Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cider House Rules: Characters Moral Dilemmas

The Cider House Rules is full of intense moral conflict. Conflict that still is a highly debated issue in society today, abortion. The two main characters Dr. Larch and Homer Wells are constantly struggling with the morals involving abortion.  Dr. Larch, being prochoice, upon seeing all the unwanted children he delivers at his orphanage, try’s to shine the light on the goodness of prochoice. Homer, an orphan himself, makes a home at the orphanage and is almost a son figure to Dr. Larch. After learning a lot about delivering babies and helping at the orphanage Dr. Larch wants to teach him his practice of performing abortion properly.
This causes the ethical debate between the two. Although, Homer finally transforms to see the positives of abortions near the end of the novel. Homer was very uncomfortable with abortions but never thought Dr. Larch was a bad man. Homer’s character completely contradicts my belief that your environment shapes your morals. I was proven wrong by Homer’s feelings towards abortion. Homer believed it is wrong and that every child deserves a chance to live. You can sense that he is uncomfortable about abortion. Being raised in this environment where abortions are daily occurrence you would think Homer wouldn’t be opposed to it. The most powerful side of Homer is shown when he actually performs his first abortion on Rose Rose. He saw that this poor, innocent, tortured girl needed his help. And for the first time he didn’t care what he was doing, he believed it was right. Rose Rose, who was sexually abused by her father, was impregnated with her fathers child. This gruesome situation led Homer to become a strong moral person. He realized that bringing that child into the world would be remorseful and strange. As bad as abortion is portrayed some women need an escape. Homer realizes that is wasn’t about the ethical issue, it was really about helping someone in need, and he had the skill to do that.
When Homer is away at the orchard going about his business and he makes a call to the orphanage to talk to Larch he is informed he is dead. This devastates him. “He knew what Larch would have told him: that his happiness was not the point or that it wasn’t as important as his usefulness” (Irving 576). I believe this sentence perfectly describes Larch’s moral compass. Larch wasn’t concerned with the acceptance of society but what he could do for people with his skills. “Wilbur Larch would have told him there was no such thing as playing a little God: when you were willing to play God-at all- you played a lot”(Irving 582). This is insightful line describes how Dr. Larch lived. He knew he has the ultimate power and he has the skill to help these woman, and he did. He played God, good or bad. He had the power and used it to help. “After the first one, thought Homer Wells, this might get easier. Because he knew now that he couldn’t play God in the worst sense: if he could operate on Rose Rose, how could he refuse to help a stranger? How could he refuse anyone? Only a god makes that kind of decision. I’ll just give them what they want, he thought. An orphan or an abortion” (Irving 583).  Homer now suddenly evolves in Larchs mind set. He realizes what impact he can have on women and he simply does his job. John Irving does a brillant job showing how these characters deal with morality by testing them in some of the toughest of situations.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

So many direction: Following my moral compass

      The difficulty I encountered in creating a moral compass for myself, baffled me. I don’t know if it’s because I truly don’t know what’s most important to me or I simply couldn’t decided. Morality and importance in life stumps me. Instead of spending hours searching for my true guiding powers that are were hiding in my heart. I simply listed whatever came to my head when I thought of living the most fulfilling life I possibly could.What I came up with was love, kindness, thankfulness, and courage. These sound so cliché and simple, but its what I choose to fill my life with. Being in control of my moral compass is a large responsibility. I have learned that if I stay on my path I succeed and if I rome away, I face concequences. Navigating my way through life I’ve chose to just take it in as I go. I have transitioned directions many times, because i realized my compass was malfunctioning.

            Love is such a powerful word and i belive is undefinable. However Love is defined as this: “Love noun, verb, loved, lov·ing. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection".Love is the root of happiness.  Love guides me in many ways, because I am loved and I love others in my life tremendously. These feelings allow me to live a life of happiness knowing that love exists. Like we said in our video “You have to give love to receive it”. The feeling of love within a family or simply two people is so profound and comforting; it leads you through life almost fearless. I believe every positive influence or experience in our life makes us a better person as a whole. And with love being so positive it gives us that motivation to succeed and be great.

Kindness is so important in guiding my moral compass. We all have intense sensitivity and emotional connection. Conflict, gossip, and disrespect infuriate everyone of us. Kindness is the only remedy. Kindness is easy to give and great to receive. Kindness is so forceful. Kindness can be a cycle. Like in the movie “pay it forward’. I truly believe people who are not kind have reasons they are not. Life issues, dilemmas, and situations can so easily alter our personality. We have to realize it shouldn’t; letting other problems make us hostile to the world is senseless. I’ve learned that opening your heart and letting kindness be bountiful will allow yourself to let go of those issues, rather then bottling them up. Kindness not only makes me happy, but others as well.

