Unit 1 Personality
The Misery of Shyness
Shyness is the cause of much unhappiness for a great many people. All kinds of people describe themselves as shy: short, tall, dull, intelligent, young, old, slim, overweight. Shy people are anxious and self-conscious; that is, they are excessively concerned with their own appearance and actions. Worrisome thoughts are constantly swirling in their minds: What kind of impression am I making? Do they like me? Do I sound stupid? I'm ugly. I'm wearing unattractive clothes.
It is obvious that such uncomfortable feelings must affect people adversely. A person's self-concept is reflected in the way he or she behaves, and the way a person behaves affects other people's reactions. In general, the way people think about themselves has a profound effect on all areas of their lives. For instance, people who have a positive sense of self-worth or high self-esteem usually act with confidence. Because they have self-assurance, they do not need constant praise and encouragement from others to feel good about themselves. Self-confident people participate in life enthusiastically and spontaneously. They are not affected by what others think they "should" do. People with high self-esteem are not hurt by criticism; they do not regard criticism as a personal attack. Instead, they view a criticism as a suggestion for improvement.
In contrast, shy people, having low self-esteem, are likely to be passive and easily influenced by others. They need reassurance that they are doing "the right thing". Shy people are very sensitive to criticism; they feel it confirms their inferiority. They also find it difficult to be pleased by compliments because they believe they are unworthy of praise. A shy person may respond to a compliment with a statement like this one: "You're just saying that to make me feel good. I know it's not true." It is clear that, while self-awareness is a healthy quality, overdoing it is detrimental, or harmful.
Can shyness be completely eliminated, or at least reduced? Fortunately, people can overcome shyness with determined and patient effort in building self-confidence. Since shyness goes hand in hand with lack of self-esteem, it is important for people to accept their weaknesses as well as their strengths. For example, most people would like to be "A" students in every subject. It is not fair for them to label themselves as inferior because they have difficulty in some areas. People's expectations of themselves must be realistic. Dwelling on the impossible leads to a sense of inadequacy, and even feelings of envy, or jealousy. We
are self-destructive when we envy a student who gets better grades.
If you are shy, here are some specific helpful steps toward building self-confidence and overcoming shyness:
1. Recognize your personal strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has both. As self-acceptance grows, shyness naturally diminishes.
2. Set reasonable goals. For example, you may be timid about being with a group of strangers at a party. Don't feel that you must converse with everyone. Concentrate on talking to only one or two people. You will feel more comfortable.
3. Guilt and shame are destructive feelings. Don't waste time and energy on them. Suppose you have hurt someone's feelings. Feeling ashamed accomplishes nothing. Instead, accept the fact that you have made a mistake, and make up your mind to be more sensitive in the future.
4. There are numerous approaches to all issues. Few opinions are completely right or wrong. Don't be afraid to speak up and give your point of view.
5. Do not make negative comments about yourself. This is a form of self-rejection. Avoid describing yourself as stupid, ugly, a failure. Accent the positive.
6. Accept criticism thoughtfully. Do not interpret it as a personal attack. If, for example,
a friend complains about your cooking, accept it as a comment on your cooking, not yourself. Be assured that you are still good friends, but perhaps your cooking could improve.
7. Remember that everyone experiences some failures and disappointments. Profit from them as learning experiences. Very often a disappointment becomes a turning point for a wonderful experience to come along. For instance, you may be rejected by the college of your choice. However, at the college you actually attend, you may find a quality of education beyond what you had expected.
8. Do not associate with people who make you feel inadequate. Try to change their attitude or yours, or remove yourself from that relationship. People who hurt you do not have your best interests at heart.
9. Set aside time to relax, enjoy hobbies, and re-evaluate your goals regularly. Time spent this way helps you learn more about yourself.
10. Practice being in social situations. Don't isolate yourself from people. Try making one acquaintance at a time; eventually you will circulate in large groups with skill and self-assurance.
Each one of us is a unique, valuable individual. We are interesting in our own personal ways. The better we understand ourselves, the easier it becomes to live up to our full potential. Let's not allow shyness to block our chances for a rich and fulfilling life.
Two Ways of Looking at Life
Your attitude strongly reflects your outlook on life. Take a closer look at that connection. Are you a pessimist—or an optimist? Can you see how your way of looking actually does color your attitude? And remember: change your outlook and you change your attitude.
