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The Wilderness

In: English and Literature

Submitted By sailawaydreamer
Words 609
Pages 3
In the short story “The Wilderness” (2013), Elizabeth Tallent argues that opposition is necessary in our lives. Tallent uses the professors life, the professors and students interactions, life and death to support her argument. The authors purpose is to persuade readers to start looking at their own lives in a different way. Tallent’s audience is educated adults. The English professor decided to analyze the way that she interacted with her students and others at school. The professor begins by looking at her herself inwardly. She begins to realize that during her life she made no risks and continued to in a way play it safe. This scenario is seen when the professor is standing completely still in the middle of a roundabout while her students are riding bicycles around her. While she is wearing clothes that are shades of gray, the students are wearing colorful colors. The oppositions between the students and the way that the teacher lived her life is seen here. The professor is still and does not take any risk unlike her students who are carefree and in motion. The professor realized that she just saw her life pass before her eyes and did not have the time to experience life because she spent her time reading and alone. While looking at herself inwardly she begins to realize that she has not changed at all from the time she was a child to now that she is an adult. While she was looking at her life she also analyzed the way that she interacted with the world. The professor realizes that she had become isolated from the rest of the world not only in school but outside of it. By deciding to read instead of going out and experience life she realizes that in the end it might not have been the right decision. The professors and the students interactions were rare but when they occurred the teacher felt as if her students were not impacted by her class. The professor begins to doubt that her teaching career because the students aren’t interested in reading instead they are focused on the machines that are on their hands. However, there were other students who enjoyed reading. Those were the students that she felt that she was able to connect with. To the professor those few students who enjoy reading is worth it because she made it happen. During this time, some of the students that would read began to question her whether their love for reading would go away. Not only does the professor want to know that she made the right decision by choosing to be a reader but the students also want to know if they are too. Thats a question that she is not able to answer. Since she did not have a close relationship with any of the students she also begins to doubt that they will remember who she was. During her alone time the professor began to analyze life and death and what it meant to her. As a young child she had not been told of death until she saw a mummy in a museum. This was the first time she realized that death was inevitable. Now that she had become aware that she was going to eventually die, she began to look at her life and how she lived it. The professor is having different thoughts on the way she wants to be remembered as and what will be her final resting place.
Tallent claims that the oppositions in our lives are necessary in order to know that the decisions that we have made where the correct decision.

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