Self-as-Character Assignment: Eight Examples

Reflections

Zachary Volosky

I am not an attractive person. I do not think so at least. I am sure there are people who look worse than I do, but I cannot think of a time when I have looked in the mirror and thought “Zach, you’re a good looking guy.” In fact, I remember a time in the seventh grade when I looked in the mirror and thought just the opposite. I do not say things like this to fish for compliments from others (although that is something that someone who fishes for compliments would say,) but I say this because it is what I think.

Yes, I have low self-esteem. Perhaps it is a radicalization of the humility I was raised to have, just taken to the extreme by some other fault in my personality. Or perhaps it is the fact that I was bullied by a friend I had from the first to the seventh grade, who made my life miserable in order to feel better about the problems he was having at home. It is likely the latter although it really does not matter; the effect remains the same. My self-esteem has never been a personal quality I have been proud of. Maybe it is why I have found an interest in fashion; to dress myself up and look fabulous on the outside so that I could feel fabulous on the inside. That makes the interest sound shallow and superficial which is something that I have also been struggling with. When you dedicate your life to studying a superficial and materialistic industry, you tend to run into some conflicts with your Catholic-raised morality.

I guess I do have good qualities as well. I am remarkably average. I do not mean “average” in the “I’m just an Average Joe doing Average-Joe-things” kind of way. I mean I am five-foot-nine and one-hundred and fifty pounds, the average height and weight of an American man that is eighteen to twenty years old. I am decently strong and fit but I do not look like Ryan Gosling when I take off my shirt no matter how many crunches I do. I have long legs and a short torso which has always given me luck when running. I also cannot hear out of my left ear. This is something that I act like bothers me less than it really does. Having people run to my left side upon learning this and saying ridiculous things followed by “Did you hear that?” does get frustrating after the first fifty or so times. It’s something that I have learned to deal with since the fifth grade and I believe that I have dealt with it quite well. Unfortunately, when I am in large groups at parties or any other place with significant background noise and a conversation is happening around me that I cannot participate in because I cannot hear, I happen to feel quite alone. It is an odd feeling but one that is able to be dealt with. Apart from my body, there are aspects about my personality I do rather like.

I try to be really nice to people, especially females. No, that is not just a ruse to try to get them to like me and sleep with me or something, as some people think. It is because I refuse to let chivalry die. I like to fantasize that I am one of those cute, short, bald monks that don’t say much and live like hermits and I would just travel the country and tell women that they were pretty. I feel like some women deserve to be told that because they do not hear it enough.

I also have this overwhelming urge to help people. I remember on the first date I went on with my current girlfriend, a waiter at the restaurant we were at dropped a tray of plates and they shattered at his feet. I got down to help him pick the pieces although I did end up cutting myself on one of the pieces. I just could not see not helping him. This sounds like a good quality but it does usually end up with me getting hurt in some way. I do not mind though. Someone has to do the things that others might not want to do, even if it does mean hurting themselves. It might as well be me getting hurt.

Discussion Questions

  • Why would somebody want to read this piece (the “Who cares?” factor)?
  • Can you clearly identify the author’s intention for the piece?
  • How well does the author support the intention of the piece? Cite specific details that support or take away from the author’s intention.
  • Is there information missing from this piece that would make its intention clearer? What else would you like to know?
  • Does the author portray herself as a round character? How does she do this?
  • Do you trust the author of this piece? Why or why not?
  • How clearly does the author establish a sense of setting/space in this piece? Cite specific details that support your claim.
  • How clearly does the author establish characters other than the self in this piece? Cite specific details that support your claim.
  • Did you learn anything new from reading this piece? If so, what?
  • Are there particular passages with engaging language/description that stood out to you? Describe the appeal of these passages.
  • Would you read more writing from this author? Why or why not?

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