Theme of Control Under Own Destiny in Literature

Eli Tanenbaum Ms. Anderson English 3H, Set 4 22 January 2013 Midterm Essay Sometimes the truth has the ability to imprison one’s self; other times it can set one free. Either way, the truth is something that can decide one’s fate. Society often decides what is true and what is false; however, sometimes these truths are indeed a lie. In order to come to the realization that what was once perceived true is actually a lie, one must embark on a trek to discover the genuine truth.

As evidenced by Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, and Billy Collins’ poem “Introduction to Poetry”, it is one’s responsibility to seek his or her own truth and therefore control his or her own destiny. Guy Montag lives in a society where the majority accepts a lie as the truth. Montag and others are taught to believe that books cause harm and desolation to the people around them, and should therefore be banned from society. After his wife Mildred’s attempted suicide, Montag realizes that although people in his society are alive, they are not truly living.

He assumes that in the absence of books, his society has become completely absent of emotion and he yearns to discover why. Through this journey, Montag encounters an old English professor by the name of Faber who explains that it is not books that Montag desires, but the important qualities that they teach instead. He learns that books allow people to obtain information, express emotion, and think freely. After uncovering the truth, Montag then decides that it is his destiny to restore these necessary qualities, and bring life to a seemingly dead society.

The idea of witchcraft has consumed the minds of the people in the town of Salem, and while some decide to fall victim to the mind control of society, others attempt to remain truthful to their moral beliefs. As the accusations of witchcraft escalate, some people in Salem fail to seek the courage that it takes to remain truthful. These people decide to lie and avoid being hanged or imprisoned while the others who decide to tell the truth and become victims of a corrupt society.

John proctor refuses to compromise his moral values and decides to speak the truth and thus deny any witchcraft activity. This decision ultimately determines Proctor’s fate and allows him to die an honest man. Proctor’s discovery that confessing to a perceived truth is of greater consequence than telling the actual truth allows Proctor to die with dignity and honor. Poem’s are unique in the way that there is no one true answer because poems contain ambiguous text that allows different people to take away different meanings.

The truth or the meaning of a poem lies behind one’s individual interpretation and therefore it is each reader’s responsibility to discover it on his or her own rather than simply being told it. Discovering the truth behind a poem can be a painstaking task but it can also be enjoyable. No matter the difficulty of the process, discovering one’s own truth is necessary and fulfilling. By realizing the meaning of a poem, the reader has the ability to take this meaning and apply it to his or her own life and learn the true importance of poetry.

In the end, John Proctor, Guy Montag and all readers of poetry discover that the truth is a valuable entity that requires great responsibility. The truth is something that cannot only benefit oneself, but also the society in which he or she lives in. The truth has the ability to shed knowledge and joy, and should therefore be discovered by everyone. As a result, one should always take part in his or her own journey to discover the truth about the society in which he or she lives in; otherwise, one never knows if they are living a life of lies in which society has proclaimed to be true.

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