An Inherent Dichotomy


One inherent dichotomy within human beings: the desire for freedom and indulgence versus the need for control, structure and productivity. Recently, I have experienced more than ever a desire to free myself from all responsibility, leave my brain at the airport and fly into something new. Simultaneously, the part of me feeling the weight of my impending future responsibilities possesses the need to be industrious and reasonable. Hence, there is a struggle between the two selves, which appears to be a common trope in literature. Ondaatje’s poetry and prose collection The Collected Works of Billy the Kid explores the fight that exists between the spontaneous Billy and the excessively rational sheriff Pat Garrett. Similarly, the infamous Earl of Rochester occupies differing personas in his various poetic works. In “A Satyr Against Reason and Mankind” Rochester’s poetic persona advocates for a life of debauchery and indulgence. In contrast, many of his other works stress the need for a national existence and the inability of indulgence to achieve human fulfillment. This dichotomy is evident in literature, which is a potential mirror of human life. Yet what allows one to rise above the fray of extreme opposition? Achieving a balance is simple in theory, yet it appears to be increasingly difficult to enact in life.