22Allegory Of The TeaPot22 1 Essay examples

Submitted By Humans-Ccsf
Words: 1301
Pages: 6

“Allegory Of The Teapot:
An English Teacher’s Journey Out Of The Cave”
The Dormouse slowly opened his eyes. `I wasn’t asleep,’ he said in a hoarse, feeble voice: `I heard every word you fellows were saying.’

Plato tells us what we call “truth” is but a shadowy manacle- a projected reflection on the walls of the caves in which we are prisoners. I have asked you, my Literature and Philosophy students, to write an essay about the extent to which Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” reflects your growing understanding of the world around you. “Write your truth,” I have told you. Yet, I now realize the potential frustrations of such a prompt- As all is illusory and everything is real, I have asked you to write an essay that I could not have possibly written as a narcoleptic sixteen year old high school senior who secretly aspired to become a writer. (Thankfully, you have much more self-awareness, I think, than I did at your age.) Although I read “Allegory of The Cave” as a teenager, I did not understand that unchaining myself from the cave, and becoming a writer-philosopher king, would mean becoming a teacher who taught others to find their voice. I love stories- Hearing stories, reading stories, and telling stories. Hence my family nicknames, “nerd” and “big mouth.” Every summer I won my library’s book reading contest. I wrote my first little book at 5 years old- about Bigfoot, the Monterey Public Library’s lop-eared mascot. For my eighth birthday, someone gave me a copy of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe. I spent a month in my closet, imagining I was in Narnia, and imagining the stories I would someday tell about my adventures. I wrote a series of fairytales, and turned them into little books. According to Plato, each of us live in an underground den “which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here humans have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads.” In a myriad of ways, my love for stories has been part of what has kept me chained inside the cave. As a child, I read books and wrote stories as a way to escape from the world around me. In some ways I played with the shadows on the cave walls, and in doing so slackened the chains. However, each story had a shadowy “happily ever after”. By sixth grade when my story won my school’s annual book contest, and my best friend’s story did not, I stopped sharing my writing with anyone. It was no longer fun. It was no longer play. It was painful. Though I acknowledged the problems around me, I did not have the tools to talk about them, much less anyone I felt safe enough to talk with. Throughout junior high school I kept secret notebooks of imagined stories that reflected the “truths” outside the cave. I shared them with no-one. Instead of paying attention in class, I sat in the back of the room reading and rereading dark novels like VC Andrews Flowers In The Attic series. Plato says, “When the prisoner first looks towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be able to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows.” The stories about troubled families became a new form of escape, new shadows on the cave walls. I had no idea how to connect the worlds I was reading with the worlds I was writing about, much less the world I was living in. Though I no longer believed in “happily ever after”, I was still chained to the rock, not understanding the radical acceptance required to unchain myself and go into “truth”. The “reality”, the “light”, was entirely too painful. It was easier to sleep, to pretend I was the Dormouse because it did not hurt as much if you were asleep when you were stuffed into a tea-pot. And, thank goodness for that. If junior high had not been something out of Lord of The Flies…