A Narrative Essay on Faith
As humans, we have always wanted to believe in something. Ranging from religion to other people, we are always finding something to see as greater than us. This belief can even stretch to only believing in ourselves. Has the way our belief system functions evolved over time? How do we even find something like that out? In order to answer many other cultural enigmas, we turn to a specific century’s media. By reading between the lines, we are able to extract the full story. A period's media shares the culture, values, and morals. Everything is concealed in the words and actions of the stories, especially in literature. Belief began blind, and it has matured into a personal decision based on our own introspect.
So, how has our style of beliefs changed? In Chaucer’s The Cantebury Tales: The Prioresses Tale, we read a perfect example of that period’s blind belief. The story of the boy’s innocence and faith describes the mentality of people from this time. At least, this is how they tried to believe. Flash forward to the current period, we have a plethora of mass media to provide insight on how we form our belief system. The popular 2000’s TV show, Psych, is a prime example of how we form our own personal beliefs. The storyline of Psych follows a long moral: how much do we trust in what we value. Allow us take a look at the beginning of this chain of change, starting with Chaucer’s story.
The Prioresses Tale begins by setting the scene of the traveling troop. The Prioress sings in honor of Mother Mary, praying for her to grant the Prioress the ability to tell an honorable story. Psalms VIII contains a comparison of a child’s innocence with the ideal path of belief. (INSERT PSALMS QUOTE IN TEXT). This is the preamble for the true demonstration. We open up to a boy who loves the Mother Mary so much, he learns a song in her honor. He sings it twice everyday, but there is a catch. He has unaware of the meaning behind the lyrics. Yet he persists, so intensely that he ends up murdered by a group of “cursed” Jews. Despite having his throat slit, the boy survives by his faith, and has a grain bestowed on him by Mother Mary. (insert textual quote)
The Prioress relays this as an example of the churches expectation towards their followers. The followers of the church tried to embody the boy's innocence in their own beliefs. They had unfailing trust in the clergy, and thus in God. It reigned as a power play from the church, and in major part to the limited media. Lower classes, aka ‘everyone else’, had no access to books themselves. The everyday people were focused on surviving in the world and providing for their families. When they went to church, they did not have the means or the interest to investigate for themselves. They were to have (insert child’s innocence quote) towards everything preached at them. Having analyzed between the lines, it is a safe assumption that this period put a lot of stock in religion. Now, allow us to traverse time to our own period of existence.
From the year 2007 to the year 2015, Psych aired its series on the CW. The series followed Shawn Spencer, an unemployed young man. Shawn had an acute interpretation of detail. Shawn would help the police via hotline on cases, until the police accused him of being a criminal. The accusation formed because of his gift and how often he was able to pick out the real criminals. Shawn, having a mental age of 10, instead of telling the truth, claims to be psychic. He and the police department traverse on cases. During these adventures, Shawn runs into a multitude of people. Some believe in his ‘heavenly gift’. Others ...do not, (Insert carlton lassiter quote). This array of different personalities showcases how our personal experiences dictate our beliefs. This process is common in our age.
Psych has shown introspect into how our modern belief system works. We had many characters that believed with unwavering faith, (insert unwavering faith quote). This mirrored the traditional way of believing. People similar to this trope are more likely to be from traditional or passionate backgrounds. Others had more skepticism, (insert quote). These people represented those who held a more realistic expectation of others. They took into consideration that humans decieve and have selfish agendas. Both groups made their decisions based on their own personal experiences. The followers believed in the traditions and made that choice. With strong similarity, the skeptics made their decisions based on their experiences. The modern age finds itself leaning towards our beliefs to be personal revelations.
Both The Prioresses Tale and Psych display the beliefs of the past and current times. Going through texts in the between times, we are able to see the small changes and how they have evolved. We started our existence believing in things with a child-like innocence. We followed the clergy without question because we stayed uninformed. We had other matters to concern ourselves with. As the human race aged to what we are now, our beliefs changed. We became introspective. We decided on our beliefs for ourselves. We began picking and choosing parts to create a unique experience. Belief became less about what the mass thought from the church’s influence. It became what we as individuals chose to believe in.
We have changed. Change is what humans are proficient at, whether it is voluntary or not. Often times, we do not even notice the change. The literature we look into allows us to pin point moments in time when it was different and then trace the change. Our beliefs are one of those traceable changes. Chaucer’s The Prioresses Tale and Psych are two specific media outlets that convey the change. Beliefs are powerful. We shape most of our lives in accordance to our beliefs. It is quite eye opening to witness how different it was in the 15th century. We see how their lives are so different from ours now, all because of belief. I’m strongly confident it will change even more and someday. We never know, they may be analyzing our literature years from now.
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