The father is looking down into the crib at his sleeping newborn daughter, just home from the hospital. His heart is overflowing with awe and gratitude for the beauty of her, the perfection.
The baby opens her eyes and stares straight up.
The father calls her name, expecting that she will turn her head and look at him. Her eyes don't move. 4 He picks up a furry little toy attached to the rail of the crib and shakes it, ringing the bell it contains. The baby's eyes don't move.
His heart has begun to beat rapidly. He finds his wife in their bedroom and tells her what just happened. "She doesn't seem to respond to noise at all," he says. "It's as if she can't hear."
"I'm sure she's all right," the wife says, pulling her dressing gown around her. Together they go into the baby's room.
She calls the baby's name, jingles the bell, claps her hands. Then she picks up the baby, who immediately becomes lively and makes happy sounds.
"My God," the father says. "She's deaf."
"No, she's not," the mother says. "I mean, it's too soon to say a thing like that. Look, she's brand-new. Her eyes don't even focus yet."
"But there wasn't the slightest movement, even when you clapped as hard as you could."
The mother takes a book from the shelf. "Let's read what's in the baby book," she says. She looks up "hearing" and reads out loud: "'Don't be alarmed if your newborn fails to be startled by loud noises or fails to turn toward sound. Reactions to sound often take some time to develop. Your pediatrician can test your child's hearing neurologically.
"There," the mother says. "Doesn't that make you feel better?"
"Not much," the father says. "It doesn't even mention the other possibility, that the baby is deaf. And all I know is that my baby doesn't hear a thing. I've got the worst feeling about this. Maybe it's because my grandfather was deaf. If that beautiful baby is deaf and it's my fault, I'll never forgive myself."
"Hey, wait a minute," says the wife. "You're worrying too much. We'll call the pediatrician first thing Monday. In the meantime, cheer up. Here, hold the baby while I fix her blanket. It's all pulled out."
The father takes the baby but gives her back to his wife as soon as he can. All weekend he finds himself unable to prepare for next week's work. He follows his wife around the house, thinking about the baby's hearing and about the way deafness would ruin her life. He imagines only the worst: no hearing, no development of language, his beautiful child cut off from society, locked in a soundless world. By Sunday night he has sunk into despair.
The mother leaves a message with the pediatrician's answering service asking for an early appointment Monday. She spends the weekend doing her exercises, reading, and trying to calm her husband.
The pediatrician's tests are reassuring, but the father's spirits remain low. Not until a week later, when the baby shows her first startle to the loud sound of a passing truck, does he begin to recover and enjoy his new daughter again.
This father and mother have two different ways of looking at the world. Whenever something bad happens to him—a call from the bank manager, a disagreement with his wife, even a frown from his employer—he imagines the worst: bankruptcy, jail, divorce, and dismissal. He is prone to depression; he often feels extremely tired; his health suffers. She, on the other hand, sees bad events in their least threatening light. To her, they are temporary challenges to be overcome. After a reversal, she bounces back quickly, and finds all her energy again. Her health is excellent.
The optimists and the pessimists: I have been studying them for the past twenty-five years. The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault. The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case. The optimists believe defeat is not their fault: circumstances, bad luck, or other people brought it about. Such people are not bothered by defeat. Confronted by a bad situation, they perceive it as a challenge and try harder.
These two habits of thinking about causes have consequences. Literally hundreds of studies show that pessimists give up more easily and get depressed more often. These experiments also show that optimists do much better in school and at work. They regularly exceed the predictions of aptitude tests. When optimists run for office, they are more apt to be elected than pessimists are. Their health is unusually good. Evidence suggests they may even live longer.
Twenty-five years of study has convinced me that if we habitually believe, as does the pessimist, that misfortune is our fault, is enduring, and will undermine everything we do, more of it will happen to us than if we believe otherwise. I am also convinced that if we are in the grip of this view, we will get depressed easily, we will accomplish less than our potential, and we will even get physically sick more often. Pessimistic prophecies are
You Are What You Think
Do you see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty? Do you keep your eye upon the doughnut, not upon the hole? Suddenly these clich és are scientific questions, as researchers scrutinize the power of positive thinking.
