After reading Bharati Mukherjee’s “A Father”, Stephanie Shapiro’s “Serving up Hope”, and Richard Hague’s “Directions for Resisting the SAT”, a striking similarity appeared between the short stories and poem in relation to the Zen meditation session I attended last week. During my practice of meditation, I take the time of quietness and tranquility to reflect on my actions during the day, and with a clear and relaxed mind, I am able to make the conclusion that through everything I have done, it was by my own influence and choice. For the most part, I have no regrets in my decision making because those choices and actions convey who I am as a person, and allow me to express myself at my own desire. The similarity I found between these readings was that in one way or another, the speakers are enlightening the reader to make their own decisions, as long as their satisfied with it, because it doesn’t always matter what other people think of your opinions and choices. What matters is that your decisions will make a difference to you.
In Bharati Mukherjee’s “A Father”, the daughter, known as Babli, escapes from the normal expectation in the process of becoming pregnant. Babli’s mother is seen trying to strike Babli with a rolling pin, when Mr. Bhowmick steps in and stops this from happening. When he later hears why she attempted to do this, he becomes infuriated by the fact that she became pregnant by a certified donor. Babli states, “Who needs a man… Men louse up your lives. I just want a baby” (Mukherjee 914). Despite the approval of her parents, Babli made her own decision, which she saw as the appropriate resolution. It is ultimately her decision that matters, and she refused the concern of her parents when making the choice for the father of her baby to be a bottle and syringe.
In Stephanie Shapiro’s “Serving up Hope”, Bridget and Galen Sampson relate their story of giving back to their community. The way in which they achieve this is by offering jobs to people who don’t appear to have the greatest destiny, due to things getting in the way of their lives, such as drugs. Bridget Sampson says that their endeavors might appear unrealistic, but she affirms, "I'm trying to make the world a better place, as corny as that may sound" (Shapiro 3). Despite the fact that turning someone’s life around who is struggling with an addiction may be unrealistic, Bridget Sampson maintains high hopes and is satisfied that she is making a difference in the world. A particular individual the Sampson’s gave a job to, Lewis, confirms her satisfaction by saying, "They made me see that what I think does matter. It makes a world of difference" (Shapiro 4).
Finally, in Richard Hague’s “Directions for Resisting the SAT”, the speaker clearly displays his attitude for how people are to make their decisions. In particular, he stresses the fact that decisions should be made by an individual with no outside influence. Hague states, “Speak nothing like English… and follow no directions. Listen to no one” (Hague 270). These lines address the reader by saying there are no rules in life, and even if there are, they don’t need to be followed. The only rules that exist are the ones you set on yourself because your decisions should be limitless. One of Hague’s most important messages comes from the final line, which reads: “Make your marks on everything” (Hague 270). This idea supports the fact that every decision you make leaves a part of you behind with it, as if you are leaving a legacy so that you will never be forgotten. Ultimately, it is the decisions we make that people will always remember us for, whether those decisions were good or bad – just make sure you are satisfied with those decisions.