Decisions Versus Society
In the poems “Liberty” by Thomas Lynch, “Suburban” by John Ciardi, and the short story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, an idea of the importance of decision-making is evident. In “Liberty”, the speaker chooses to outcast himself in the society in which he lives because he feels more closely connected to a different culture. In “Suburban”, the speaker decides to be polite to his neighbor in order to benefit himself while also fostering a good community. Lastly, in “The Cask of Amontillado”, the narrator goes against what is socially acceptable by committing murder in order to get revenge. Decision-making can be made easier by meditating regularly as it provides one with the opportunity to cleanse the mind and solve internal problems. Thomas Lynch’s “Liberty”, John Ciardi’s “Suburban”, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” and meditation are all centered around the effects that one’s decisions could have on themselves or on society.
In the poem “Liberty” by Thomas Lynch, the speaker has difficulty identifying himself with American culture, and therefore chooses to go against the social norms that are found in the suburbs of America. The speaker is familiar with the American norms and is asked by his ex-wife to conform to them, yet refuses nonetheless. The speaker chooses to outcast himself, as he would rather stick to the Irish traditions to which he is accustomed than to conform to the American suburban way of life.
In “Suburban” by John Ciardi, the speaker is wrongly accused of having his dog go to the bathroom on his neighbor’s lawn. Instinctively, the speaker wants to respond with a snide remark; however, upon further thinking, he realizes that he could benefit from the situation by acquiring a natural fertilizer for his garden. By responding politely, the speaker continues to maintain a good relationship with his neighbor while also improving the health of his garden. However, if the speaker had responded rudely, he would not only create a poor relationship with someone he sees daily, but would also not gain anything for himself. By taking the time to think about what he was going to say, the speaker in “Suburban” benefitted himself and his relationship with his neighbor.
In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”, the narrator craves revenge against his friend to the point where he actually murders his friend. Instead of taking the time to reflect on himself and decide whether or not murder is the right decision, the narrator chooses to plan the death of Fortunato. However, the narrator does not seem worried after he leaves Fortunato to die, he only states that his “heart grew sick – on account of the dampness of the catacombs” (1066). It is clear that the full impact of his decision has not hit him yet. However, if the neighborhood in which the narrator lives ever found out that he killed Fortunato, the narrator would indefinitely become an outcast.
Meditation can help prevent situations like that in “The Cask of Amontillado” and foster situations more like that of “Suburban”. In other words, meditation provides one with the opportunity to self reflect and clear the mind. This allows one to come to a greater understanding of him/herself and deal with internal struggles that may be faced, like the narrator of “The Cask of Amontillado”. Meditation can help one make better decisions once a person is able to better understand him/herself, therefore allowing one to think like the speaker of “Suburban”. In this way, a person will be able to realize what kind of relationship he or she wants to have with surrounding people and make that happen, instead of automatically snapping or becoming an outcast like the speaker of “Liberty”. Meditation provides a mode of self reflection that allows one to learn about the type of relationship he or she wants to have inside of society.