The Cost of Perception

Have you ever had an idea of something and find out you’re totally wrong? Sigh* Loads of times…

I’ve got to say, our perceptions can be quite erroneous.

This week we were asked to watch a video on the Wealth Distribution of America. It was actually really interesting. I enjoyed how they structured their video and used different bar graphs to strengthen the statistics. Although I wasn’t very off (for once:D), I still hadn’t realized how skewed the distribution would be.

Of course, we must compare this view on the perceptions in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Steinback’s “The Grapes of Wrath. ” Both describe the corruptions of the upper class, seemingly unaware and unconcerned for the needs of the poor. After this video, I can kind of see why the upper class is portrayed negatively in these works. For starters, the top 1% of American wealth is in the hands of a very few number of people and the top few often do not work proportionally as much as the middle class or lower class and yet they still earn much more.

This video implements much logos as seen in the bar graphs and much use of statistics. Pathos is also present as the speaker tends to emphasis the hardships of the poor and the fact that the number of wealthy is so little compared to the rest.

The Hollow Gatz

Whoa.

How I often feel after reading a poignant piece of poetry/literature… that I may or may not understand (I think I got this one though for the most part:D).

T. S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” is a slightly cryptic but beautifully written poem which is surprisingly consistent with the ideas expressed in Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” They both share a somewhat dark and despairing tone (although Eliot is slightly more direct) and similar views on society.

The piece of imagery that most stood out to me, I’ve got to say, was at the beginning…

    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats’ feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar

Eliot illustrates his views on the upper class. “We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men,” the avarice upper class is not what it may seem to be. The upper class often seems extravagant while in reality their “headpiece [is] filled with straw.” They are not as full in value as they are stereotypically portrayed as. All that they do is described as “dry,” which underscores their lack of true meaning.

These views are similar to those expressed in Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” The rich are described as nonchalant, selfish, and unprincipled. Their actions are disgraceful (as seen at Gatsby’s parties) and they show no true care in the lives of others.

Personally, I don’t think that Fitzgerald and Eliot were condemning all the motives of the upper class, but were merely striving to reveal the obscure aspects of the affluent that can be undermined by the glitz and glamor of their lives.

Because if we (anyone, whatever status in society they may reside in) live a life that parallels those of the “upper class” we may fail to realize that…

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.