The Corruption Within Us

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A loss of innocence is inevitable. It cannot be so that an individual may live without the purity of their soul being stained, for it is within human nature to be destructive. Although this nature can be concealed with a goodness through nurture, acts of corruption from others can trigger the nature within to reveal its evil. Regardless of the efforts one may put into hiding their evil, radiance of this destruction disguises itself as a human flaw. A flaw which an individual would perceive themselves to possess, which causes the individual to degrade themselves, thus corrupting the wall of goodness made to prevent the evil from being released, in all its destruction. Basil Hallward, in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, is a character whose innocence is unmatched, for he holds no negative thoughts towards Lord Henry, despite his actions, and holds only admiration for a person such as Dorian, whose sins have caused his own soul to rot. Lord Henry Wotton, on the other hand, seems to be antithetical in comparison with Basil. His hedonistic beliefs cause him both to be corrupt, and to spread this corruption onto others. Speaking from a personal perspective, I believe it’s fair to say that I have been corrupted, transformed by the other Lord Henry’s in the world. I feel that I may represent the Basil who Lord Henry had succeeded in corrupting.

Throughout my life, I have been shrouded by goodness and kindhearted people. Yet still, I feel as though my darker side has been exposed to the world. And for so long I had wondered what went wrong. I considered the fact that maybe it was simply destined to be. That I was created and sent here in order to prove that humans are naturally evil. To prove that, no matter what preventive actions one takes, it is impossible to permanently conceal innate destruction with artificial goodness. It strikes me, however, the fact that although all humans possess such destructive power, if everybody had the ideal of hiding that darkness, what could have triggered the corruption to spread? In an idealistic world, indeed everybody would be working towards nurturing their goodness in order to conceal their darkness. However, it appears that there is always someone who only sees the bad in others. Looks at others as tools to which they could use to climb to a higher extent, to get what they want. But who would be so malicious as to want to watch the world burn? Well knowing that even the smallest spark could incite the fire within others, who could be so corrupt as to allow the world to plunge into darkness. The answer, of course, is ourselves.

Although we can try to conceal our destructive nature with nurtured goodness, our nature will never fail us. Small portions of our evil are always being displayed, as a flaw. But our acknowledgement of these flaws is what may rouse the inner destruction. Rather than embracing it as part of our personality, we do everything in our power to remove this flaw, and in that moment, we procure other flaws to hide the original. Such is what happened to Dorian. His flaw being his lack of a strong sense of identity, Dorian found a part of his satisfaction in himself in the words of Lord Henry. He believed that Henry provided him with a method to conceal his flaw by imposing an identity upon Dorian. And as Dorian was adapting to this identity, he was unable to continue nurturing his goodness that was preventing his darkness from becoming rampant. And thus, as Dorian wasted more time on pursuing an ideal set by another individual, his internal nature was slowly released, and portrayed through his portrait. Dorian had resigned his goodness, in an attempt to remove his flaws. In effect, Dorian allowed himself to be corrupted.

As humans, due to our destructive nature, it is far too simple for us to corrupt ourselves. Over the years, I have found that the only way to counter corruption, which is formed from the lack of love within oneself, is to embrace one’s qualities for how they are given.

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8 thoughts on “The Corruption Within Us

  1. Dear Muhammed,

    In class, we are often encouraged to take a prompt and try to explore, not necessarily its superficial meaning, but to delve deeper into its other layers. I feel like this is something you did well–the idea that, in our attempts to conceal our flaws, we may, on the contrary, ” procure other flaws to hide the original.” LOVE this, especially when pertaining back to the idea of Dorian’s not having an identity. I’d never thought of it like that before, so thank you for opening my eyes to another dimension of the novel as a whole and Dorian’s character as well.

    I would just be mindful of your structure and the development of your ideas. I felt like the transitions themselves were a little bit choppy.I felt there were times when you kind of bounced back from idea to the next without any logical explanation or order. EG: ” Although this nature can be concealed with a goodness through nurture, acts of corruption from others can trigger the nature within to reveal its evil. ” Here, to solidify your idea, I would suggest elaborating on the idea of goodness and its development from nurture, to make it seem less abrupt in relation to the thoughts you had previously established. Also, since I assume you meant to write this piece using a formal voice, just a reminder that whenever you are using “one”, you need to use “one-self” instead of “their”. But that’s just a little nit-picky thing.

    Also, I liked how you tried on the CPU (that is what it’s called, right….?) style of writing, sinfe you had also connected the theme of the piece back to your own life. This is really random but I particularly enjoyed the sentence “Throughout my life, I have been shrouded by goodness and kindhearted people.” Nice diction choice in terms of the word “shrouded” as if the goodness and kindness of other people is something that you wear, opposed to something you just acknowledge. I would just offer that you add more details about yourself and your own life within this piece. If you are doing something like a CPU, you need to put a greater emphasis on your own experiences. Other than that, It was a delight to read this, especially because I haven’t gotten the pleasure of reading your writing before, I don’t think.

