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Monday, April 30, 2007

Reading and reading

How do people process passages they read? When a group of students read one short story, for example, will they come to the same conclusion?

When I was pursuing my study at American Studies Graduate Program, there were 27 students in my batch, they were divided into two interests, 13 majored in American Literature and Culture, while the rest, 14 majored in American Society and Culture. I majored in Literature because it supported my main interest, and my job as well.

After four semesters passed, I started to recognize my different way of thinking and viewing life. Julie, my best friend saw it very clearly too. I saw her change too, though not as radically as I did. Perhaps I changed very contradictorily—from a religious and conventional Nana to be a secular and feminist Nana.

“Why should you change? Why don’t you just stay the same? Do your classmates also change?” Angie’s dad once asked me.

“Nana changed to be non-believer because of her study. She also changed to be a weird creature with her perspective in viewing life.” My workmates whispered behind me.

I recognized that many of my classmates didn’t show any contradictory change, especially in viewing this life. I even didn’t understand why the readings during our study didn’t change their way of life, at least to view the arrogance of the majority to the minority as something not wise.

What changed me? What made them stay the same?

The most important, in my opinion, is our experience in life. What happened to us in the past inevitably has shaped us to be like who we are now. My classmates and I obviously have had different experience, undergone different series episodes in our life with its ups and downs. Besides, different knowledge we stored in our brain could be different too. This made us use different perspective to dissect one case, and as a result we would come to different conclusion.

And there is one important thing not to forget : natural law says that everything changes.

Maybe my classmates also changed, in their respective way.

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