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Perspectives: Effects on Research and Writing

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Essay title: Perspectives: Effects on Research and Writing


Effects on Research and Writing

Every person’s perceptions are entirely inimitable in their own way. Perception, in itself, means to interpret the world around, in one’s own way based on their personally acquired morals, values, and fears. Our minds begin to examine and interpret things using these traits. How does this all relate to research and writing? After making interpretations, a person then begins to form an opinion about the subject at hand. When writing, a topic is given and immediately the writer forms a related opinion about the topic and thus, chooses an arguable side. The next step in the process is to begin delving into researching that topic based on the side that has already been pre-disposed inside the writers mind due to the characteristics that have been infused in them through childhood.

These views that people take on in life are not something that occur overnight. How a person is raised, different experiences, and the expectations of life that are instilled in people throughout childhood and beyond are what distinguishes and molds that person’s views on the world. Take, for example, Judith Ortiz- Cofer’s essay about a Puerto Rican girl raised to grasp her femininity. The essay is written through Ortiz-Cofer’s first hand perspective. The woman is brought up in a Latin culture and goes through different situations through childhood which lead her to expectations of how the world will perceive her. In the story she goes on to explain that she was “overdressed during a high school career day” and felt uncomfortable because the other “Caucasian” girls were dressed more conservatively. Events in the story such as these, set the woman up to feel inadequate, fearful, and make her believe that her culture and the way she was raised are misunderstood and others around her are quick to judge by appearance alone. She goes on to explain an incident that occurred later in her life:

On a bus trip to London…….a young man, obviously fresh from a pub, spotted me and….. With both hands over his heart he broke into an Irish tenor’s rendition of “Maria” from West Side Story.

The writer is also quick to judge the man, an “Irish” man “fresh from a pub”, and immediately assumes that he is mocking or stereotyping her solely based on her expectations she has taken from her childhood. When in fact, the man on the bus could have very well been stricken by her beauty and infatuated with the Latin culture but, Ortiz- Cofer, by design assumes the negative side of the situation. These views that she has grown up to believe affect her way of thinking, which in turn affects her writing.

In an essay written by Horace Miner, “Body Rituals among the Nacrima” Miner observes a culture through an outsider’s perspective. Miner, an anthropologist, studies the behavior and cultural development of the Nacrima. His distant perspective can be seen when he describes the rituals in which the people take part in as a “…. rite [involving] a practice which strikes the uninitiated stranger as revolting.”

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