A fast-growing body of research—104 studies so far, involving some 15,000 people—is proving that optimism can help you to be happier, healthier and more successful. Pessimism leads, by contrast, to hopelessness, sickness and failure, and is linked to depression, loneliness and painful shyness. "If we could teach people to think more positively," says psychologist Craig A. Anderson of Rice University in Houston, "it would be like inoculating them against these mental ills."
"Your abilities count," explains psychologist Michael F. Scheier of Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, "but the belief that you can succeed affects whether or not you will." In part, that's because optimists and pessimists deal with the same challenges and disappointments in very different ways.
Take, for example, your job. In a major study, psychologist Martin E. P. Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania and colleague Peter Schulman surveyed sales representatives at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. They found that the positive thinkers among long-time representatives sold 37 percent more insurance than did the negative thinkers. Of newly hired representatives, optimists sold 20 percent more.
Impressed, the company hired 100 people who had failed the standard industry test but had scored high on optimism. These people, who might never have been hired, sold 10 percent more insurance than did the average representative.
How did they do it? The secret to an optimist's success, according to Seligman, is in his "explanatory style". When things go wrong the pessimist tends to blame himself. "I'm no good at this," he says. "I always fail." The optimist looks for other explanations. He blames the weather, the phone connection, even the other person. That customer was in a bad mood, he thinks. When things go right, the optimist takes credit while the pessimist thinks success is due to luck.
Negative or positive, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. "If people feel hopeless," says Anderson, "they don't bother to acquire the skills they need to succeed."
A sense of control, according to Anderson, is the real test for success. The optimist feels in control of his own life. If things are going badly, he acts quickly, looking for solutions, forming a new plan of action, and reaching out for advice. The pessimist feels like
a toy of fate and moves slowly. He doesn't seek advice, since he assumes nothing can be done.
Optimists may think they are better than the facts would justify—and sometimes that's what keeps them from getting sick. In a long-term study, researchers examined the health histories of a group of Harvard graduates, all of whom were in the top half of their class and in fine physical condition. Yet some were positive thinkers, and some negative. Twenty years later, there were more middle-age diseases among the pessimists than the optimists.
Many studies suggest that the pessimist's feeling of helplessness undermines the body's natural defenses, the immune system. Dr Christopher Peterson of the University of Michigan has found that the pessimist doesn't take good care of himself. Feeling passive and unable to dodge life's blows, he expects ill health and other misfortunes, no matter what he does. He eats unhealthy food, avoids exercise, ignores the doctor, has another drink.
Most people are a mix of optimism and pessimism, but are inclined in one direction or the other. It is a pattern of thinking learned from early childhood, says Seligman. It grows out of thousands of cautions or encouragements, negative statements or positive ones. Too many "don'ts" and warnings of danger can make a child feel incompetent, fearful—and pessimistic.
As they grow, children experience small triumphs, such as learning to tie shoelaces. Parents can help turn these successes into a sense of control, and that breeds optimism.
Pessimism is a hard habit to break—but it can be done. In a series of studies, Dr Carol Dweck of the University of Illinois has been working with children in the early grades of school. As she helps students to change the explanations for their failures—from "I must be dumb" to "I didn't study hard enough"—their academic performance improves.
So, if you' re a pessimist, there's reason for optimism. You can change. Here's how, says Steve Hollon, a psychologist at Vanderbilt University:
1. Pay careful attention to your thoughts when bad things happen. Write down the first thing that comes to mind, without any changes or corrections.
2. Now try an experiment. Do something that's contrary to any negative reactions. Let's say something has gone wrong at work. Do you think, I hate my job, but I could never get a better one? Act as if that weren't so. Send out r ésum és. Go to interviews. Look into training and check job information.
3. Keep track of what happens. Were your first thoughts right or wrong? "If your thoughts are holding you back, change them," says Hollon. "It's trial and error, no guarantees, but give yourself a chance."
Positive thinking leads to positive action—and reaction. What you expect from the world, the evidence suggests, is what you're likely to get.
Unit 2 Myths and Legends
Why the Tortoise's Shell Is Not Smooth
The distant sound of low voices, broken now and again by singing, reached Okonkwo from his wives' huts as each woman and her children told folk stories. Ekwefi and her daughter, Ezinma, sat on a mat on the floor. It was Ekwefi's turn to tell a story. Suddenly the murmuring stopped and all eyes turned to their favorite and most skillful storyteller.
