A Good Read: An Essay

519546I have tried many times to explain who I am, at all different points in my life. I have used up pages and pages trying to convey all the different and conflicting attributes of my personality. I have used my interests, my reactions to situations, the way I think, what I believe in, some significant experiences, my aspirations, my fears, and my deepest innermost emotions to try to define what makes me who I am and separates me from the rest of the world. I have tried to find what makes me an individual, unique in my own way. Each time I have tried I always have come away feeling that I am too complex to explain, or maybe that I am no different from anyone else.

Then, over the course of eighth and ninth grade I read the six-part series by Christopher Pike called The Last Vampire series. They sound like books that are just simple thrillers for young readers, and for someone at a younger age, that is really all they are. However, I read the series earlier this year at a much deeper level and was amazed at what I found. There is really significant material within the lines of the books.

After the first reading, I finished the last book feeling different, but I could not easily put my finger on the reason why. I felt a sense of tranquility that I was unaccustomed to.

After rereading it recently, I feel as though I have learned many things, although again it is hard to say exactly what. The story is told by a five-thousand-year-old vampire named Sita. The voice with which she writes is extremely powerful. The reader follows her through countless situations, and experiences the emotions along with her. The irony is that Sita is a vampire and considers herself a monster, but just about everything she does it simply out of love for humanity, and all who meet her in her story are forever touched and enriched. She considers herself to be,, and first appears to be, very selfish, but turns out to be unendingly giving. She often uses all her power and risks her life so that life on earth will continue. She has seen the world through all its changes and Pike uses much historical background in creating her character. Sita has known moments of great happiness that others will never know, but at the same time she has lost so much because she has outlived everyone she has cared for. There is also much spiritual material throughout the series, because of Sita’s own religious beliefs, and also her moral battles with herself.

A reader cannot help but wonder at the many moments of great beauty, smile at Sita’s triumphs, cry at the scenes containing great sorrow, feel pride whenever she succeeds, and absorb some of her radiating power. Sita relies greatly on her own inner strength and intuition. One of the best things, though, is how throughout the whole story Sita continues to learn. Even though she is, in the story, essentially the oldest living being, she never assumes she knows everything. Her whole life is a process of learning. Each day she acquires more knowledge about herself, and lessons about life in general. With her long life one might expect her to be cynical and jaded by all she has seen, and in some ways she is, but in truth she still has the innocence of a young child. She is faced with many difficult situations and always manages to survive.

It is really difficult to describe all the different aspects of Sita. One only knows her for six relatively short books, but her character leaves a lasting impression on readers. After reading the series again, it took me a while to sort out all the conflicting emotions I felt. I definitely knew that the series inspired me to look deeper at, and rely on, my inner self and my true feelings. I felt as though I had somehow, through reading the books, been let in on a big secret about life itself, but I could not say what the secret was. It seemed it was enough to have read her story and that the knowledge would come later. I truly felt as though I had traveled with Sita throughout the ages and learned all she had, although there was no concrete lesson. I certainly felt a peace of mind that almost startled me. I felt I could rely on the fact that things would eventually work out one way or the other, and that if they didn’t, I could still survive.

There was one thing I can honestly say the series taught me, though. I thought about how complex and full of conflicting ideas and emotions Sita was, and how I often felt the same way about myself though I hadn’t experienced one-tenth of what Sita had. It occurred to me that it would be almost impossible to describe Sita and define who she was. It dawned on me that no one can be easily defined or categorized, no matter how old they are or how many pages one uses up trying to do so. Instead, who a person is, is really the whole of all a person has felt and experienced during their life. Each person goes through so much, with others and with their own mind and conscience, that they can only be defined by what they have gone through, thought, dreamt, felt, done, where they have been and, most importantly, what they have learned, and that this is added to every day of each person’s life. Only the total of one’s life can illustrate who they really are.

This can also be used to explain how each person is different, and essentially the same. No two people have fought exactly the same battles, been faced with the same situations, interacted with the same people or been dealt the same cards in life. Each person is therefore unique and has their own individual perspective. At the same time, much of what people experience is similar. Just the fact that everyone has their own demons to battle and their own roads to follow, can also unite people. People who would otherwise be completely different may have lived totally separate lives, but the fact that htey are always learning, about themselves and their surroundings, always adding to the story of who they are, brings people together in a basic way.

~~~

Another old piece of writing, this was something I wrote during my senior year of high school. It wasn’t for any school assignment, just because I felt inspired to write it out. I was all about trying to discover spiritual truths or some stuff back then, and all about writing whether I “had to” or not, and usually more when I didn’t have to. This essay actually won me first place in my school’s essay contest, for some reason. It got published in the school lit mag (which is actually where I got it from to type it up on here) and won me fifty bucks, which helped pay for prom expenses. Oh the life of a teenager writer.

Please check out other writing samples here, including lots of more recent work. Click here to read published works. And here are more embarrassing high school era stories and early works.

~Emilia J

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