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The Study of Life Below the Surface

In the novel, “Freakonomics,” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, many topics and their hidden sides are brought up that not many people think twice about. This book has no one theme. Instead, it is about “stripping a layer or two from the surface of modern life and seeing what is happening underneath.”(Levitt and Dubner, 2005, pg. 11) They are not looking at the surface of common occurrences or issues, but passed what most people see. They explain the hidden side to everything. This ranges from topics about choosing your child’s name to how guns affect the crime rate.
Initially, this book did not strike me as an “interesting read.” I correlated the title to the Economics class I was forced to take in High School, which ultimately eradicated any fascination I had with the topic. However, after reading the book I found that Levitt’s and Dubner’s take on society and their hidden motivations were much more interesting than I originally thought. After finishing the book, I realized how a lot of what they discussed was relevant to my life. The relevance helped get me engaged with the book.
As explained in the previous paragraphs, there are multiple themes displayed in the book. The first theme was their study of how incentives are the root behind people’s motivations. How they were able to compare sumo wrestlers and school teachers was eye-opening. Levitt and Dubner have taken two things I would have never thought had any similarities, and made a comparison. Incentives play into daily life more than we realize. Sumo wrestlers use incentives to get ahead in their careers, while school teachers are guilty of the same exact thing. Levitt and Dubner bring these, as well as many other issues to light.
Another comparison they made was…

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…s specific material to friends and relatives. I feel it will encourage them to make sure they are in a good place emotionally and financially before they decide to have a child, since these are the qualities that affect how well children do in school. This material could also help parents who are worried they don’t do enough to help their child do better in school.
This novel can easily be compared to the topics I’ve learned about in class. Topics covered in the classroom are the importance of thinking critically about things in day-to-day life. Levitt’s and Dubner’s book is an excellent example of the things that can be produced from thinking critically about the world around us. Being a critical thinker aids people in making intelligent and educated decisions.

Works Cited

Levitt, S. D. Dubner, S. J. (2005) Freakonomics. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers

An Unwilling Hamlet

In the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the main character, Hamlet is an unwilling creature. In having to enter and act in the world of his uncle, Hamlet becomes an unwilling creature of that world. When he chooses to obey the ghost’s command and revenge his father, Hamlet accepts the inevitability that he must become part of this world. As the ripple of original vengeful intent widens and Hamlet is slowly but surely entangled in Claudius’ brutal world through his madness, his murders, his plots, his relationship with other characters and his revelations on life and more importantly, death.

Even before the ghost urges Hamlet to avenge his death, Hamlet teeters on the edge of his uncle’s brutal world. While never evil in intent Hamlet is simply one of the finest tragic heroes. Caught between his agony of mind and indecision Hamlet’s nature is neither treacherous like Claudius’ nor rash like Laertes’. This combination of values carries only tragedy when one such as Hamlet suffers such a fate as he did. Prior to his dead father’s prompting, Hamlet is already devoured by melancholy over the loss of Old Hamlet and his mother’s “o’er hasty” marriage to Claudius. This suggests that Hamlet was already inexorably linked to his Uncle’s brutal world. “It is not, nor it cannot come to good.” (Act1, Scene2)

Hamlet also feels jealousy towards his mother as their relationship goes beyond that of a normal parent/child relationship. While perhaps not sexual, their mere fifteen years age difference has enclosed them in a very close-knit co-dependant affair. “You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife, And, would it not so, you are my mother.” (Act3, Scene4) This jealousy and hatred Hamlet feels is close…

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Works Cited

delman, Janet. 1985. ‘Male Bonding in Shakespeare’s Comedies.’ In Shakespeare’s Rough Magic: Renaissance Essays in Honor of C.L. Barber, edited by Peter Erickson and Coppélia Kahn. Cranbury and London: Associated University Presses, 73-103.

Adelman, Janet. 1992. Suffocating Mothers: Fantasies of Maternal Origin in Shakespeare’s plays, ‘Hamlet’ to ‘The Tempest’. London and New York: Routledge.

Alexander, Nigel. 1971. Poison, Play and Duel: A Study in Hamlet. London: Routledge.

Barber, C. L., and Wheeler, Richard P. 1986. The Whole Journey: Shakespeare’s Power of Development. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.

Partridge, Eric. 1947. Shakespeare’s Bawdy. London and New York: Routledge.

Rubinstein, Frankie. 1984. A Dictionary of Shakespeare’s Sexual Puns and their Significance. London: MacMillan.

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