Critical Lens Essay

Satisfactory Essays
Critical Lens Essay

Whenever someone performs a task, he/she can labor over it carefully,

or do a rushed job. A student writing an essay describing the causes

of the American Revolution, or a president proposing ways to end World

War II illustrate two situations where both simple and complicated ways

to address a problem exist. Writing a non-analytical response to the

essay question would be easy to do. Likewise, dropping atomic bombs

over cities, razing them and eliminating many people would not be

entirely morally correct. H.L. Mencken^s assertion that ^for every

problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong^ is

excellent for assessing the literary elements in two works: Fences by

August Wilson and Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. Fences is

filled with difficulties between characters, and many of these were not

reconciled in a proper manner. One problem involved Cory, a high

school student and his father, Troy. Cory, an accomplished football

player wanted to focus on his team and play in college. However, his

father was against Cory^s goals, insisting he prioritize his work and

house chores over the football. Ordinarily, there is nothing wrong

with a parent making major decisions for his/her children, but in this

case, Troy^s solution to the problem was simply to go behind Cory^s

back and revoke his membership on the team. Going behind one^s back is

an easy way out of resolving a problem^the person was plainly too

indolent to spend the time to find a more mutually acceptable

solution. Troy^s demeanor is unacceptable not only with Cory, but also

with other characters in the book. For example, when Lyons asks him

for a small amount of money, Troy creates a big scene, detailing

problems he had had in the past with getting credit, such as paying for

furniture through ten-dollar monthly installments. It is clear that

Troy is rather selfish, for he tries to keep what little amount of

money he has for himself. In Snow Falling on Cedars, readers observe

different types of problems. While those in Fences tend to be between

two people, those in Guterson^s book usually involve a large group of

people, often the entire town of San Piedro. The principal question

throughout the novel centers around who killed Carl Heine. The entire

town seems to show prejudice against Kabuo, primarily because he is

Japanese. This prejudice is obvious even in affairs unrelated to

Kabuo^s trial. In a descriptive paragraph about life in San Piedro,

readers learn that Japanese workers at the Port Jefferson mill were
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