Rough Draft # 3
Blank Slate of Mind
One of the most influential Enlightenment philosophers John Locke concluded through a number of his essays that humans are born with a “blank slate”. That is, he or she is born free of perception and knowledge of the world and thereby builds his or her identity on the things he or she experiences. Within their selected passages, both Susan Faludi in her “The Naked Citadel” and Jean Twenge in her “An Army of One: Me” discuss the topic of self-formation and how education plays such a major role in that development. As it is commonly expressed, experience is the greatest teacher and our character formation relies on the people, places, and events that we interact with to ultimately shape our lives and who we become.
One of the most important times of person’s life in which he or she truly begins to gain an idea of who he or she is and where that person fits in the world is during adolescence, and nothing effects that time more than the people that individual interacts with. As discussed by Faludi, the men at The Citadel, a formerly strictly all-male military institution, felt that they were “under attack” by the invasion of a female applicant Shannon Faulkner (183). The young men argued that there was a sincere advantage to having an all-male cadet student body, that it in a way, inspired a sense of fraternity among the boys and an experience that would mold them into the “Whole Men” they aimed to be, “a vaguely defined ideal, half Christian soldier, half Dale Carnegie junior executive” (182). However, the effects accentuated by Faludi of this all-male sub-society confined to The Citadel’s campus do not necessarily reflect the great brotherhood most cadets and alumni praise it to be. Almost all of the students participated in some form of hazing the younger knobs, or freshman, often times with violent and painful consequences. The obvious but uninvestigated consequences of the all male...