Wilfrid Sheed, an American novelist who is crippled by polio, once discussed this distinction in a Newsweek essay. He is sick and tired, he wrote, of being praised for his "courage," when he did not choose to contract polio and has little choice but to deal with his handicaps as well as he can. True courage, he suggests, requires a degree of choice. Yet the whole structure of The Elephant Man is based on a life that is said tobe courageous, not because of the hero's achievements, but simply because of the bad trick played on him by fate. In the film and the play (which are similar in many details), John Merrick learns to move in society, to have ladies in to tea, to attend the theater, and to build a scale model of a cathedral. Merrick may have had greater achievements in real life, but the film glosses them over. How, for example, did he learn to speak so well and eloquently? History tells us that the real Merrick's jaw was so misshapen that an operation was necessary just to allow him to talk. In the film, however, after a few snuffles to warm up, he quotes the Twenty-Third Psalm and Romeo and Juliet. This is pure sentimentalism.
The essay describes the experience of the English narrator, possibly Orwell himself, called upon to shoot an while working as a police officer in . Because the locals expect him to do the job, he does so against his better judgment, his anguish increased by the elephant's slow and painful death. The story is regarded as a metaphor for British imperialism, and for Orwell's view that "when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys."
f the core elements of life, sensation, and emotion are so widely distributed as to encompass a huge swath of the animal kingdom, what the moral difference between a species with higher capabilities and one without? In his thoughtful 1985 essay “,” the philosopher of biology Hans Jonas takes up three activities attributed solely to humans and explores their deeper implications. As it happens, given what we know today, elephants arguably meet all three tests. Jonas’s standard is worth revisiting in this light — not to diminish its significance for , but to consider what it means for the one other animal, at least, that might share it.
The Elephant Man Expository Essay (Who was the Elephant Man?) The essay is no more than two pages in length. The final draft is in ink unless it is computer-printed. The essay consists of at least five paragraphs: Introduction Body paragraph #1 (Joseph Merrickâs life before the side show)
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