Q2: Self and Changing World

Throughout history, mankind has had to adapt, however, in many cases adaption is not in the best interest of the world, or the individuals in it. Imagine how detrimental adaption would have been to society, if great minds like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X ‘adapted’ to the laws imposed against African-Americans during the civil rights, or if society adapted to the wrath of Adolf Hitler and did not express the draconian living conditions for Jews during the Holocaust. Moreover, determining when to adapt and when to change, becomes gray, as neither action ever, is totally appropriate. So, the question becomes, is there a general way to decide which is appropriate, or should the decision be on an individual basis?

Looking back in retrospect, all of the means that activists took to get to the end that many refer to as ‘equality’ are justifiable. However, at the time, adaption would have been the easier way out. The easier way out was not up for consideration. The same thing applies for the characters in The Yellow Birds. Throughout the novel, author Kevin Powers tells a story about soldiers in war. It shows the emotions of soldiers, and the way they adapt and change.

In the novel, Bartle states, “And then I was there, simply and without qualification. I sat with my cheeks in my hands out by the smoking area, distracting myself…” Page 108.  Bartle is adapting to the world around him. He has allowed for external forces to compromise his well being, in many cases, this may appear to be inevitable, however, this is still a choice, a choice that he is making that could be systemic.

This quote then corroborated by another, in a darker context. The narrator states, "I feel like I'm being eaten from the inside out and I can't tell anyone what's going on..." Page 154. The context in which this quote was used was figurative; Bartle was  the things he experienced when in the war zone, specifically the death of his colleague Sterling. This is just an example of someone in between a rock and a hard place. after the observation of one's state is made, one must choose whether they want to change or to adapt.

Powers furthers, in an interview he states,  "As human beings, we have the blessing and the curse that we're able to adapt to almost anything" This shows that adapting is not always best, sometimes you may have to roll with the punches, however, sometimes, you have to roll with the punches. But in any cases you have to contribute to change. However, the more appropriate choice of the two actions depends on the specific situation. 

In conclusion, it is up to the person to decide if they want to adapt or change. One may simply do both, however, within the things that truly matter, it is strictly black and white. One can roll with the punches, or one can give out the punches.


“What do you want"

“What the hell do I want” I thought pondering about my future high school career. “Nashay, what do you want out of life?” Ms. Crandall asked. I responded as only I could “To go shopping.” She stared briefly, and chuckled. She asked again “Nashay, really, what do you want?” I responded seriously this time, “All I want, is to be happy and successful at whatever I want.”  I had never really wanted to much for myself, I just felt like one could never want too much, because you can’t put a price on someone or their dreams. But little did I know that the journey getting to those dreams, would be all, so, difficult.

“How do I get there?”

I knew what I wanted, however, I was not sure on how I intended on getting there. “I don’t know which school to chose” I told Ms. Crandall. She then handed me the book of high school selections and I flipped through, unenthused” I thought, “There is nothing here for me.” She then directed me to SLA on the admissions booklet. “Is this a charter school” I asked. “I don’t wanna go to a charter school.” “No! This might actually be perfect for you.” I went on the website, and I saw all of these cool projects and awards and I thought “She might actually be right.” Every step after that, was just preparing for the interview because I instantly wrote it as my first choice.