One’s Surroundings Influencing their Lifestyle
I had my first service learning experience last week where I was a helper/volunteer for the program Acts 4 Youth at the Gilford School off York Road. I was excited but also nervous because I did not know what to expect. I got some insight on what the boys would be like but I wanted to know more. Right when I arrived a student opened the door for me everyone was so welcoming and polite. I wasn’t trying to judge my surroundings but I didn’t think the boys would be so welcoming considering what we hear about the “not so nice” areas around the university. The front desk was also helpful and the principal led us to our designated classroom. There were two classrooms we were going to be working with. One had sixth graders and one seventh and eighth graders. I was put with the older kids, which I liked because I feel like I can connect with them. I know what it is like to be in eighth grade thinking about High School and the different battles one can face socially. The boys introduced themselves as did we and we got right to work. We helped them with their homework first and I was amazed at how smart these boys are. I was helping a student, DeJuan with his math homework and he finished the problem before I could even understand what the problem was asking! I got to connect with the boys and let them see that I am really here to help and allow themto feel comfortable with me. The boys are very goofy at times but I enjoyed seeing them have a little fun. They also have a lesson everyday that talks about responsibility or doing the right thing.
The lesson discussed was about problem solving and apologizing when you make a mistake. Their teacher explained how they have been using the four A’s to go about this subject. First, Accept, you need to accept that you did something wrong. Then, Admit, admit that you did something wrong. Then, Apologize, you need to apologize to the individual that you may have hurt or done something to. Lastly, I can’t remember the last A but it involved God. The boys seem to be religious and religion is tied into their lessons. I enjoyed seeing how they interact with their teacher and knowing that they do know to do the right thing. After this lesson we had dinner where we helped serve the boys and then went out for recess. At recess I was able to just play and have fun with the boys. I was able to see their surroundings and know what they do everyday in life. When it was time to go a lot of them were not waiting for their parents I was so confused. Most of them said they just walk home, which I was a little stunned about. I felt bad getting in my car driving back to Loyola and watching the boys walk home. One boy even said to me “O, you go to Loyola, I want to go there one day”. It really touched my heart and I reassured them keep working hard and they can reach their goals. I loved my service experience. Just like we dealt with conflict and their surroundings at service each of the readings has some kind of conflict or relation to the past where each speaker or author is influenced by their environment.
In “The Cast of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe Montresor tells the story of how he had a conflict with his friend, Fortunato in the past and tricks him into his death. One night at a carnival when Fortunato is drunk he tells him that he has found this pipe, a rare vintage Amontillado, which is an alcoholic drink. He explains how we wants his friends opinion on the Amontillado and leads him to where he said he had this item. Montresor leads him into the cellars of latter’s palazzo, which are dark and moist. He ends up chaining him and buries him alive. Montresor has taken his friends life because of a conflict in the past. It was the day he took revenge on his friend. Even at the end of the story his friend says, “For the love of god Montresor!” Monstresor responds, “Yes, for the love of God!” He is fully aware what he is doing and never backs down he has no emotion to killing his friend but does have emotion linked to their past. Montresor at the end says, “May he rest in peace”. For half a century no one has discovered what Montresor did or did he have any guilt about his actions. He was influenced by his surroundings to commit the murder.
The poem “Ode to American English” by Barbara Hamby explains how the speaker misses America because she is in Europe. The speaker names multiple customs or subjects that are related to the U.S. and how she misses home. An Ode poem is talking about something the speaker is found of which here it is America. The speaker talks about their elegant Oxfordian accents in Europe and how she is longing for the hot dog, hot flash vocab of the U.S. of A. The speaker is yearning for little things from America, materialistic items such as a chili-dog or Cheerios. She does not talk about real customs or the importance of America rather the more materialistic side, which shows how people see life now. The speaker mentions Johnny Cash a celebrity and how she misses him. The speaker also mentions how she yearns for the street talk of America as I mentioned before. The speaker misses America not for the land we live on but for the materialistic ideas our culture has produced.
The poem “Suburban” by John Ciardi introduces a conflict between two neighbors who don’t seem to see eye to eye. Mr. Ciardi has a neighbor who calls him and says that his dog pooped in her garden and she would like him to remove it. He explains that his dog is not even at his house that day. Mr. Ciardi apologizes and disposes of the poop anyways. The opposite occurs then what you think is going to happen since it is not Mr. Ciardi’s dog that caused the problem. It’s ironic that he says it wasn’t his dog but picks it up anyway. It is also ironic because the remains would simply decompose in her garden but she needs it removed. Mr. Ciardi actually took the remains and put it in his lawn where he buried it. The speaker is showing the way of life in suburban areas because the woman is so concerned about her lawn. The surroundings of where they live influence the way the characters act.
My service experience as well as all three readings all explains a certain way of like. Each topic shows how people can be influenced by their surroundings. This is not intentional but only adapted from being human.