Ms. Bunch / English iii H
April 17, 2017
Independence v. Reliance: Ishmael’s Journey in Distinguishing Balance
Balance. What is balance? In my experience, balance has always been an internal struggle. I have yet to discover what the “perfect balance” entails. Inevitably, if you have spent anytime at St. Margarets, as I am a proud “lifer”, you are bound to have been taught to incorporate balance into your life. Our teachers persistently emphasize that balance is the key to maintaining a “happy and successful life,” yet we are never explicitly told how to achieve this equilibrium of right and wrong. I recall sitting in my sixth grade english class, taught by Mr. Clarke, overwhelmed with the amount work that had just been put on my plate. Assigned to read five chapters of the challenging novel we had just began and a rough draft of our Golden Goblet essay due the next day?!? Craziness! I thought to myself, “How do they expect us to complete all this work in one night?” Well little did I know that this would just be a taste of the assigned workload in high school, but for now, I would like to focus on this seemingly impossible task set in front of eleven-year-old, 4 ft 5 inch, Anneka. Apparently my distress was evident in my face and/or actions, since my mother immediately asked about my well-being as she picked me up after school. Following my complaints about how “I hated schoolwork” or how “The teachers don’t want me to succeed,” she calmed me down and told me that, “As long as you balance the workload out with breaks, breathing, and something that makes you smile - anything is attainable.”
This advice has stuck with me throughout the difficulties in middle school and high school, whether it be about friends, school, or self-image. This struggle with finding the “right balance” is prevalent to all humans, including those in Herman Melville’s, Moby Dick. We meet Ishmael, a young and eager man, whom was orphaned as a child and is desperate for the familial love and connection that acts as the foundation to many more fortunate then he. Already, Ishmael is portrayed to be struggling with the balance of love from others and self-love, a theme which will continue throughout the rest of the novel. This lack of connection or support in his childhood has resulted in Ishmael’s curiosity and craving for any relationship, whether it be positive or negative. Ishmael realizes that he must find the correct ratio of self-dependency and the dependency on others. Though Ishmael may not have to find balance particularly regarding schoolwork or self-image, I can relate to his struggle to find the correct equation of social balance to reach happiness.
Fitting in: A social hurdle that all individuals, especially myself, have had to deal with, whether it was for a short period or an extended amount of time. Unfortunately in my case, I have had a long term relationship with the struggles of fitting in. Buying from all of the stores my pe...