name of the Prince of Peace in their diatribes
against war, and who put rifles in the hands of Pinkertons with which to shoot
THE SEARCH FOR SELF
down strikers in their own factories. 1 met men incoherent with indignation
at the brutality of prize-fighting, and who, at the same time, were parties to
the adulteration of food that killed each year more babies than even redhanded Herod had killed.
I talked in hotels an:d clubs and homes and Pullmans and steamer-chairs
with captains of industry, and marvelled at how little travelled they were in
the realm of intellect. On the other hand, I discovered that their intellect, in
the business sense, was abnormally developed. Also, I discovered that their
morality, where business was concerned, was nil.
This delicate, aristocratic-featured gentleman, was a dummy director and a
tool of corporations that secretly robbed widows and orphans. This gentleman,
who collected fine editions and was an especial patron of literature, paid blackmail to a heavy-jowled, black-browed boss of a municipal machine. This editor,
who published patent medicine advertisements and did not dare print the truth
in his paper about said patent medicines for fear oflosing the advertising, called
me a scoundrelly demagogue because I told him that his political economy was
antiquated and that his biology was contemporaneous with Pliny.
This senator was the tool and the slave, the little puppet of a gross, uneducated machine boss; so was this governor and this supreme-court judge; and
all three rode on railroad passes. This man, talking soberly and earnestly
about the beauties of idealism and the goodness of God, had just betrayed his
comrades in a business deal. This man, a pillar of the church and heavy contributor to foreign missions, worked his shop girls ten hours a day on a starvation wage and thereby directly encouraged prostitution. This man, who endowed chairs in universities, perjured himself in courts of law over 0:. matter
~f dollars and cents. And this railroad magnate broke his word as a gt;ntleman
and a Christian when he granted a secret rebate to one of two captains of
industry locked together in ·a struggle to the death.
It was the same everywhere, crime arid betrayal, betrayal and crimemen who were alive, but who were neither clean nor noble, men who were
clean and noble but who were not alive. Then there was a great, hopeless
mass, neither noble nor alive, but merely clean. It did not sin positively nor
deliberately; but it did sin passively and ignorantly by acquiescing in the current immorality and profiting by it. Had it been noble and alive it would not
have been ignorant, and it would have refused to share in the ·.profits of betrayal and crime.
I discovered that I did not like to live on the parlor fl.oor of society. Intellectually I was bored. Morally and spiritually I was sickened. I rem’embered
my intellectuals and idealists, my unfrocked preachers, broken professors,
and clean-minded, class-conscious workingmen. I remembered ‘my days and
nights of sunshine and starshine, where life was all a wild sweet wonder, a
spiritual paradise of unsel£sh adventure and ethical romance. And I saw before me, ever blazing and burning the Holy Grill.
So I went back to the working-class, in which I had been born and where I
belonged. I care no longer to climb. The· imposing edifice of society above
my head holds no delights for me. It is the foundation of the edifice that
interests me. There I am content to labor, crowbar in harid, shoulder to
shoulder with intellectuals, idealists, and class-conscious workingmen, getting
a solid p …
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