Summary of the Article
Anna Quindlen, in Monsters, articulates the imaginations harbored in childhood, which later turns out to be false in adulthood. Quindlen begins with a description of the “monsters” that children believe live in their bedrooms. The story describes how age and experience shape individual outlook and thoughts by helping people to overcome their childhood imaginations. Children often seek explanations from their parents for the ‘mysteries’ they perceive in their young world. Some hold false thoughts and imaginations, which, however, become obsolete as they grow older and learn new things on their own.
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Although Quindlen admits that ‘no monsters’ live under her child’s bed, she does not tell him so; instead, she leaves him to find out on his own. The author goes on to explore the various ‘monsters’ that metaphorically exist in people’s lives. She describes how, in adulthood, the thief, the creditor, or even a romantic breakup is the ‘monster’ that people fear in their lives. The author concludes that children transcend their fears and imaginations through self-driven learning and personal experiences.
Our childhood is largely influenced by parental and societal factors. However, as we grow older, through a process of self-realization, perceptions, values, attitudes, and beliefs are redefined and new perspectives are developed on various issues. My childhood was largely shrouded in unreliability and uncertainty. As a child of devout Catholic parents, the religious views I held were largely influenced by my parents. Both of my parents were loving people who emphasized on the importance of good Christian morals and values.
We, as a family, always recited the rosary, were always punctual in church, and never failed to attend church events and ceremonies. I remember them instructing us to always recite the Lord’s Prayer and the rosary before going to bed.
I schooled in Catholic elementary schools, which played a big role in shaping my perceptions about religion and life’s purpose. Despite the Catholic upbringing, I had always wanted to explore the other world religions and learn their doctrines and beliefs about the supernatural world and the universe. As a student in high school, I liked participating in interreligious dialogue and unions. I enjoyed sharing views and beliefs with others, especially students from Protestant and Muslim backgrounds.
After high school, I decided to pursue theology in college, which, in my opinion, explains the mysteries that surround the origin of the universe, life’s purpose, and mankind’s destiny. I believed that a course in theology would provide answers to some of these questions.
Moreover, I thought that understanding the world’s religions would help me learn and appreciate the various religious perspectives. I had also intended to pursue Protestantism as a preferred religion later in life. I knew my parents would strongly oppose the decision to pursue a different doctrine, but would not object to the decision to study theology in college. I later joined college and changed my religious affiliation to Protestantism.
In college, the encounter and interaction with Protestant believers was a major turning point in my life as they walked me through the Protestant beliefs and practices. I learned their fundamental beliefs and decided to profess the Protestant doctrine. I also pursued theology and studied world religions in college, which helped redefine and reevaluate my attitudes and beliefs about religion. Before completing college, I went home and informed my parents of the new-found religion. At first, they were shocked to learn that I had decided to leave Catholicism but resolved to support me in my spiritual journey.
Before joining college, I had not been exposed to many cultures and religions. I even harbored negative perceptions and attitudes towards other cultures and religions. My upbringing in a Catholic background had transformed me into a religious bigot, who could not accommodate other people’s religious views and perspectives. However, in college, I was able to interact with people from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
Moreover, by studying theology, I was able to reevaluate my beliefs and learn to tolerate divergent views. I learned the importance of multiculturalism in dispelling negative attitudes in society and in promoting interreligious harmony.
The experience in college marked a turning point in my life as I was able to relate well with people from other cultures as well as those professing a different religion. It helped me to learn and appreciate the diversity of cultures. Previously, owing to my Catholic upbringing, I was so passionate about Catholic beliefs and indifferent to other people’s opinions and perspectives on philosophical issues. I often avoided discussions about world philosophies and religions.
As a child, I was taught by my parents that the doctrines professed by the other religions are untrue. I had intended to follow in their footsteps in my adulthood. However, my experience in college helped me rediscover and redefine a new religious perspective. I now believe in a just society where everyone has a right to profess his or her religion without fear of discrimination or prejudice.