Nineteen Minutes

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Brett Bodenburg
English 101.37
Argumentation Final Paper
Cheryl Brickner
December 17, 2010

Environmental Factors
The nature versus nurture conflict has continuously been a controversial subject for the public. People want to know what effects our development, personality, and especially our behavior, which seems to overlap the two. The nature side of the argument believes that a human is developed by the genes that are hard-wired into them. In other words, the reason why this human behaves the way he or she does today is because of the genes he or she were born with. On the other hand is nurture, which says a person is formed into the person they are by the environment. This suggests that a person is born with no inborn tendencies and acquire traits off of the setting and the people they are around. In Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult, Peter Houghton, the main teenage character, suddenly snaps. Prior to Peter’s murders, he showed no aggression or violence whatsoever. Even his childhood best friend, Josie, who eventually became a member of the popular crowd in school, made efforts to back him up. The sudden outburst from Peter clearly demonstrated that his environment shaped him into the killer he became. An adolescent can be bent and twisted into a completely different person. Hostile environments, like Sterling for Peter, could distort any type of personality and shape the person in undesirable ways.

A famous psychologist, by the name of Sigmund Freud, believed that there was evil built in us all. People, after his time, ran with this naturist belief and also said that it is in one’s human nature to do wrong. It is a pessimistic view on the matter, however, they also say that the evil, or wrongdoing, may be brought out with time. Nonetheless, this side of the debate still thinks people are born as thieves, criminals, or in Peter’s case, murderers. Josie‘s mother, Alex, has a strong first impression, from Peter‘s childhood, as she recalls the day when...
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