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dkulesh

Member
this is a personal narrative/ cultural analysis paper for a freshmen in college. any feedback will be appreciated, thanks in advance
 

dkulesh

Member
David Kulesh
Chapter 1
Final Draft (page 65)
9/20/04
Pride and Prejudice
When we were freshmen in high school, my family took a vacation with my friend Josh’s family to the Carribean on a cruse ship. Every night of our cruse Josh and I would walk down to the ship’s main dining room where we invariably found Peto, our designated Hungarian server, ready and willing to tend to our every whim. His friendly disposition and exceptional command of the English language, as a secondary tongue, made us feel at home. Peto wasted no time demonstrating his faculty to serve, as evidenced by his masterful recitation of our desired beverages, salad dressings, and condiments on the second night. However, by the third night, for reasons unbeknownst to us, Peto’s congenial demeanor had fleeted, while a facade of indifference materialized in its stead. By our fifth and final dinner with Peto, his concealed resentment had developed into a subtle reproach to which we refused to be subjected.
Towards the end of the dinner, in an increasingly irregular occurrence, Peto had come to check on us at the table. We told him that we were ready for desert and he reacted accordingly. I decided to have the chocolate Sunday, while Josh elected to regally sample the entire desert menu. “All of them?” Peto inquired with an air of sardonic incredulity. “Yes,”Josh replied curtly. Peto bristled with indignation as he wrote down the order. I guess the request could be construed as less than provident, particularly when considering Josh’s second entree of the sitting, which sat virtually untouched at the edge of the table. The filet mignon remained on the table well after Peto had been signaled to remove it, and he ostensibly neglected to retrieve it yet again after taking our desert order. But after minutes of speculation, we concluded that the entree was deliberately left in, what Peto imagined to be, a vindictive conspicuity. Thus, he intended to punish Josh by forcing him to remain in the presence of his squander for the duration of the dinner. Despite the fact that this display of passive-aggressive reproval elicited greater feelings of amusement than anger, we ultimately considered the gesture to be insulting. We flagged Peto down as soon as he emerged from the kitchen. “I’m finished with my filet, Peto,” Josh uttered indignantly. “I was not aware you had finished,” Peto replied with a blatant insincerity that validated our previous assumptions. Through many similar displays, Peto was able to convey the anger that he was not at liberty to explicitly project. We quickly realized that Hungarian culture had probably lead Peto to believe that wasting considerable amounts of food was a deplorable and immoral act. But even so, he was in no position to even intimate this to us. We regarded Peto as nothing more than someone who waited on us.
When the spectacle of deserts arrived, I glanced at my watch. “Dammit, it’s five till,” I announced urgently. “We are going to miss the show.” We would not allow ourselves to miss a Broadway style show replete with scantily clad dancers. Thus, we had no time for Peto and his ten desserts. After Josh took his first bite he was sternly scolded. “Dude, we don’t have time!” I implored. We stood up and fled the restaurant, leaving behind us a wake of exorbitance. Just as we left our seats, Peto emerged from the kitchen and spotted us leaving. “Didn’t like the deserts,” Peto barked in horror. “Yeah, we don’t want it,” replied Josh. “So wasteful,” Peto boldly reproached. We headed for the door under a barrage of excoriating glares. “I bet we wasted more food in a single sitting then Peto’s family eats in a week,” Josh whispered to me with wanton pleasure. He continued to glower at us until we reached the exit, where we glanced back at Peto one last time and saw him uttering a few choice words under his breath. I took umbrage to this, and as we walked out I openly expressed my anger. “Screw Peto, the audacity of that [guy]!” “He doesn’t deserve to serve us,” Josh chimed in. “ If he treats us like that again we’ll have to buy him and throw him overboard,” I concluded. “He is just a waiter, who is he to take exception to how much food we order? Does a lawnmower tell you that you are cutting too much grass?” Josh added rhetorically. “That is a good point,” I agreed. This rant continued for several minutes. Prejudice and sheer ignorance had determined my thoughts and actions of those dinners. I was losing the battle within myself to come to this realization.