Thankfulness is absolutely on my moral compass. Sometimes we are just completely ungrateful, we are all guilty of it. There is an abundance of things I am truly thankful for. We don’t realize how lucky and blessed we are. The transition from childhood to adulthood is full of realizations. You begin to see the weight so many people have been carrying for you and the countless favors and endless support you’ve received. We have basically been the center of attention and everything revolved around us in our child years. That is so profoudn to me. When I look back on my entire life I am so grateful for my every blessing and even more excited to see what is to come.

Courage is one of the most important things, but i confess I barley let it guide me. To be completely honest, it’s on my compass but there are many times I yield to courage. I have never considered myself a courageous, strong, or confident person. I simply know I have to be. Little by little I’m gaining courage. Surprisingly courage will bring you a long way, and it will never go unnoticed. I beleive through the ough times in my life I had no choice but to be courageous, and it wasn’t easy. Courage is a mindset that I put myself in to overcome obstacles. Surprislinly, in the end,weakness will break you more than courage will.

I believe my moral compass is less ambitious and more simple than others.  My main objective is to take life as it comes and just love and live. I am realizing stress and anger never improve the condition of things. My bearings are set and my moral compass has done good guiding me were I think I want to go.  Now i am fully prepared for my next malfunction, and i can confidentley deciede which direction to go.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Morals in society: Decoding Morality

   Morals, good and bad, are far from simple. There is always an, “if”, “and” or “but”. It’s never black and white. What shapes our morals? It would be easy to believe that we have our own morals as a part of the person we are, apart of our internal self. That is simply not true. People are mainly guided, almost forcefully, into morals. Society influences almost every aspect of our life. Morality is undiscoverable.
For example, Jeffery Kluger of Time magazine wrote an Article  on morals. He questions what makes us moral. Kluger remarks about learning right and wrong when you are a child and how everything is broken down into right and wrong. Kluger remarks about the difference of morality and social convention. He explains that if a teacher says do not eat in class, you do not until that rule is lifted. However if a teacher says do not push, and then also dismisses this rule, would the child still have a desire to push another? Most children would say, “No, the teacher shouldn’t say that”. That’s where authority and morals collide. That’s where temporary guidelines and structure collide with the real right and wrong. When dealing with the real right and wrong, then you are dealing with morality. We are told how we should act and feel upon acting a certain way. We are told guilt coexist with wrong doing. The same could be said with cheating. If one cheats and is not caught and inurn receives an excellent grade, they feel great. However, if one cheats and is caught, they immediately feel sorry for what they’ve done. But are they truly upset with themselves or upset with the fact that their plan didn’t succeed? So, if you are not caught, you will feel no guilt. However, when you are caught suddenly your morals kick in? I think not.
      I discovered something very intriguing while discussing with my edcafe group. We read the speech by this leader who was not identified. We read the speech out loud and came to the conclusion that it was about improving society completely, breaking down racial barriers, and becoming more equalized, we thought the speech was empowering and morally correct. This anonymous voice said things like, “our aim has been to educate slaves to be citizens”, “To grant equal rights to those social strata that hitherto were denied such right, and “For the first time in our history, The German people have found the way to higher unity than they ever had before; and that is due to the compelling attraction of this inner feeling”. Unknowing to who was the speaker, we fell for these words. We fell for the simple fact that this was a sugarcoated excuse for an awful thing; we were convinced just like those German people were. The speaker was Hitler. In short, the point is we are not really so complex intellectually, and we virtually know nothing about moral codes. We simply lured into things that sound good. Its that easy.
             Another point about culture influencing our beliefs is how we simply judge others cultures. People are raised in numerous different cultures everywhere around the world, and just because we are raised in America we tend to have different morals then those other cultures. Our minds simply cannot grasp the concept of culture diffrences.Just because things are different, they are ‘weird’ or ‘wrong’ to us. That is just ignorance. Things Americans consider extreme are considerably normal in other nations. We all, in some ways, are guided into our morals by the unsaid rules of our select society. The same can be said for other cultures in comparison to ours. Who made our morals extremely different from other cultures? How do they know something’s wrong if that’s how they were raised, and its normalcy to them? For example, in other cultures or religions it is custom for women to cover their whole body, even their faces. Many are outraged by this custom and call it immoral. However, those cultures could also allege us of being immoral by wearing clothes that reveal too much. Are we really ones to judge or to tell what their freedoms should and should not be? Differences turn into moral claims and that’s were the moral dilemma lies. Since when did anybody gain the authority to accuse others of immorality? We still don’t fully understand the world around us and all the differences and issues, but now as young adults we start putting the pieces together. And that’s why the question of morality is so broad and intimidating to us.  
   As strange as it seems, i belive humans try to be to intellectually complex. Morals do exist in many forms but decoding morality and trying to make sense of it is immpossible. Humans have things such as morals because of our intense senistivity and deep empathy. Its unavoidable how we feel about things.