"Once upon a time," she began, "all the birds were invited to a feast in the sky. They were very happy and began to prepare themselves for the great day. They painted their bodies deep red and drew beautiful patterns on them with dye.
"Tortoise saw all these preparations and soon discovered what it all meant. Nothing that happened in the world of the animals ever escaped his notice; he was full of cunning. As soon as he heard of the great feast in the sky his throat began to itch at the very thought. There was a famine in those days and Tortoise had not eaten a good meal for two moons. His body rattled like a dry stick in his empty shell. Slowly but surely he began to plan how he would go to the sky."
"But he had no wings," said Ezinma.
"Be patient," replied her mother. "That is the story. Tortoise had no wings, but he went to the birds and asked to be allowed to go with them.
"' We know you too well,' said the birds when they had heard him. 'You are full of cunning and you are ungrateful. If we allow you to come with us you will soon begin your mischief. We know you of old.'
"'You do not know me,' said Tortoise. 'I am a changed man. I am not the mischievous man you once knew. On the contrary, I am thoughtful and well-meaning. I have learned that a man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself. Rest assured, I promise I will not cause you any trouble.'
"Tortoise had a sweet tongue, and within a short time all the birds agreed that he was a changed man, and they all gave him a feather, with which he made two splendidly colorful wings.
"At last the great day came and Tortoise was the first to arrive at the meeting place. When all the birds had gathered together, they all set off together. Tortoise was very happy
as he flew among the birds, and he was soon chosen as the man to speak for the party because he was a great orator.
"' There is one important thing which we must not forget,' he said as they flew on their way. 'When people are invited to a great feast like this, they take new names for the occasion. Our hosts in the sky will expect us to honor this age-old custom.
"None of the birds had heard of this custom but they knew that Tortoise, in spite of his failings in other areas, was a widely traveled man who knew the customs of different peoples. And so they each took a new name. When they had all taken a new name, Tortoise also took one. He was to be called All of you.
"At last the party arrived in the sky and their hosts were very happy to see them. Tortoise stood up in his many-colored plumage and thanked them for their invitation. His speech was so eloquent that all the birds were glad they had brought him, and nodded their heads in approval of all he said. Their hosts took him as the king of the birds, especially as he looked somewhat different from the others.
"After a selection of nuts had been presented and eaten, the, people of the sky set before their guests the most delectable dishes Tortoise had ever seen or dreamed of. The soup was brought out hot from the fire and in the very pot in which it had been cooked. It was full, of meat and fish. Tortoise began to sniff aloud. There was pounded yam and also yam soup cooked with palm oil and fresh fish. There were also pots of palm wine. When everything had been set before the guests, one of the people of the sky came forward and tasted a little from each pot. He then invited the birds to eat. But Tortoise jumped to his feet and asked: 'For whom have you prepared this feast?'
"' For all of you,' replied the man.
"Tortoise turned to the birds and said: 'You remember that my name is All of you. The custom here is to serve the spokesman first and the others later. They will serve you when I have eaten.'
"He began to eat and the birds grumbled angrily among themselves. The people of the sky thought it must be their custom to leave all the food for their king. And so Tortoise ate the best part of the food and then drank two pots of palm wine, so that he was full of food and drink and his body grew fat enough to fill out his shell.
"The birds gathered round to eat what was left and to peck at the bones he had thrown on the floor. Some of them were too angry to eat. They chose to fly home on an empty stomach. But before they left each took back the feather he had lent to Tortoise. And there he stood in his hard shell full of food and wine but without any wings to fly home. He asked the birds to take a message for his wife, but they all refused. In the end Parrot, who had felt more angry than the others, suddenly changed his mind and agreed to take the message.
"' Tell my wife,' said Tortoise, 'to bring out all the soft things in my house and cover
the ground with them so that I can jump down from the sky without hurting myself.
"Parrot promised faithfully to deliver the message, and then flew away smiling to himself. However when he reached Tortoise's house he told his wife to bring out all the hard and sharp things in the house. And so Tortoise's wife dutifully brought out her husband's hoes, knives, spears, guns, and even his cannon. Tortoise looked down from the sky and saw his wife bringing things out, but it was too far to see what they were. When all seemed ready he let himself go. He fell and fell and fell until he began to fear that he would never stop falling. And then like the sound of his cannon he crashed to the ground."
"Did he die?" asked Ezinma.
