July 22, 2008

Human Nature

My quote was taken from Louis L’Amour’s book, Lonesome Gods found on page, 251. “Yet no doubt the Indians thought all white men strange, for our ways and different from theirs and each people is apt to consider their own ways as ‘human nature,’ not realizing they were merely a pattern imposed upon them by rearing, by education, by the behavior of those with whom they associated.” Because Don Isidro was caught up by his own “human nature” he led a very unhappy, destructive, and lonely life. Miss Nesselrode chose to break away from her “human nature” and found happiness and enjoyed a very fulfilling life.

“Don Isidro had fierce pride in a name whose reputation had been won by others and to which he had contributed nothing. He had fled to this country to keep from his peers a knowledge he deemed disgraceful (the birth of a giant son, Alfredo, who would be his natural heir,) and he had driven his daughter (son-in-law, and grandson, Johannes) from his door for the same reason. Now a lonely and embittered man, he was left with nothing.”(pg 372) Don Federico (a distant relative that could inherit Isidro’s estate) sensed Don Isidro’s passionate weakness of pride and preyed upon it. In the end, Dona Elena explains to her brother that, “He has been your evil genius, always at your elbow, advising or suggesting. I think you would have relented long ago had it not been for Federico.” (pg 515) It was Don Federico who had wanted to kill Johannes in the desert instead of just leaving him there, as his grandfather insisted. This event will haunt Don Isidro for the rest of his life. If Don Isidro had not surrounded himself with such an evil associate as Don Federico, he may have chosen to break away from his upbringing (human nature) and instead, accepted, loved and cherished his grandson. “The little one” he muttered. “He called me grandpa.”

Miss Nesselrode was a woman whose “heart was made of iron.” She fled her country to ours as a felon. Her crime stemmed from being raised by a family who were deemed traitors that were banished and then almost executed. As the sole survivor of her family, she decides to break away from her “human nature” and start a new life in California. Miss Nesselrode listens and watches for opportunities to contribute to the growing community of Los Angeles by opening a bookshop that allows the business men to come and relax and talk in her presences, where she may not have otherwise heard their schemes. She surrounds herself with good friends and associates. She opens her heart and home to Johannes where his grandfather does not. She lives a very successful, rich and happy life.

They main difference between these two characters is whom they choose to associate with after they move to California. Both have chosen to come here for a chance at a new life. But whom they surround themselves with shapes their destinies for them. Therefore, we may not have a choice about our past upbringing that determines our “human nature,” but each of us has a choice about what our future will become by whom we collaborate ourselves with. Thus we can always change our future “human nature.”