For a person who tries to deeply analyze other people through “meticulous observations”, I find that I’m actually very closed off in my expression. I try to be conscious of how I express myself, which really just ends up creating my “facade”. This culminates in my outward character being a quiet type, a spectator who only ever astutely observes but rarely ever directly takes part in the surroundings. I truly believe that I only create my facade as a sort of safety measure against people like myself; I’m afraid of people who enjoy observing others. Protection against meticulous observations, which I myself indulge in, is what acts as a fuel to the cold flames that make up my facade. I often come too close to these flames of my facade thinking they’ll provide me with warmth, but all that ever happens is that I lose sight of my true self, trapped by the comfort of the facade I created.
My heart and soul lie inside of my facade. It acts as a cover over them, so as to conceal their nature, yet indubitably there will always be times when another individual will see through my facade and my innermost self is brought out into the open. This part of me really just reveals the vulnerabilities that I try so arduously to hide: my fear of judgement, my family values, my distrustful (perhaps partly cynical) nature, my anxiety, my failures. Ironically it is the innermost part of myself, which I try so desperately to hide from the outside world, that makes up what I perceive to be my character. My soul is what I believe to be the essence of the character; it is the part of me that I never wish to change. Flickers of my soul can be seen in small patches that are not covered by the facade I cloak myself in, but my heart will remain hidden until I open it up myself; there are some things that you can only ever learn about a person if they choose to show you it themselves. No amount of analyzing an individual or crawling into his/her skin (figuratively, of course) will allow you to peer into their heart. I’m not entirely certain exactly where my heart lies, but I know what parts of it contain. My desire for, along with doubts about, my sincerity with others is something that I definitely know exists within my heart. There are always times where I feel that I have to overplay my emotions so that I may achieve the sincerity that I seek, yet this facade only ever ends with me regretting over my insincerity with my emotions in the end. All my self-doubts exist within my heart, controlling my facade and choosing which parts of my soul are shown to the other people. Along with my self-doubts, however, exist my pathos and ethos, although ethos is more so shared with the soul. My heart becomes the guidance that sculpts my soul, yet at the same time, it also manipulates my facade.
Of all the novels and plays that I’ve read, there have been few that I’ve ever really felt the desire to reread. If I ever did reread any of the novels which I feel did not have a profound effect on me, it’d most likely only serve a functional use; I would not enjoy it in the least. This selective nature of mine limits which parts of literature that I will take to, but it is this limitation that makes my love for literature that I come to enjoy everlasting. The first novel that I’ve ever felt such a connection to was To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, and the reason for this is mainly because it taught me how much I loved to try to read people; in the same way, I learned how my method of understanding people was flawed. I was much too judgemental (in my defense, I was apologetically judgemental) in my attempts to understand other people. Jem’s ardent manner of ascending the steps of adolescence under the guidance of his father gave me an easy connection to the novel, and it was through this connection that I came to understand how I might judge people, as Atticus taught Scout and Jem to recognize this aspect of themselves. Of all the wonderfully quixotic quotes within this novel, the one that I will never forget would be Atticus’ (slightly overused) quote on understanding other individuals: “You never really understand a person…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”. Although the quote lacks the sophistication that is characteristic of most insightful quotes, its sheer simplicity allows for understanding and even encourages self-reflection. I’d like to think that trying to understand people is a very important part of my personality and had I not read this novel, I most likely wouldn’t have been able to work on it. Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night is something which I don’t believe I will ever get tired of reading. Firstly, it was the first book I ever read in the AP English classroom in Grade 10 which lends it tremendous nostalgic value to me; secondly, it was the novel that demonstrated to me that AP English was really more than a place where people utilized eloquent vocabulary and carefully analyzed pieces of literature. I saw that AP English was more of a place where people could be sensitive to their innermost feelings in regards to a text. That was something I’d never even remotely thought of as a possibility for ELA 10AP when I daydreamed about it over the summer that preceded it. Out of all of Night’s touching moments, there was no moment that hit me harder than Elie’s reaction to the smoke from the burning people, where he begins by saying “Never shall I forget…”, and the part that reached me emotionally was the fact that other people, when asked about their thoughts on it, felt the same sort of sensitivity to the subject. There’s always a strange moment internally when you come to the realization that you’re given the invaluable privilege of being able to sit in a room with people who are able to feel the words in a similar manner to how you feel the words. It’s really a class where people think and analyze because they want to, not because they are told to. The third book is more of a recent read for me, for it is Khalid Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. After reading literature like To Kill A Mockingbird, A Streetcar Named Desire, 12 Angry Men, etc, I thought that my understanding of analysing others had peaked for my adolescence years; I couldn’t think of anything else I may not know of! Reading the novel, however, specifically with the special points of view from which it is told, led me to the conclusion of what I believe to be known as “the heart”. It led me to the conclusion that there will always, without fail, be portions of an individual that you can never learn just by reading them or by looking at the parts of their soul that are shown. These are the parts of an individual that you can only know if the individual themselves chooses to reveal it to you. Looking over the story of Mariam and Laila, along with their thoughts and eventual interaction, I believe that they eventually came to understand the hearts of one another without having to speak to one another. They had to allow these parts to be shown to the other. The only time a person can ever completely understand another is if that person shows them their heart, and for Mariam and Laila, this was how they came to that level of understanding.
Image 1: Taken by family
Image 2 (A Thousand Splendid Suns):
Image 3 (Night):
Image 4 (To Kill A Mockingbird):https://i.pinimg.com/736x/06/f1/f4/06f1f493a6fac042d852938e8eea4aa2–to-kill-a-mockingbird-quote-posters.jpg