As early as the age of eleven, I can recall instances in which I entertained similar notions of superiority. It seemed that the vast majority of which stemmed from a cocksure sense of my own economic status. I vividly remember an argument that arose from a questionable call in a two on two game of basketball on which a couple of my friends and I had bet. I began arguing with my friend, whose financial situation was relatively humble, that was visiting from Tucson. During the coarse of the argument, I took it upon myself to allude that he was so enticed with the prospect of winning five dollars that he could not possibly consider the foul in question impartially. An ugly scene encompassing verbal and mild physical assaults duly ensued. Until recently, the origins of such seemingly snobbish and irrational thoughts has confounded me. I can assert with relative certainty that such sentiments were not derived from the influence of my parents. In fact, the genuine impetus of these thoughts alluded me until considerations were made from a cultural perspective.
I have realized that I did not treat Peto like I did because I thought he was beneath me socially, but merely because we are very different. Nationalism, racism, religious fanaticism, snobbery, and prejudice as a whole, have essentially the same origin. It is simply that people care about and associate themselves with people to whom they can relate. To that end, it is the competitive nature of man which leads us to consider ourselves and the people whom we identify ourselves with to be superior to others. For example, we declare America the greatest country on earth not from the results of some comprehensive study, but merely because we are Americans. The thought that some objective means by which we could evaluate every nation in the world even exists is arrantly ridiculous, but this does not stop us from making such bold and unfounded assertions. We consider ourselves superior simply because we are American. These sentiments are apparent in all aspects of society. Likewise, the unconditional devotion that we show to our beloved Sun Devil teams does not result from them exercising the best sportsmanship, or giving the most effort, or even being the best athletes, but because we attend the same school and they represent us. We can relate to them, so when they excel, we derive a vicarious sense of accomplishment and bask in their successes. As a result of this blind support we often think irrationally and with an extreme bias. In the eyes of an A.S.U. student, in any sporting event, the perpetrator of a scuffle between a Wildcat and a Sun Devil will undoubtedly be perceived as the Wildcat, regardless of the circumstances.
Situations become dangerous when this same ideological myopia extends to areas of greater importance. For instance, in a life and death situation, such as war, billions of dollars and countless lives can be lost when a government has carte blanche to whimsically engage in any desired military action as a result of such unconditional support from the general population. Many people adhere to beliefs on this subject even when the facts blatantly contradict them. These feelings are prevalent even in the aspects of life in which they seem most irrational, such as race and religion. Not surprisingly, the harboring of zealous and intolerant beliefs in these areas has lead to some of the most ruthless atrocities in recorded history. The holocaust is surely the most egregious and extreme example, but it does not elicit the most chagrin when contemplating the future of mankind. The seemingly interminable conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians earns this wretched distinction. I recently watched a documentary regarding the conflict that focused on Palestinian children. The inveterate hatred they exhibited towards Jews was mind-numbing. It is difficult to watch a four year old Palestinian girl recite a scathing Jewish denouncement. I watched in awe as she struggled through it, obviously unable to derive any meaning from the vitriolic rhetoric. In a few years, however, she will understand it completely and her force-feed hatred for Jews will have become indelible.
My harrowing conclusion is this: There must be some psychological flaw existing inside all of us that enables us to entertain such insane delusions of superiority, whether they are felt by an individual, or towards a country, a religion, or whatever. Little hope exists for the human race until we are able to see these troglodytic half-thoughts for what they truly are, an intellectual burden of condescension at best, and the potential root of an apocalyptic nuclear war at worst. Returning to the situation with Peto, I can see from an objective standpoint how incredibly ignorant and irrational my thoughts and actions were, but I do not claim immunity from an intellectual disease that continues to plague virtually all of mankind. I attribute the progress that I have made, however, to undertaking a conscious effort to question every belief I hold along with the reasoning behind it.
 

moonty

Senior Member
Very well written. I found the anecdote very revealing of the common attitude amongst the citizens of many countries. I found myself sympathizing with Peto more and more as the story went on. Being that it is over a month after you posted this, how did you score? I'm interested to know. Great work.
 

dkulesh

Member
thanks for the reply, moonty: i was one of only 6 students in my freshman advanced composition class to recieve an A. i appreciate the comments- david
 
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