John Carrol "My Boy Life"

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After reading the short story “My Boy Life” which is the memoir of John Carroll, I was from time to time envious of Carroll’s life but also relieved that I was not born in the 1800’s. Born just before the war of 1812 in Upper Canada, Carroll’s life was very simple. His prospective future occupations only consisted of a few and were predetermined from birth. How simple is life when everything is already set in stone? From the age of twelve to seventeen, Carroll worked at a tannery and as a currier. Carroll’s job was associated with his father’s work, his father being a saddler and harness-maker. Only grinding the bark in the tannery, Carroll’s life was consistent and did not require much effort of having to plan out his future. Sadly, much has changed and the current world does not allow me to walk a single, straight-forward path. With so many choices to be made, the world is more complex and much harder to survive in. I spend hours thinking of my future and what I want to be to no avail. To have our futures determined for us sometimes feels much better than having to choose between thousands of different paths we are able to take. Carroll is also not weighed down by expectations to complete schoolwork. In the century that Carroll lived in, education was not held in the highest regard. Children usually helped out with menial work in their house or assisted their father with errands having to do with the trade. This was because living through each and every day was much more troublesome and all the help was needed to keep food on their tables. On the contrary, I struggle with the sheer amount of homework and tests. It also adds to the tension when competing against all my peers for a better mark, which ultimately results in a better occupation. Even in high school, the competition is fierce, increasing every day. Even the most basic jobs are hard to get as jobs are few and there are many over-qualified people who are unemployed. Unlike during Carroll’s life, people...
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