So. I did alright on the critical on the diploma, and here’s a version of that essay, ’cause it’s not bad. Instead of posting it all at once, though, I thought it would be easier for me to post this paragraph-by-paragraph, along with my notes/thoughts as I think of what I want to say for each part (what can I say, it’s been a while…and I’m lazy. And working from scratch.) Skip the gray if you just want the essay.
Prompt: The ways in which satisfaction and regret influence an individual’s course of action (or something like that)
Because I’m writing on Stone Angel, I want to develop the ideas of pride and isolation in relation to the prompt. I always make my thesis/theme statement first, then build the first paragraph around that.
thesis/theme statement: When an individual neglects their sense of regret and pursues pride as the sole method to attain satisfaction, they may pursue a course of action that isolates them from others; because said individual lacks the ability to act on regret, they may be unable to change their actions to build relationships with others, resulting in a failure to reach true satisfaction.
Based on this monstrosity of a sentence, I know I have to make sure I indicate that satisfaction means happiness, that pride can be a way to reach a state of satisfaction, and that regret is also a necessary component to stay “on the right course of action” to achieve happiness in the long term. This will make up the first half of my introduction.
The pursuit of satisfaction – or, happiness – may be thought of as life’s main purpose. Satiating one’s pride may be seen as a means to achieve this need; deriving pleasure and confidence from one’s decisions and achievements can allow one to reach a state of satisfaction. Achieving contentment, however, requires an individual to have a sense of regret as well; without remorse, an individual is incapable of the self-reflection required to acknowledge their personal shortcomings and alter their course of action to improve their circumstances. An individual blinded by ego, therefore, may act in ways that they believe will lead to their satisfaction but actually lead to their unhappiness. This occurs to Hagar Shipley in Margaret Laurence’s The Stone Angel; Hagar’s attempts to maintain her pride – and, by extension, her sense of satisfaction – under circumstances that should inspire regret results in her self-imposed isolation from those around her. Through Hagar’s arc, Laurence demonstrates that when an individual neglects their sense of regret and pursues pride as the sole method to attain satisfaction, they may pursue a course of action that isolates them from others; because said individual lacks the ability to act on regret, they may be unable to change their actions to build relationships with others, resulting in a failure to reach true satisfaction. Hagar’s belief that her pride would lead to her satisfaction ultimately leads to the opposite – she becomes unable to achieve happiness.