Tuesday 2 April 2019


“English Majors!!
Oh that would be so easy!! You can literally write anything you feel like and get marks…….”

Well that's a major statement we, students of English Literature get to hear but we try to defend ourselves with the argument that Literature certainly broadens our vision. It enhances our sensibility and sensitivity. Literature allows us to live in worlds which perhaps cannot exist elsewhere, giving us the opportunity of understanding different roles, different people and their personalities and experiences. Most importantly, literature helps in knowing other people's perspectives.
This being put in simpler terms. Harper Lee penned down as “You never understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” in To Kill a Mockingbird. A southern Gothic novel with its own elements of archetypes and double consciousness, To Kill a Mockingbird puts a strong message through Atticus, not just for his daughter, Scout, but for all of us. Scout is taught to try seeing other people's lives through their eyes. Scout struggles, with varying degrees of success, to put Atticus's advice into practice and to live with sympathy and understanding towards others. She is thus able to comprehend Boo Radley's perspective, who is further more a disturbed character to interpret .

 The quote isn't as simple as it appears to be in saying, when put into practice, it is certainly not easy to be first adopting someone else's shoes and then being comfortable in his skin. Experience certainly is the best teacher. But given, we cannot experience almost everything, what's probably best is a closer look at those situations, placing yourself in those critical moments and learning to believe in your actions.
It's easier to make comments when you are on the other side of picture, when you are at the far end but suddenly the very actions, you previously found stupid and idiotic, totally turn out to be justified when you put on the shoes of the character in the picture. Certainly this must not be mistaken for defending a particular side. It's simply considering things from a broader vision; for what use is our humanity, if we fail to absorb others’ dilemma and complexities. Besides, it is the lack of this experience that we fall prey to victimhood of oppression and negative criticism.
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How humane and beautiful it is when you are able to recognize a person as not a terrifying other, who is at fault but a victim of his own circumstances, when you seem to understand the person's internal conflict and actually know what it feels like to be in his position and then, probably you tend to know the reason behind his actions. This actually, allows us to gain insights into the person's life closely, rather than passing judgments by analyzing just one side of the story. This feeling of empathy and sensitivity towards others is the strongest weapon of humanity. Being sympathetic towards others, respecting their emotions, experiences and most importantly their personal interests and choices, people then begin to register each other with basic humility and kindness instead of challenging their set of decisions and actions; for the real fact that we do not know what a person is going through unless and until we share the experiences by living that catastrophic life.
Also this approach helps us to understand the person's motives and get along with him/her in a better way. Distancing oneself from habitual point of view and glancing inside other person's mind is the trick to reason out his behavioral action. It even serves as a means to predict the person's future actions and what can be expected of them.
It requires courage to try and put on the shoes of others, to try to walk around in their skin. It's difficult but important to listen to other people's voices across all sorts of barriers. However, it's easier said than done. It isn't that complicated, stepping into another person's shoes, imagining how they feel, and actually feeling it. Yet role - playing is a great activity to earn our long lost empathy. So let's play and tell - and feel and listen. That probably is the biggest heroic act when we are successful in seeking and finding the essential humanity of others.

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