The Unseen Consequences of Success
After reading Father Linnane’s “State of the University” speech I felt a certain level of accomplishment. In a subtle way Father Linnane successfully complimented everyone involved in the Loyola University community. From the faculty and staff to every new student Father Linnane, complimented us in away that was both uplifting and humbling. His speech had striking similarities to the other works that we had to read this week.
Father Linnane challenged us all to succeed in every aspect of our lives while, strongly rooting ourselves the principles of a Jesuit University. Father Linnane highlighted the recent improvement in application rates and Division I athletics, but at the same time stated the need for further development. He stated that, “All of these initiatives, as you’ll recall, are designed to support our fundamental goal of becoming the nation’s leading Catholic, comprehensive university.” This statement hints to the fact that the future success of Loyola University coincides with our ability and willingness to separate ourselves from others. Father Linnane stressed how important it is for Loyola University to be successful in a way that doesn’t follow the traditional formula of success. In addition, he states it is imperative that the University continues down its unique path of success that is originally rooted in Jesuit beliefs and traditions. The idea of uniqueness and individuality that will eventually breed success can be seen in the messages of other works we have read.
In Richard Hague’s, “ Directions for Resisting the SAT,” we become innately aware of the detrimental nature of standardization. Hague pays serious attention to the importance of remaining a unique and irreplaceable individual. In his poem we see the speaker stating that we should not, “observe the rules of gravity. /” This quote suggests to the reader that conventional wisdom such as gravity, commas, or even history are subjects worth our observation, but we should not fixate on them. Hague argues that we must break free of those strict rules because they hinder our “desire to live whole. /” In addition Hague states we should, “ follow no directions/” and, “ Listen to no one. /” Hague suggests that an independent mind set, such as the one described above, will allow readers to become more independent and, “ Make your mark on everything.”
Furthermore, Hague points out this message to an intended audience of teenagers. Those who are in the process of taking standardized tests, like the SAT, face this issue of standardization seemingly every second of their high school lives. As someone who has recently gone through the process of standardized tests this poem has personal significance, and does a great job of undermining the overwhelming idea of standardization. (I find it important to not that Loyola, being a unique Jesuit University, is one of the few SAT/ACT optional schools in the country!)
“Directions for Resisting the SAT” has a subversive message that highlights the importance of creating your own future from your own individual model. Hague’s message sheds light on the way in which rules can often become barriers for success, and how no one person can be summarized by a number, test, or even a few words. These messages contrast with the militaristic structure of “First Practice” by Gary Gildner.
Gildner uses the physical structure of the poem and emphasizes the drawbacks of competition to draw attention to the unintended consequences of success. Gildner structures “First Practice” into two separate stanzas connected by the two words, “No one.” Those two words are significant because the represent the sole barrier that divides the two stanzas. In many ways that line is symbolic of a coach or referee of two different teams. In addition, the two separate stanzas come to represent the two lines that the speaker says Clifford Hill divided them into. This stanza structure draws attention to the divisional properties of competition.
Gildner uses Clifford Hill as a symbol to represent the drawbacks of too much competition. The speaker characterizes Clifford Hill as a, “man who believed dogs/ ate dogs” Meaning that Clifford Hill has a mentality that every other man in the world is in competition with him therefore, he must compete against them. Hill is described as a bully, and one who, “ hates to lose.” Gildner uses this characterization of Clifford Hill as a symbol of the success driven society that we live in today. Furthermore, Gildner draws the reader focus on how people have become too focused on winning that they can no longer see the benefits of losing. When Clifford Hill states, “ I don’t want to see/ any marks when you’re dressed, /” The reader gets an impression that anything short of winning is unacceptable, and that you will be looked down upon if you fail to succeed. Gildner suggests that the success-oriented society we live in misses the potential benefits of losing or failing, like the benefits of learning from mistakes. As a result, we become weaker as a whole society, and we forget about the unknown consequences of success that are often harmful. A possible solution to this bleak success oriented society is more people like Chef Sampson.
In Stephanine Shapiro’s, “ Serving Up Hope” Chef Sampson is idealized as a figure that represents success in its purist form. If Chef Sampson had attended Loyola University I believe Father Linnane would be overjoyed with the way Chef Sampson has gone about his life. As executive chef at the five-star restaurant Harbor Court, Chef Sampson could have easily stayed at Harbor Court, and continued up the culinary ladder. Fortunately, he decided to, “switch roles,” and begin a path of community building. This path that Chef Sampson went down epitomizes how Jesuits define success. Chef Sampson was at the pinnacle of his culinary career. He seem to succeed in ways that some chefs can only dream of. However, Sampson never lost sight of his true ambitions of community building. After Sampson started “Chefs in the Making” he continued to help those suffering from drug issues. Sampson’s creation of “Chaefs in the Making” is a culmination of his success in the culinary world, and in the community. This community outlook is an example of achievement that is the result of a person who remained rooted in sound morals. In Bharati Mukherjee’s, “A Father” we see the resulting consequences of one who loses sight of how they define success.
In the short story, “A Father” Mukherjee illustrates the unfortunate the common side effects of success. Mr. Bhowmick, a father and husband, is by all means a successful man. After leaving India he secured a job as, “Chief Engineer,” for General Motors in Detroit. Coming from nothing in India Mr. Bhowmick’s apparent accomplishments would make most believe he leads a happy and comfortable life. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all. He states that he does, “not love his wife now, and he had not loved her then (during the wedding).” In addition, he gets very little satisfaction from his highly successful daughter. What Mukherjee suggests from all of this is that success can be incredibly constructive or destructive. In cases like Chef Sampson we see the constructive nature of success, however in a case illustrated in “A Father” where the climax of the story results in Mr. Bhowmick striking his daughter we see the destructive nature of success. Additionally, in, “A Father” we see the blinding property of success. Mr. Bhowmick became so caught up in his views of success that he neglects to see the family he created. He becomes blinded by his idea of success, and as a result he comes to destroy.