A Good Education Gone to Waste
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“His work seemed to him thin, commonplace, feeble. At times he felt his own weakness so fatally that he could not go on; when he had nothing to say, he could not say it, and he found that he had very little to say at best” (Adams 39). Having been born into the upper class, Henry Adams graduated from high school and then for him, “the next regular step was Harvard” (Adams 32). Through Adams essay, “The Education of Henry Adams”, it is clear that the education he received at Harvard was plagued by his negative mindset that was triggered by his social status and the history of his surname. Adams failure to find his passion for education can be attributed to his lack of motivation, his nonexistent personal achievement, and his feelings of social superiority.
Adams argues that, “the school created a type but not a will” (Adams 32). What Adams failed to realize during his years of education was that the student must find his own will. Whether ones will is to be the valedictorian or not is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that a college cannot provide a student with both an education and a will but it is important to ones maturing that they find and harness their own will. “Leaders of men it never tried to make” (Adams 32) explained Adams. This statement is once again placing
the burden of poor personal traits on the shoulders of the College. Schools, especially Harvard, provide excellent foundations for education for young men and women all over the country. Henry Adams, unfortunately, is a weak, rich, Bostonian who failed to pick up any leadership qualities in school and feels it is necessary to blame the school and not himself.
Besides Adams weak character it is his upper class status that deludes his philosophies of education. Adams never earned anything on his own. His acceptance to Harvard and his nomination to Class Orator were not based on his hard work or motivation. Henry Adams is poorly motivated because he never got to see for himself what one can achieve through hard work. Henry Adams is just another example of a social tragedy. Because he was surrounded by others in the same league as him he was never able to grow as a person. “Any other education would have required a serious effort, but no one took Harvard College seriously. All went there because their friends went there, and the College was their ideal of social self-respect” (Adams 32).
Having been born into an upper-middle class family myself, I am thankful that my parents raised me in such a way where I would not be just another social tragedy. My parents refused to pay for my car, gas, and education so that I could gain the full experience that life has to offer. Working late hours as a waiter and