The Choices We Make Essay Research Paper

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The Choices We Make Essay, Research Paper THE CHOICES WE MAKE Tabula rassa, a Latin fraise that literally means cleans slate, is often discussed in schools of psychology during debates over whether or not a person is born good or evil. Some believe that we are born good, and from day one we choose how our life is to be dictated. Others will tell you that we are an evil species and are not capable of a life without sin. A third school of thought is a shared idea that we are born with an unbiased disposition or a “clean slate” and we are affected by the world around us. My belief is much the same; I believe that the choices we make dictate the lives we lead; yet the lives we lead dictate our choices. Our environment and the choices we make coexist, they feed off of each

other yet neither is totally controlled by the other. The story of the poor Frenchman, Claude Gueux, written by Victor Hugo, tells the life altering decisions that this man was forced to make. From the beginning to the end, it follows him as his criminal acts thicken and become more volatile. This however is not the story of a common criminal in modern day America; this tale tells of a man in the time of the French depression and had no option other than resorting to a life of crime. It dictates what happens when society plays too much of a part in a persons’ life. Some of the time this is good, but all too often it is disastrous and leads to the demise of a person. When we are born there is an opportunity for us to choose a path, a path in which dictates our life. While this

path may not make our decisions for us it will affect us because we are confined to act within its boundaries. This path will sometimes cross another allowing us to choose between the two, but other than these crossings there is little chance for us to deviate from our chosen direction of our life. I believe that we can choose to walk on the left or right side; walk fast or slow; but we may not choose the direction or terrain. Much like life, we often make choices, but these choices are made within a specific set of parameters. If a man was walking on a trail in the woods and he was faced with a sharp drop off, he could choose what side to go down, to wait at the top, or to jump; he could not, however make the decision of how the path continues. He only has the choice of how he

is going to react to the adversity, and his reaction is going to dictate the rest of his life. Gueux, much like the man at the edge of the cliff, had the decision on what his actions were when faced with adversity. Gueux was a man that was responsible for the care and well being of his family and he was having trouble finding work to support his family. With these barriers in his way Gueux made the choice to resort to a life of crime in order to support his family. The crime was not severe or damaging to any other human, but it was wrong nonetheless and he was caught and punished accordingly. Gueux was not forced by his environment to make the decision to steal, but he had few, if any, alternative choices that would feed his family. He made the decision to take the piece of bread

and the coal; he however made this decision with a clear and conscious mind. This situation is commonly argued among psychologists who share opposite views; one believing that man makes his own decisions, and the other believing that people are molded by society. Who is right? Both are, no man is ever drawn into making a decision by outside forces, yet these forces can make an influence on the decision. As the path that Gueux travels upon gets more coarse, he is faced with more difficult and life altering choices. After he is incarcerated for larceny, he had to make due with his surroundings and make choices that would allow him to survive in the prison. Eventually he finds a man that befriends him; Gueux was able to make his life a little more placid with his companion. These