Mark Twain

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Everyone has ideas and customs that they believe are their own. But Mark Twain has once stated, “We are creatures of outside influences – we originate nothing from within. Whenever we take a new line of thought and drift into a new line of belief and action, the impulse is always suggested from the outside.” Although people may think that they created their own thought and ideas, they have not. Something in the outside world caused them to think about those thoughts, or to come up with those ideas. If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I? , by Geeta Kothari, Scattered Inconveniences, by Jerald Walker, and The Right Decision, by Ron Sargent, are all stories in which characters use the ideas from their outer world to achieve or do certain things in their own lives.

Geeta Kothari grows up with a family who follows an Indian culture. Throughout her childhood she struggles to fit in because of the food that she eats. “I declare myself a vegetarian and doom myself to a diet of cauliflower cheese and baked beans on toast. The administration does not question my decision; they assume it is for vague, undefined religious reasons, although my father, the doctor, tells them it is for my health. My reasons from this distance of many years, remains murky to me.” Kothari states that she doesn’t know where this impulse comes from, but it is obvious that it came from outside influences. Indians were supposed to eat certain foods and because of this, Kothari didn’t eat like the other kids her age ate. The urge to fit in, whether into a culture or a group of kids at school, can cause an influence on the thoughts of that person. The kids at school, Kothari’s parents, the “cool” food to eat; these are all examples of things that caused Kothari to become a vegetarian. Not only can outside influences affect the food a person might eat, it may also affect the way a person acts towards someone else.

Jerald Walker explains a situation in which he showed his racism towards a man...
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