You Are Who You Are
The novel Shane, by Jack Schaefer conveys the theme of “you are who you are” which also reflects upon my fifth session at Heart of Zen meditation. The novel Shane tells the story of a mysterious man’s journey, and his internal struggle with escaping his past and who he truly is. Meditation is also a form of escape from one’s self. In my fifth session at meditation, getting more comfortable and used to the practice, I found it to be a perfect day to escape myself, my inner thoughts, and what the days had in store. Although sometimes it’s more difficult than others, one of the best and most relaxing things of meditation is the chance to live in the moment, and the only importance on the breaths inhaled and exhaled. However no matter when or how one escapes, at the end of the day, you are who you are.
In the beginning of the novel, Shane is a quiet mysterious character who evidently does not want to reveal his past. As he continues to live and become comfortable with the Starrett family he proves to be a genuine, loyal, and safe man. The narrator of the book, Bob, looks up to Shane in awe and looks to him as a figure to look up to, a hero. The more that is revealed about Shane the more the reader sees that Shane is trying to escape his past, wanting to forget it and not return to his old shameful ways when he had to fight and use his gun. However, as the story continues the Starrett family and the town are in danger of Fletcher, a troublesome man who wants to buy the land. At first Shane ignores Fletcher, Chris, and Fletchers men, not wanting to partake in violence, he chooses to be the bigger man and walk away from them. For this, Chris thinks Shane is a coward. However it was not that Shane was afraid of the fight, he was afraid of what he was capable of in the fight. In result, Shane ends up finally fighting Chris, beating him very badly until he is limp.
Although in the first half of the novel Shane seems to be running away from his past and who he truly is, in the second half he returns to his old ways of fighting and gun use. In the second half Shane fights Fletcher and his men because he has learned to love the Starrett family, they are almost a family to him now too. Unlike his sense of shamefulness in the first half he is now prideful and confident, knowing that he must be the one to defeat Fletcher. It is for the Starretts that Shane fights Fletcher, wanting to protect them. In the end, Shane stands up to Fletcher and his men alone and wins the gunfight, with Bob witnessing. After Shane has killed the men, he knows he must leave the Starretts and the town, and leave behind what has happened. In the end, although Shane was running from his past, and who he truly is, it caught up to him. He realized that he is who he is, and that one cannot change his inner self. He tells Bob that a man is what he is and that there’s no breaking the mold.
The novel Shane and my Zen meditation class both reflect upon the theme that everyone is who he is, and that no one can escape their true self. Although Shane was ashamed of his past and who he truly was, it resulted in the loving bond of the Starrett family, and to help save their land. Although people may try to run from their past and who they truly are, as Shane says, “there’s no breaking the mold”. Meditation gives a chance for one to escape their past, surroundings, present, and future. However, their true self will catch up to them, for you are who you are.