Essay on A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Essay on A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

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Human beings are the only living species that base their lives around time. We have calendars, we have clocks, and we have created an entire system in order for us to feel like we are aware of everything. The reasoning behind this is that we fear uncertainty. Since we consider ourselves at the top of the living food chain, we hate to feel as though there is something more powerful than us. When we don’t know things, we feel helpless because we can’t do anything to stop it. Whether it be if your crush likes you back, whether there will be a pop quiz next week, or whether life continues after death: no one likes the uncertainty of not knowing something. In the novel A Tale for the Time Being, the author, Ruth Ozeki, brings light to many different concepts but the one concept that stood out to me was this one. Instead of allowing allows her characters to combat the fear of uncertainty instead of fall prey to it. Ruth Ozeki shows us through Nao’s behavior and the suicidal tendencies of her father, through time, and through the helplessness that Ruth feels towards Nao, that it is okay to accept the unknown.
By talking about Nao’s father’s suicidal tendencies and then describing Nao’s behavior towards them, Ruth Ozeki brings up the initial point that people are afraid of the unknown. At one point, Nao talks about her father committing suicide and says, “Not that he’s succeeded in killing himself yet. He hasn’t. But he’s still trying. It’s just a matter of time” (Ozeki 41). The reader later finds out that the reason why he tries to commit suicide is because he cannot find a job, therefore his family is struggling. He had never known this feeling of having no control over his finances, so he was trying to find a way to end the pain and ...


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...It is extremely difficult to control the desire to know everything. Like I stated earlier, as humans, we like to feel as if we have the world in the palm of our hands. As a dominant species, we want to be aware of everything that goes on around us. However, many things will never be figured out because that is the nature of life. In this book, Ruth Ozeki brings that to light and enlightens us with the message that it is okay to accept that we will not know everything. She does it through the suicidal tendencies of Nao’s father and her behavior, through time, and through the helplessness that Ruth feels towards Nao. She teaches us that our lives would be so much richer if we stopped worrying about things that are out of our control and learn to just live in the present. This is one of the best messages a book and I know that many people will begin to live in the Nao.

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