    Lots of love,

    1. Dear Jade,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It really means a lot to me, as you’re definitely among the people I am only able to look up to. I really appreciate the grows that you have given me, I will definitely implement them into my writing. Being in your family group has been more than a pleasure. I learn from you constantly, and am grateful to have you in my group. I love the way you think, as it is a way which I have never thought before. As well, I find it easy to open up with you in the group – you make me feel much more comfortable about myself. Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment. I hope to read more of your writing and learn more from you in the future!


  2. Dear Muhammad,

    I would like to start of by telling you what a pleasure it has been to be a part of your family group for this last little while! It has been great to get to know you better, and I hope to see more of your work as the year goes on.

    Overall, I really loved your piece because it did justice to Basil. The first time I read the novel, he was the only character I liked on a moral level; even though he is no saint, he is just such a decent person in comparison the Lord Henry that it is hard not to pity him. Yet I have always wondered if his innocence ever shifted into ignorance – you talk about human flaws in your piece, and I think Basil’s was the ability to perceive goodness where he wanted to see it, with Dorian being the one to bring out this flaw. Reading your blog really helped me to synthesize these thoughts, so thank you.

    The point I am trying to make is that this is a very thought provoking piece, which is reinforced by the use of questions throughout. I also really liked the imagery you created in the second paragraph about fire and darkness (yes, I love fire imagery to an almost obsessive extent).

    As for ‘grows’, I would suggest diversifying some of your syntax. Several of your sentences are broken by commas; perhaps consider trading in some of them for a well-placed semicolon or a dash. Reordering some sentences may also help the piece flow more. But that is just my two cents on the matter.

    I have a question about the last paragraph of your blog: you say that an individual should embrace their qualities as they are given – do you think, if Dorian had embraced all of his individual qualities without succumbing to influence, that his ending would have been significantly different? I would like to hear your thoughts on this!

    I would like to end this by telling you how in awe I am of your writing and thinking skills. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn from you!


  3. Dear Tarannum,

    The pleasure is mine, as being in a family group with you has given me so many lessons and ideas on both my writing and myself. I deeply appreciate that you took the time to put thought into your comment for me, and I will definitely heed your suggestions and tweak my writing (hopefully for the better). As for doing justice for Basil, I still feel as though there is something I left out for our poor Basil. Not sure what it is, but I am going to look further into him. And perhaps the fire imagery is appealing to you due to its color of red? I do believe that is a color which sparks some interest in you (pun intended). And my answer to your question, currently, is yes. I wholeheartedly believe that Dorian would not have succumbed to Lord Henry’s influence had he maintained a stronger sense of identity. I actually have a lot to say about this, so if you want, we can discuss in class sometime. I too want to hear your opinion on this matter. And I can guarantee you that I do a lot more thinking than I do writing. I think you know that by now, by the number of times I have had to ask you to borrow a pencil. And I learn from you every single day – the least I could do is try and give something back?

    Thanks for reading my blog!

    I look forward to reading your work in the future!


  4. Dead Muhammad,

    I agree with Tarannum; it has been such a privilege to be a part of your family group this year. You have a great personality! Earlier, I explained to Tarannum that I like to start off with the grow and end with a glow so the positives part stays with you more readily than the negatives.

    As far as a suggestion, I was a bit confused by these lines in your intro: “Regardless of the efforts one may put into hiding their evil, radiance of this destruction disguises itself as a human flaw. A flaw which an individual would perceive themselves to possess, which causes the individual to degrade themselves, thus corrupting the wall of goodness made to prevent the evil from being released, in all its destruction.” In the rest of your essay, your arguments are very clear. However, I feel they are muddled in these sentences by some word choices that lack that clarity. The word “radiance” , for example, doesn’t seem to make sense in this context. Your introduction should serve to capture attention and outline your arguments. You certainly captured my attention (cool image btw), but I wasn’t entirely sure of your arguments until the second paragraph. Maybe these lines don’t make sense to me just because I need more sleep, but perhaps consider rewording them. 🙂

    Other than that, I found your essay very thought provoking. I’ve often wondered about the nature of the darkness within each of us and you piece was an excellent consideration of that subject. I certainly agree that we are all born with darkness within us. Your words, “Although we can try to conceal our destructive nature with nurtured goodness, our nature will never fail us.”, really resonate with me. Usually when we think of the phrase “never fail”, we think of it in a positive sense. We imagine something loyal, everlasting, something that will not let us down. In this context, that specific phrase was very well-chosen. It is as if you are saying the evil in us the the one part of us that is truly always dependable, an interesting paradox, as dependability is usually a “good” quality. In addition, I love the way you reason that it is our inability to accept our flaws that unleashes the darkness within us.You synthesized a very interesting concept in a snappy, deft turn of phrase, which I applaud. Brevity is my best friend!

    I truly enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to enjoying more of you outstanding work!


    1. Dear Lauryn,

      Thank you so much for your words! I must say that being in your family group has been both a pleasure as well as an honor. I understand that my poor word choice may make it hard to understand my meaning and arguments, and I will word towards bettering myself in that sense. I also appreciate that took the time to leave such a thoughtful comment after reading my blog! I continue to learn from you regardless of where I am, and I am grateful to you for that. I was, however, appalled by your perspective of seeing me as dead, shown through your introduction as “Dead Muhammad” (I understand it was a typo – I hope). I look forward to other suggestions you may give me as well as reading your own elaborate pieces of work!


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