Sight, Through the Children's Gate Essay

Pages: 7 (2603 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
The title of the book itself "Through the Children's Gate" although referring to the park entrance also implies relooking at life as children do, looking at event in a fresh innocentway. He tries to see situations around him with a new eye and with the clarity and eagerness like a child. Gopniks daughter Olivia for example is fascinated by dogs something that most adults are bored by, "Olivia, was happily occupied at the window, dog-spotting. 'Dog!' "Dog!' came the occasional shout… She is endlessly excited, then wildly agitated whenever she spots one, which, given the density of dogs on Upper East Side streets, she does, predictably, twice a moment. (59).

Gopnik, in the meantime, contrast this child's view with his adult skeptical interpretation of the Book of Esther, that he read not form a Jewish version but from the King James Bible with its Christian emphasis. He thinks of peace demonstrations, child immunizations, impaled Iranians, and ethnic pogroms. His daughter Olivia inspires in him a more fresh and 'cleansed' outlook, "I walked over to the baby at the window seat. Out the window, in the near distance, we could see a synagogue... 'Dog, dog!' The baby cried, as a dog walker came up the street, six or seven dogs on leashes held in one hand. Olivia began to cry out in delight. So many dogs! (60-61).

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Gopni ktalks about his past and upbringing and about his Jewish experiences. He had few Jewish memories.He longs for the child's enthusiastic eye, for a change in his mindset. The chapter ends by his stating, "we celebrated our own Seder this past spring and are thinking of joining the synagogue…in part because there is an excellent nursery school for our daughter…I gave the silver grogger to the baby…she now has the first thing a Jewish girl in exile needs" (72).His daughter has influenced his mindset making Jewish religion a more prominent part of his life.

Essay on Sight, Through the Children's Gate Assignment

An adult experiencing change, or seeing a country for the first time, also experiences a change in mindset. In his first essay, Gopniktalks about his first day in New York seeing the city in a fresh way and marveling at the Palisades, "There! There it is! There's New York, this wonderful city. I'll go live there someday" (5). And then predictably enough the city lost its glamor and Gopniksees it in a different way. No longer with the fresh eyes of the child or the tourist, or the person who dreams of living in New York. He had become used to the city, lost in its routineness. The city lost its freshness as life does.

In "A Purim Story" we see the freshness of the festival as imagined by a child or by mankind in its earliest days. There is the romantic story of Queen Esther and King Aheshaveros, the hedonistic greedy king who chopped off his first wife's head and courted a pretty maiden as second. A moody man he first boosted his viceroy to unimagined heights then swung him on the gallows of a tree. Children love this story. Certain people mostly children masquerade as characters of the Purim story on Purim. Orthodox Jews take the story very seriously. The more orthodox they are the more they praiseMorecai and Ester and demonize Haman and Ahashveras. An unreligious adult would see the story in a different way. He or she is likely to see it as fairytale and reprimand Esther for her cowardness or Mordecai for failing to protect Esther or see the whole story as just asilly tale. People see stories in different ways as people see the world in different ways.

Everyone's maps are different and constantly changing and that children make adults look at the world differently and evaluate things in a new fresh way. We see this in Olivia's (and her brothers) impact on their father and on the author's attempt to change his mind and see the world through the fresh eye of the children. He realizes that a religious person sees the world differently than he does. He envies their not corrupted perception. In each and every essay there are illustrations of people who due to history, geography, or their experiences see the world in different ways and that everyone's mindset differs. This difference in mindset is evident in "The Running Fathers" who are noted by Gopnik "to sit sipping lattes at the Starbucks on Columbus Avenue after the morning run, waiting with annoyance for two twentysomethings to pack up their computers so there will be free seats " (232).This indicates that the generation gap and the difference in thinking associated with the age groups.

Given this fact, is it extremely difficult to communicate with each other and it is nearly impossiblet o "understand' one another. A person is barely able to understand oneself, they are so out of touch with their own inner maps and these maps are constantly changing. How could it be to understand the inner maps of another particularly when the insight to interpret these maps of the other comes from within a self that is so different to the other?.

The best we can do is replicate the author's observation in his first essay and apply that as recommendation to our own life, "New York has existed for me simultaneously as a map to be learned and a place to aspire to" (5). We can never arrive at any definite conclusions, not about a place, object and certainly not about another. Our minds are always changing andour mind maps are always different. The best we can do is accept the fact that our perceptions are different and conclude that we need to keep on learning and aspire to understand the differences. The essays largely convey a morbid, tired impression of life but the collection of essays is also titled "Through the Children's Gate." Purim was a mundane and skeptical Holiday for Gopnik. Thanksgiving comes yearly. One is no different than the next. Still the adult can lean to change his mind about routine events and approach them as a child does with a fresh perspective. The author attempts to see Purim in this way and his essay "First Thanksgiving" is clearly not about his first thanksgiving rather a new fresh thanksgiving. Things can always be seen as new.

Each person having a different map we can learn from others and attempt to gain something of the child's naiveness to see life in a more original, fresh way.

Work Cited

Gopnik, Adam. Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York. New York: Vintage,

2006. Print.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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