"No," replied Ekwefi. "His shell broke into hundreds of pieces. But there was a great medicine man in the neighborhood. Tortoise's wife sent for him and he gathered all the bits of shell and stuck them together. That is why the Tortoise's shell is not smooth."
Beauty and the Beast
There was once a very rich merchant who had six children, three sons and three daughters. He gave his daughters everything they wanted, but they were very conceited and spoiled, except for the youngest, whom they called Beauty. She was as beautiful as she was sweet, and her two sisters were consumed with jealousy.
One terrible day the merchant learned that he had lost all of his money, and the family was forced to move from their luxurious mansion in town to a small house in the country. The sons immediately helped their father with the outside chores. Poor Beauty, she had never lived without servants. Now she had to get up before sunrise to light the fire and make the food and clean the house. But she soon grew accustomed to it and said, "Crying won't improve the situation. I must try to make myself happy." Her sisters, on the other hand, stayed in bed till noon and were annoyed that Beauty was not as miserable as they were.
A year later, the father received a letter that one of his lost ships had been found and had arrived filled with merchandise for him. Everyone was delighted because they would once again rich. As the merchant left, the two older daughters begged their father to bring them home all sorts of precious jewels and elegant gowns. "And what does my Beauty want?" the father asked. "Oh, I need nothing, but if you could bring me a rose, I would be most appreciative," she said. Of course, Beauty did not need the rose, but she thought she had better ask for something so as not to appear to be criticizing her sisters' greed.
The merchant reached the harbor, but alas, the vessel had sunk, consequently he was still as poor as before. On the way home he got lost in a forest, and it began to snow. "I shall die of the cold or be eaten by wolves and never see my dear children again," he reflected sadly. Suddenly, he saw a huge mansion with all the lights on. He knocked at the door, but no one
answered. He entered only to find a large fire burning in the fireplace and a table set with delicious food. He waited a long time for the owner to appear, but no one came. He was starving, so he finally ate a bit of the food. He then found a bedroom where he fell fast asleep. The next morning he was astonished to find a brand new suit of clothes laid out for him and a fresh breakfast awaiting him. "This must be the castle of some fairies," he thought, and so he said a loud "thank you" and left. He was surprised to see that the snow had disappeared and that there was a lovely garden filled with rosebushes. "I shall take just one rose for my Beauty," he said, but as he cut the rose he heard a loud and terrible voice. He saw an ugly monster who said, "Ungrateful man! I have saved your life and in return you steal my roses. You must die!" But the merchant begged the Beast not to kill him for the sake of his children. The Beast seemed interested when he learned of Beauty and her request for the rose. "Then you must ask her to come here in place of you. You will have three months. Return home, and if she will not come then you must return. However you will not depart empty-handed. Return to your room and you will find a chest of gold," the Beast said. "Well, if I must die, at least I shall not leave my children destitute," thought the father, and he took the chest of gold and returned home.
"Here, Beauty," he said, "take this rose. Little do you know how that rose will cost your unhappy father his life." And he related his adventure with the Beast.
Beauty immediately insisted on returning to the home of the Beast to save her father's life and would hear no arguments. On the day of her departure her sisters rubbed their eyes with onions, pretending to be sad that she was leaving and would probably die.
When the merchant and Beauty arrived at the palace, it was lit exactly as before. The fire was roaring and the table was magnificently set. "Oh, the Beast intends to fatten me before he kills me," thought Beauty. Despite her fears she acted cheerful and brave for her father. Suddenly they heard a horrible noise, and the Beast appeared. "Have you come here willingly?" the Beast asked. "Yes," trembled Beauty. "Good, then say farewell to your father." The grief-stricken merchant was thus forced to leave his daughter and return home. Beauty was sure that the Beast would eat her that night. She was surprised to find "Beauty's Apartment" engraved on a gold plate over the door of her bedroom. The room was full of magnificent furniture and the shelves were lined with all the books that she loved. There was a piano for her to play. Inside one of the books was written,
Welcome Beauty, banish fear,
You are queen and mistress here.
Speak your wishes, speak your will,
Swift obedience meets them still.
"With all this magnificence, I don't suppose the Beast will eat me soon," she said, and felt less afraid.
