Self-criticism. I Once Heard Cornel Creative Writing

Length: 4 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Literature Type: Creative Writing Paper: #31791053 Related Topics: Sense And Sensibility, Liberal Arts, Moby Dick, Academia

Excerpt from Creative Writing :

What you do in life, good, bad, otherwise, comes back to haunt you. And the suicide of Robert X is an embodiment of that lesson. In reading about this book, in preparation for this essay, I came across a conversation the author had with John Lowe concerning the tight narrative quality of the book, and I think in commenting about it, Gaines underscores one of the book's major themes:

WP: There's nothing wasted in that book. It's totally honest and almost foreordained from the beginning, from the first page.

Gaines: A great man falls, and what he's going to do when he gets up. He feels that even God had failed him. He could not even please God any more (Lowe 184).

This theme, or question rather, of how does one deal with failure is an important one, on the individual level as well as on the group level. How does one deal with personal failure? How does a team, a group, deal with failure? Does one take the easy way out (i.e. suicide)? Does the group give up its collective goal? These questions are integral to the process of self-examination, and that's what Gaines is asking the reader to consider (among other things, racial tensions, civil rights, the power of God, etc.)

So in briefly looking at these two literary works, one can see how they impact readers individually and as a collective.

With that said, I'd now like to discuss how reading literature specifically aligns with the rubrics set forth by universities and colleges. In short, what do colleges want their students to achieve by reading literature? Well, I am of the opinion that academia, in particular those factions who push for a "liberal arts" education, want students to be exposed to different voices, different styles of expression, different cultures, and one successful way to do this is via literature. For example,...


I've never been whaling, but after reading Moby Dick I might be able to talk intelligently about harpooning and whale oil. So, reading literature satisfies one of the mandates of liberal arts education by exposing students to otherworldly places, characters, and dilemmas.
Another objective in having students read literature is to get them to become better at reading and better at writing. And humanities courses, which ask the students to read copious amounts books and write copious amounts of papers, naturally improve the students capacity to read well and write well.

Stylistically Miller and Gaines do an excellent job rendering real and believable dialogue. In looking at the words they use, the syntax, and the structuring of the paragraphs and scenes, one can get a real sense of the work it takes to create truly authentic characters. And noticing this, in part, helps a student with his own writing. Seeing how others do it, informs one as to the range and complexity of writing, something I'm sure all professors are trying to impart.

Lastly, and relating back to the overall theme of this essay, the idea that self-examination, self-criticism, leads one to a more fulfilling life, reading literature teaches students to do this not only because it exposes students to the unfamiliar, but because it sometimes forces students to consider how familiar the unfamiliar really is. Yes, we are different than Willy Loman and Robert X in some ways, but in other ways, we are the same. We fail in life too, we struggle with our relationships, and we sometimes fight to hide from our past. So reading literature constantly forces us to examine the lives of others, and in that process impels us to examine our own. And if we don't like what we find, we can hopefully plant more seeds.

Works Cited

Gaines, Earnest J. In My Father's House. New York: Vintage, 1992. Print.

Lowe, John. Conversations With Earnest Gaines. Mississippi: University Press, 2008.


Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. New York: Penguin, 1996. Print.

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Gaines, Earnest J. In My Father's House. New York: Vintage, 1992. Print.

Lowe, John. Conversations With Earnest Gaines. Mississippi: University Press, 2008.


Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. New York: Penguin, 1996. Print.

Cite this Document:

"Self-criticism I Once Heard Cornel" (2011, May 09) Retrieved September 22, 2023, from

"Self-criticism I Once Heard Cornel" 09 May 2011. Web.22 September. 2023. <>

"Self-criticism I Once Heard Cornel", 09 May 2011, Accessed.22 September. 2023,

Related Documents
Criticism of Huckleberry Finn by Leo Marx
Words: 1196 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Plays Paper #: 69767331

Leo Marx Critic on Huckleberry Finn The objective of this paper is to provide summary and analysis of the novel titled "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (Twain, 1998 p 1). The author's story contains problematic questions of freedoms, race, and identity. Twain's opening sentence notifies the readers about Huck Finn's personality describing him as a narrator who has an ability to narrate the story in his dialect and language, however, full of

Criticism of Milton
Words: 580 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 66807467

Dante Alighieri "Inferno," -- which is a physical description of hell that is a feast for the senses (Alighieri, 2003), Paradise Lost is also a comprehensive description of the process of creation of the Universe (Milton and Bentley, 1974). In the latter case, however, man is at the center of events. Paradise Lost is about personalities -- God's, Satan's, Sin's, Death's, Jesus Christ (Son), Adam and Eve. The epic

Organizational Theory Criticism of the
Words: 1213 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Economics Paper #: 51853783

Although the general standard is broadly acknowledged, there is a difference about the quality and extent of the teaching. It could be said that some support a decidedly unitary official while others support a feebly unitary official. The previous aggregation contends that Congress' energy to meddle with intra-official choice making is constrained and that the President can control approach making by all official offices inside the cutoff points set for

Analyzing Howard Stern With Social Criticism
Words: 1758 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Sports - Women Paper #: 37655244

Howard Stern with Social Criticism Over the last 50 years, the media has been continually evolving. Part of the reason for this, is because there have been shifting tastes in cultural attitudes. This has caused different kinds of programs to air that embrace these new ideas. Once this occurs, they create a new genre that helps to redefine certain segments of the media. In the case of Howard Stern, he

Social Criticism of "Luces De
Words: 6000 Length: 20 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 76690847

According to Parsons (2003), "Coincident with the growing avant-garde fascination with silent film, cinema was becoming the ultimate embodiment of modern mass culture" (90). The "modern mass culture" that was emerging in Europe at this time was a reactionary one that became known as a bohemian lifestyle that was personified by Valle-Inclan. In this regard, his biographer emphasizes that, "His behavior at the time showed contempt for the rational world

Neo-Aristotelian Criticism in September 2005,
Words: 3423 Length: 9 Pages Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy Paper #: 95221151

Tears of recognition that all of us are on a journey and none of us have arrived at a destination. it's not just me. it's all of us. Tears of relief to know that the path isn't supposed to be straight or easy or even. (Fonda 2005) By evoking the image of a collective of teary-eyed conference-goers, Fonda immediately establishes an emotional connection with the audience, and the effect is