The Truth in Old School

Topics: Truth, Alfred North Whitehead, Logic Pages: 2 (828 words) Published: December 17, 2012
The Truth

The book Old School, by Tobias Wolff, is about a boarding school in New England. At this school, there are many students as a well as teacher that try to find the meaning of truth in life. Alfred North Whitehead, a western philosopher of the 19th and 20th century, believes that, “there are no whole truths: all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.” This quote is saying that all truths have small lies in them, and that if one tries to act like there is no lie, then he/she will get themselves into trouble. Although this definition is arguable, throughout the book many people that have issues with the truth prove Mr. Whitehead’s statement to be true. One of these characters who struggles with the whole truth would be the narrator of the book. The narrator is one of the best writers in his class and wants nothing more than to win a private meeting with one of the famous authors that visits his school. With two failed attempts to win the contest and only one chance left to win the narrator begins to panic. He tries to read other stories for inspiration and comes across a story called The Summer Dance written by a girl named Susan Friedman from another. As he reads this story, he realizes that The Summer Dance was truly his life story. The narrator is so convinced that the story was his own, he changes some of the facts and submits it into the school writing contest. This leads the narrator into big trouble, because he has also partly lied in the sense that he copied someone else’s paper, and ends up getting kicked out of the school for plagiarism. Another time that this quote was fitting to the narrator was when he was walking down the hallway whistling a Nazi marching song behind a man named Gershon. Little did the narrator know that Gershon was Jewish, and he thought that the narrator was whistling the song to him to belittle him. Gershon then told the headmaster of the school what had...
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