The next night the Beast came to the dinner table and said, "Beauty, will you let me watch you eat? If my presence bothers you I will leave. Tell me, do you think I am very ugly?" And Beauty said, "Yes," because she could not lie, however she added, "but I think you are very good-natured." They talked, and Beauty started to feel very calm until the Beast said, "Beauty, will you be my wife?" Although she did not want to make the Beast angry, she said, "No." The Beast began to howl and sadly said, "Then, farewell, Beauty," and left the room.
For three months the same thing happened each night at dinner. Beauty began to look forward to these visits and lost her fear of the Beast's deformity, but every night, before he left, he asked the same question: "Beauty, will you be my wife?"
"Oh, Beast, I wish I could consent to marry you. I shall always consider you a great friend, but I do not love you."
"But will you promise to never leave me?" the Beast asked.
"Oh, Beast, I am so worried about my dear father, and I miss him so."
"Ah, then you will leave, and the Beast will die of grief."
"Oh, no," said Beauty. "If you let me visit my father, I promise I will return and live with you forever."
"You shall be there tomorrow," said the Beast. "But remember, when you wish to return to me, you must lay your ring on the table before you go to bed."
The next morning, when Beauty awoke, she found herself in her father's home, and her room was filled with chests of gold and elegant silk gowns from the Beast. Everyone was overjoyed to see her except her cold-hearted sisters. They were consumed with jealousy; nevertheless they pretended to be happy and begged her to stay as long as she could. On the tenth night Beauty had a dream in which she saw the Beast lying in his garden, dying. She awoke in tears. "Oh, how ungrateful I am. Is it his fault that he is so very ugly? He has been so kind and generous to me. Why did I not consent to marry him?" Then she got out of bed, put her ring on the table, and went back to sleep. The next morning she awoke in the Beast's castle. She put on her most beautiful gown and waited for him to come. After dinner, when he still hadn't appeared, she remembered the dream and ran to the garden, where she found him lying on the ground, almost dead. She bent over him, crying and hugging him. "Oh, Beast, please do not die! Live and be my husband." At those words she saw bright flashes of light and heard music, and, instead of the hideous beast, she saw one of the most handsome princes that she had ever laid eyes on. He thanked her for putting an end to the horrible spell that had been cast over him by a wicked witch. Then a fairy appeared waving a wand, and Beauty's entire family appeared. The fairy smiled and said, "Beauty, you have made a wise choice because you have chosen virtue over beauty. You and the prince shall live
happily ever after." Then the fairy turned to Beauty's two sisters and said, "You who are so consumed by envy and jealousy, you will be transformed into two statues of stone but still retain your reason. You will stand at the door of Beauty's castle, and it will be your punishment to observe her daily happiness until the day you die."
The Monkey King
Monkey was born from an egg which had been fertilized by the wind as it lay on the peak of a mountain in Ao-lai on the eastern side of the Ocean. He became unbelievably adept at magic arts and learned further skills from a Taoist Immortal who among other things named him Discoverer of Secrets, taught him to change his shape at will and to fly through the air. Monkey organized all the monkeys of the world into a kingdom and killed a Beast who was persecuting them. He obtained a magic weapon from the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea with which he began to make himself master of the four quarters.
One day, at a great feast given in his honor, Monkey drank too much. While he was asleep, he was seized by the servants of the king of Hell, who had him chained in the infernal regions. He broke his bonds, however, and stole the register of judgments, from which he deleted his own name and those of all monkeys. As a result of all the trouble which he had caused, Monkey was summoned to Heaven to explain his conduct. The Lord of Heaven made him Grand Guardian of the Heavenly Stables to keep him quiet. Monkey behaved himself well for a while, but soon began to create trouble in Heaven. He then went back to Mount Huaguo. The Lord of Heaven organized a siege of the mountain, but was defeated. Finally, after Monkey had declared himself Governor of Heaven and Great Saint, terms were arranged and he agreed to conform to the divine laws as Superintendent in Chief of the Heavenly Peach Garden, the source of Immortality. Much to his anger, he was not invited to the Peach Festival and decided to take revenge. He not only ate all the food and wine prepared for the feast but also stole the pills of immortality from the house of Lao Jun. Since he had already eaten the peaches, Monkey was made doubly immortal. After this he went once again to Mount Huaguo. But by now his irresponsible behavior had infuriated all the gods and goddesses. After a long battle during which Monkey employed all his magic skills to avoid defeat, he was finally captured and brought to the Jade Emperor, who condemned him to death.
