Perception vs. Insight-Literature Analysis of American Immigration

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Perception vs. Insight
Experiences allow people to make future decisions based on what happened in their past. People use their background knowledge in order to help make informed decisions. Although one person may interpret what happened one way, another will see it completely different. It is like being in a classroom and learning from a teacher. We take certain pieces from the lesson and each come up with an interpretation based on their prior knowledge. Learning from one’s own experiences is a central theme found in a quote by Mary Catherine Bateson and a few selections from class. Knowledge is the development of ideas about specific topics. What we do with that knowledge is a different matter. Mary Catherine Bateson once said, “Insight, I believe, refers to the depth of understanding that comes by setting experiences, yours and mine, familiar and exotic, new and old, side by side, learning by letting them speak to one another.” This means that we can learn a lot for the things that we experience throughout our life and what those around us have learned from their own personal experiences. However, we all interpret these events differently. Everyone grows up in a different environment, generation, culture, or educational background. We may have a new ways of thinking about something that maybe our parents never did. Richard Frethorne’s “Letter to His Mother and Father” is an example that showed me how parents may have a different perspective than that of a son. Richard was writing a letter to his parents about what he was experiencing in America. His parents were sending their son to a country they thought would give their son a better life. Richard writes, “This is to let you understand that I your child am in a most heavy case by reason of the country, which is such that it causeth much sickness…And when we are sick there is nothing to comfort us; for since I came out of the ship I never ate anything but peas, and lablollie (that is water



Cited: Frethorne, Richard. "Letter to His Mother and Father." Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing. Ed. Ilan Stavans. New York: Literacy Classics of the United States, 2009. 1-4. Print. McElgun, John. "Annie Reilly." Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing. Ed. Ilan Stavans. New York: Literacy Classics of the United States, 2009. 63-69. Print. Wilkins, Roger. "Confessions of a Blue-Chip Black." Voices in Black and White: Writings on Race in America from Harper 's Magazine. Ed. Katharine Whittemore and Gerald Marzorati. New York: Franklin Square Press, 1993. 127-41. Print.

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