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Everyone has a different view on life. One's perception can significantly impact the way that he/she views the rest of the world. This perception can be both positive and negative. Perception often plays a big role in determining how one is viewed by both themselves and others. People are often judged by their appearance and their actions. However, it is things such as their personality and their character that truly define them as individuals. In Budge Wilson's "The Metaphor," Miss Hancock is faced with the fact that other individuals often overlook her. Though others may not be aware of what they are doing, their actions can greatly impact another individual throughout their lifetime. The way that one is perceived can both positively and negatively affect the way that others view them as an individual, which can greatly affect their entire life.
The short story "The Metaphor" is based around this perception. Charlotte admires and looks up to her grade seven teacher, Miss Hancock. Miss Hancock is a very kind and caring person "I could tell that she was feeling concerned and kind, not nosy," (Pg. 69) but unfortunately she is often overlooked because of the way that she dresses "Her head was covered with a profusion of small busy curls, which were brightly, aggressively, golden." (Pg.66) However, as Charlotte and the rest of her classmates discover, she is actually quite a sophisticated person "Miss Hancock was equally at home in her two fields of creative writing and literature. It was the first tine I had been excited, genuinely moved, by poems, plays, stories." (Pg. 66) The more that the students developed, the happier Miss Hancock became "But we were delighted with ourselves. And she with us." (Pg. 67) She took great pride in her job and really enjoyed teaching her students. The more the children got to know Miss Hancock, the more they began to appreciate her as an individual, and the happier Miss Hancock became.
When Miss Hancock came to teach at the high school, she was filled with eccentricity and liveliness. This enthusiasm quickly turned into disappointment as the students swiftly discounted Miss Hancock. The student's first impression of Miss Hancock was that she was a joke, and they didn't take her very seriously. This rapidly dampened Miss Hancock's spirit "By then, stripped of 15 years of overblown confidence, she offered her material shyly, hesitantly, certain of rejection, of humiliation," (Pg.
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Though Charlotte ignored and sort of rejected Miss Hancock, she still cared about her. Miss Hancock greatly influenced Charlotte's life:
"Still writing metaphors?" she asked, with a tentative smile. "Oh, I dunno," I replied. But I was. Nightly, in the bathtub. And I kept a notebook in which I wrote them all down. (Pg. 78)
Charlotte's entire grade seven class appreciated Miss Hancock, and their lives were all affected because of her. As the student's acceptance towards Miss Hancock increased, they became more comfortable with her. As a result, they became much more open to what she was teaching them "We could have not said what we loved best, Miss Hancock or her subject. They were all of a piece." (Pg. 66) The younger students enjoyed and appreciated what they were taught by Miss Hancock. Their willingness to learn was a direct result of their positive outlook towards their teacher. Miss Hancock was very pleased by this and was therefore positively affected by her student's view of her.
Miss Hancock was incredibly upset and distraught by the way that high school students viewed her. In the end, she was killed by a bus. Charlotte felt incredibly guilty and responsible for what happened to her "I killed her. We all killed her. But especially me." (Pg.79) Charlotte deeply regretted ignoring Miss Hancock, but by the time she realized what she had done, it was much too late. However, it wasn't entirely Charlotte's fault; her actions were greatly influenced by her classmates. When the students first met Miss Hancock, they took her very lightheartedly. They thought of her as someone that they could take advantage of. The students developed a negative viewpoint towards Miss Hancock before they got to really know her. The quote "Most grown-ups would have thrown it away after one brief glance at the frosting," (Pg.80) describes how many people often overlook an individual before they get to know them. The class judged Miss Hancock before they got a chance know her, and Miss Hancock suffered because of this.
Ones life can be greatly affected by the way they are viewed by others. The more that one gets to know person, the more one begins to appreciate them as an individual. People often get off on the wrong foot with other individuals and, unfortunately, this often permanently affects the way that one views a person. If one has a good attitude towards an individual, then their views will likely have a positive effect on that person. Throughout the story, Miss Hancock was continually judged, and her life was affected because of this. No matter what one does it is impossible for them to completely ignore their perception of things. The way that one views things can ultimately affect the way that their entire life is perceived by the rest of the world.