The sentence could not, however, be carried out because Monkey was protected both by the peaches and by the pills of immortality. He was handed over to Lao Jun to be distilled in the alchemists' furnace. He was put in the furnace which was heated to white heat for forty-nine days, but at the end of this time Monkey lifted the lid and threatened to destroy Heaven. In despair, the Jade Emperor sent for the Buddha, who asked Monkey why he wished to possess Heaven. Monkey's reply was that he knew with certainty that he was powerful enough to rule
Heaven. When the Buddha demanded proof of this claim, Monkey explained that he was immortal, invulnerable, able to change his shape in seventy-two different ways, to fly through the air, and to leap a distance of 108,000 li. The Buddha doubted whether Monkey could even jump out of his palm, but agreed that if Monkey was successful, then he would be entitled to rule Heaven. So Monkey leaped into the air and sprang prodigiously across Heaven to the furthest confines of the earth, where he came to rest at the base of a great mountain. Here he pissed as animals do when they wish to mark out a territory as their own. Then he returned in a single bound and confronted the Buddha. But the Buddha laughed at his claim to have crossed the whole universe in one bound and showed him that the mountain where he had pissed was but the base of one of the Buddha's fingers and that he had not even escaped from the palm of the Buddha's hand. Then the Buddha created a magic mountain and shut Monkey within it.
He would have remained there forever had the Bodhisattva Guan Yin not obtained his release so that he could accompany Tang Seng on his great pilgrimage to the Western Paradise to fetch the authentic versions of the Buddha's teachings. The monkey swore faithfully to obey his new master and to protect him from all dangers. He did this despite many temptations along the way and at least eighty great dangers which the pilgrims, including a pig, had to face. On their return a last hazard awaited them when a turtle — who was conveying them and the scriptures across a flooded river —discovered that Tang Seng had not yet fulfilled a vow he had made to him, swam away and left them to drown. But they swam safely ashore and were greeted with great celebrations by the Emperor and the people.
Their final honors came from a heavenly committee under the presidency of Buddha. Tang Seng was recognized as a former chief disciple of the Buddha and was granted a high rank in Heaven. Monkey was made God of Victorious Strife, and the Pig was created Chief Divine Altar Cleanser. The Horse who had carried Tang Seng and the scriptures was turned into a four-clawed dragon and named chief of heavenly dragons. At the beginning of his pilgrimage Tang Seng had put a helmet on Monkey which became tight whenever he strayed or misbehaved. The pain had caused Monkey to refrain from wickedness. Therefore, when he was given his new title, Monkey begged Tang Seng to remove the helmet, since he had now become an enlightened one. Tang Seng answered that if Monkey was indeed enlightened, the helmet would have gone of its own accord. Monkey reached up to feel his head and found that the helmet had disappeared.
Unit 3 Social Problems
Latchkey Children—Knock, Knock, Is Anybody Home?
In the United States the cost of living has been steadily rising for the past few decades. Food prices, clothing costs, housing expenses, and tuition fees are constantly getting higher and higher. Partly because
of financial need, and partly because of career choices for personal fulfillment, mothers have been leaving the traditional role of full-time homemaker. Increasingly they have been taking salaried jobs outside the home.
Making such a significant role change affects the entire family, especially the children. Some consequences are obvious. For example, dinnertime is at a later hour. The emotional impact, on the other hand, can be more subtle. Mothers leave home in the morning, feeling guilty because they will not be home when their children return from school. They suppress their guilt since they believe that their work will benefit everyone in the long run. The income will enable the family to save for college tuition, take an extended vacation, buy a new car, and so on.
The emotional impact on the children can be significant. It is quite common for children to feel hurt and resentful. After all, they are alone several hours, and they feel that their mothers should "be there" for them. They might need assistance with their homework or want to share the day's activities. All too often, however, the mothers arrive home exhausted and face the immediate task of preparing dinner. Their priority is making the evening meal for the family, not engaging in relaxed conversation.
Latchkey children range in age from six to thirteen. On a daily basis they return from school and unlock the door to their home with the key hanging around their necks. They are now on their own, alone, in quiet, empty rooms. For some youngsters, it is a productive period of private time, while for others it is a frightening, lonely void. For reasons of safety, many parents forbid their children to go out to play or to have visitors at home. The youngsters, therefore, feel isolated.
