Friday, December 20, 2013

Life Lessons from Literature, Part 2

            The majority of people want to fit in. There is something primal about being left out of some type of group. There will always be those that act like they do not care, or maybe they are an introvert that prefers to be alone with their thoughts. However, most humans want be feel apart of a group. There is something primal that goes all the way back to our survival days that makes us want to be a part of a group. The safety of knowing that someone will help us or be there for us when we fall is comforting. We go to great levels to know that people are friends with us. Honestly, we don't really need fake friends with the amount people on this planet (there are 7 billion on this planet. Surely, you can find someone who enjoys your company). Yet, we still have this desire to belong to a group. The main character, Charlie Brown, in the comic strip Peanuts is always trying to fit in, and is even willing to get abused.
            Lucy keeps pulling the football from him. Charlie Brown continues running toward the football like it will still be there. Surely, Charlie Brown has figured out that the football will be pulled from him. The only conclusion is that he does it anyway knowing he will get hurt. Humans will sometimes even take abuse or negative attention rather than be alone. He even goes to Lucy with his problems for five cents. She keeps tricking him, and he is paying her for nonsense advise? He knows that Lucy is a bully. The other characters ignore him for the most part. They treat him with apathy, and that seems to be worse than abuse to poor old Charlie Brown. He is neglected and even left out of things throughout the series (going all the way back to the November 1950 comic about being not allowed to play football - page 14 of The Complete Peanuts 1950 to 1952). The sad thing is that this wonderful piece of art is reflecting back something that happens every day.
            We see this type of willingness to be abused in exchange for acceptance everywhere from high schools, to colleges, work place, and love relationships. There is no stage of life that does not have these people in the group somewhere. It keeps happening due to the fact that there is a primal need to feel a part of something. Granted, there are those that have become wise enough to learn how to be content alone. There are also those that are devious enough to wield these internal problems of their fellow man against them. Playing with people's emotions is the oldest trick in the book for manipulative people. Charlie Brown is a sad case of someone that is willing to run toward the football hoping that Lucy with change and he will have a friend. Yet, it is this internal need of Charlie Brown that keeps Lucy confident in her ability to keep tricking Charlie Brown time after time.

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