Thank you for taking the time to read this essay. Please grade me out of 12 and give me some feedback!Prompt:
"Nowadays nothing is private: our culture has become too confessional and self-expressive. People think that to hide one's thoughts or feelings is to pretend not to have those thoughts or feelings. They assume that honesty requires one to express every inclination and impulse."
Adapted from J. David Velleman, "The Genesis of Shame"
Should people make more of an effort to keep some things private?Essay:
Contrary to Velleman's opinions, I believe that our society is not expressive enough! There are still many who are forced to keep their thoughts and feelings private, especially those from mental health issues, due to conflicting social stigma.
Andreas Lubitz is one of those people. As copilot of Germanwings flight 9525, Lubitz committed suicide by flying the plane into the French Alps, killing all 150 on board the Boeing 737. Months before the calamity, Lubitz was diagnosed with suicidal tendencies and flagged "unfit to work" by a doctor. However, he hid this information from his employer-in fear of termination on grounds of mental sickness-and continued to fly for Germanwings. If Lubitz was not economically pressured to keep his depression private and sought medical attention for his illness, the Germanwings crash would not have occurred. And yet, Lubitz's bottled feelings made him so detached from his life that he was willing to kill 149 other people along with himself.
Fictional characters are no exception. Holden Caulfield, protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye, is haunted by a traumatic event that occurred when he was thirteen: the loss of his little brother, Allie, to leukemia. Ever since, Holden has lost the will to live. He has dropped out of four different private schools, refused to make friends with others, and wanders around the slums of New York City during the duration of the novel. Many times within the novel, Holden expresses the desire to confide his feelings to someone-be it his parents, his little sister, his childhood crush, or his upperclassman-but every time the conversation goes sour. Holden wants to make his depression public and seek psychiatric help, but has nobody to talk to, and as a result, Holden continues to suffer from his suicidal thoughts.
Andreas Lubitz and Holden Caulfield are not special cases. There are an estimated one million hikikomori living in Japan, people defined by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Warfare as refusing to leave their homes and isolating themselves from society for a period of over six months. Almost all hikikomori are young men, between 13 and 30, who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Combined with the stress from the harsh Japanese educational system, many young people do not see a reason to keep working to have a low chance of becoming employed in the recessing Japanese economy. Those with mental illness in face of this futility try to shut society out and slowly become hikikomori. As with Lubitz and Holden, psychiatric care is looked down upon in Japan. Parents often force their children to keep quiet about their mental health, in fear of shame from the community, a longstanding Japanese tradition. Unfortunately, most hikikomori are able to leave their houses only after psychiatric care.
Velleman's words are somewhat offensive, as they suggest that keeping emotions private is a trivial task and a common courtesy. For Andreas Lubitz, Holden Caulfield, and the one million hikikomori living in Japan, this bottling of emotions only further deteriorates the lives of those who need medical attention for their mental health issues.