‘The rewards of a solitary life’ and ‘Constantly risking absurdity’ speaks of a solitary life led by particular individuals. The article by Mary Sarton discuses benefits of solitary life by asserting the ideas of self reliance and independence. In a similar manner, the poem Constantly Risking Absurdity by Lawrence Ferlinghetti talks of a solitary tight rope walker and stresses on the significance of individualism. The poem narrates that the acrobat is performing to achieve beauty and truth. This shows that he is not performing for others but for himself and again stresses on the importance of independent and self reliant behavior.
The above two literary works concentrate on the importance of individualism in multicultural literature. Literature, language and culture are associated with each other as they all teach pupils the importance of self reliance and independence. Hence, literature does not revolve under the twin polarities of correct and incorrect. It provides pupils an opportunity to disagree and thereby present logical opinions and views. Literature contributes in eliminating certain biases that pupils may have towards other cultures and help them in creating individualistic attitudes and values and also blend in a multicultural world (McElhatten, n.d.). Multicultural literature helps pupils to gain diverse achievement standards and develop their own feelings and attitudes towards individualism (Peskin, 256).
People have diverse views on individualism. The above two articles view a solitary like to know oneself and independence from certain traditional rules and regulations. The authors reflect the positivity of individualism by mentioning that individuals can stay excellently in solitariness and thereby reflect the thinking of neo liberalist creed.
The two literary pieces portray the importance of individualism. This is especially true as the Western society and culture is rapidly moving towards individualism. Scholarly observations have shown that the greater the values of independence and self reliance in individuals the better the quality of their lives (Veenhoven, 158).
Multicultural literature has indeed contributed to the concept of individualism by asserting on the values of autonomy and self reliance. Historical thinkers have written on the importance of gender, autonomy and individualistic attitudes. The fairer sex contributed to actively shape the individualistic ideology (Gagnier, 104). In the western world today, women are no longer dependent on others and have attained equal education and equal rights. They not only function a solitary and individualistic life but also enjoy a life which is not dependent on someone self. Multicultural literature has taught individuals to respect and love one and value the feelings of independence, autonomy and self reliance.
Another important role of individualism in multicultural literature is that it helps pupils of diverse cultures to live in harmony. Most nations have people hailing from ethnic and minority origin and the culture prevailing in the society may be quite different from the culture these students get to see at home. Individualism teaches such individuals to grow up with the ideals of autonomy and self reliance and thereby facilitates them to adjust in a multicultural environment (Greenfield, Suzuki, & Rothstein-Fisch,656). Thus the various literary works on individualism helps individuals in shaping their values, beliefs and attitudes and develop a strong personality. The two literary works are examples of defining individualism and showing that an individual can be self reliant and independent and can live a wonderful life even in solitary existence.
Peskin, J. Constructing meaning when reading poetry: An expert-novice study. Cognition and Instruction, 16. 3 (1998): 235-263. Print.
Gagnier, Regenia. “Individualism from the New Woman to the Genome: Autonomy and Independence”. Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas, 1.1(2003): 103 – 128. Print.
Veenhoven, Ruut. “Quality of life in individualistic society”. Social Indicators Research, 48(1999): 157 – 186. Print.
Greenfield, P. M., Suzuki, L. K. and Rothstein-Fisch, C. “Cultural Pathways through Human Development”. Handbook of Child Psychology. Ed. Damon, William & Lerner, Richard, M. New Jersey: Wiley & Sons, 2006. Print.