Fear - Essay Example

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Name Date Course Section/# Fears According to the piece by Phil Barker, the main determinant for fear within the individual is threat to existing structure, tradition, or the status quo. As a function of this fear, the individual is oftentimes coaxed into a form of action and response that they might otherwise engage in if they did not feel threatened that some core identity was being threatened…
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Download file to see previous pages It is the understanding of this student that the identification by Phil Barker of the main reasons for the establishment and practice of fear within the current model is absolutely correct. One need look no further than the underlying reasons for the upsurge in radical Islamic terrorism, the ethnocentric and racist actions of groups that believe their way of life is challenged, or the ways in which cultural and/or religiously marginalized communities integrate the understanding of fear within their ranks to understand and appreciate the ways in which this helps to define almost each and every aspect of human interaction and identity. In much the same way, Jim Buren, the protagonist of Cather’s My Antonia, represents a litany of fears that serve to provide a profound and directive effect on the way that the character integrates with the world around him. Naturally, the story itself is almost entirely built around Jim’s attraction to Antonia; however, the sub plot that pervades the story is with regards to the manner in which Jim Buren struggles between the representation of what others see that he should be and what he himself wishes to be. This evokes a set of fears in Jim with regards to how others view him and it is one of the main reasons why he chooses to get married prematurely and to a woman that he is not truly in love with. Thinking that the wealth and status that the woman provides will be more useful than true love, Jim races into a wedding of convenience that will ultimately make him a more embittered and less satisfied human being. Ultimately, the choices that Jim makes, up to and including until the very end of the novel are reflective of the fear of censure and criticism that other people may heap upon him. This is due in large part to the fact that Jim is an outsider of the community and has placed a high emphasis on the importance of inclusion as a means of achieving that which he set out to. Ultimately, as with many decisions and questions of right or wrong, the choices that Jim made in life helped to propel him to a relatively high and important position and enrich him materially. This status was the direct and unquestioned result of the fact that his pervasive fear of censure and judgment caused him to place an extremely high level of importance upon acceptance that a fancy job and a well respected career and high paying salary could afford him. However, the end result was that he was spiritually bankrupt as compared to Antonia. As a function of the warped identity that Jim had built for himself, the level of happiness that he was able to enjoy and appreciate in this life was perennially determined based upon the fears of acceptance and judgment that he carried within him from his past. As a means of irony, the same differential that kept Antonia and Jim apart in their youth, their different outlooks and worldviews, continue to provide a very wide gulf between the two in old age. The story itself helps to exemplify the way in which fears can quickly work their way into a person’s life and seek to utterly redefine the way in which they identify themselves and the reality that defines life. As a function of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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