Latchkey children who were interviewed reported diverse reactions. Some latchkey children said that being on their own for a few hours each day fostered, or stimulated, a sense of independence and responsibility. They felt loved and trusted, and this feeling encouraged them to be self-confident. Latchkey girls, by observing how their mothers coped with the demands of a family and a job, learned the role model of a working mother. Some children stated that they used their unsupervised free time to perfect their athletic skills, such as playing basketball. Others read books or practiced a musical instrument. These children looked upon their free time after school as an opportunity for personal development. It led to positive, productive, and valuable experiences.
Conversely, many latchkey children expressed much bitterness, resentment, and anger for being made to live in this fashion. Many claimed that too much responsibility was placed on them at an early age; it was an overwhelming burden. They were little people who really wanted to be protected, encouraged, and cared for through attention from their mothers. Coming home to an empty house was disappointing, lonely, and often frightening. They felt abandoned by their mothers. After all, it seemed to them that most other children had "normal" families whose mothers were "around," whereas their own mothers were never home. Many children turned on the television for the whole afternoon day after day, in order to diminish feelings of isolation; furthermore, the voices were comforting. Frequently, they would doze off.
Because of either economic necessity or strong determination for personal fulfillment, or both, the phenomenon of latchkey children is widespread in our society. Whatever the reason, it is a compelling situation with which families must cope. The question to ask is not whether or not mothers should work full-time. Given the reality of the situation, the question to ask is: how can an optimum plan be worked out to deal effectively with the situation.
It is advisable for all members of the family to express their feelings and concerns about the inevitable change candidly. These remarks should be discussed fully. Many factors must be taken into
consideration: the children's personality and maturity, the amount of time the children will be alone, the safety of the neighborhood, accessibility of help in case of an emergency. Of supreme importance is the quality of the relationship between parents and children. It is most important that the children be secure in the knowledge that they are loved. Feeling loved provides invaluable emotional strength to cope successfully with almost any difficulty that arises in life.
It's a Mugger's Game in Manhattan
Martin had lived in New York for forty years and never been mugged once. This did not make him confident—on the contrary, it terrified him. The way he saw it, he was now the most likely person in Manhattan to get mugged next.
"What are the odds of my getting mugged?" he asked his friend Lenny.
"How much are you willing to bet?" said Lenny, who was a compulsive gambler.
"Oh come on, this is too important to bet on!"
"Nothing is too important to bet on," said Lenny, shocked. That was the end of their friendship.
"How do you think I can avoid getting mugged?" Martin asked his friend Grace. Grace had not been outside her apartment in five years, as a sure-fire way of avoiding being mugged. It had failed; someone had broken in and mugged her.
"I've no idea, Martin," she said. "Most of these guys are on drugs anyway, and they need the money for their addiction."
This gave Martin an idea. If the muggers only needed the money for drugs, why didn't he offer them drugs instead? Then possibly they would be so grateful they wouldn't harm him. Through some rich friends he knew he bought small quantities of heroin and cocaine. He had never touched the stuff himself, so he had to label them carefully to make sure he didn't get them mixed up.
One day he was walking in a part of Central Park he shouldn't have been in (the part where there is grass and trees) when three men leapt out at him. One was black, one was Puerto Rican and one was Caucasian. Well, at least mugging is being integrated he thought.
"You want drugs?" he cried. "I've got drugs! Anything you want you can have. Just name it. But don't touch me!"
The three men let go of him respectfully.
"We almost made a big mistake there," said one of them. "This guy's a pusher. Hurt him, and we could have the Mafia down on us. Let's see what you got, mister."
Somewhat to his surprise Martin found himself displaying his wares to his clientele. Even more to his surprise, he found himself accepting money for the drugs, much more than he'd paid for them.
"How come you guys have all this money?" He said. "Why are you out mugging if you have money?"
"Well, we're not real muggers," said the Caucasian embarrassed. "We're out-of-work actors."
"I thought out-of-work showbiz people always became waiters or barmen," said Martin.
"Right. But there are so many showbiz people in catering now that you can't get work as waiters. So we had to get work as muggers.
When Martin got home, he bought some more drugs from his friend. Pretty soon he sold them to some more muggers. Pretty soon after that he found he was spending more and more time pushing drugs,