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Tara Raju's picture

Week Eleven

Cultural evolution cannot be defined in just one subject matter. Cultural evolution is a broader more complex topic that has to be explored through many subject matters including science, math, history and english. I feel that it is in the convergence of these topics and finding the commonalities in time, concepts, new ways to thinking that specific points along this cultural evolution emerge. In my sophmore year of high school, I was a student in Honors American Studies which was a one and half class that sought to explore the convergence between literature and history. We explored certain eras of history while reading literature that correlated with that specific time period. I feel as though the merging of these two subjects allowed for a greater understanding of what was being read. Like this class, the synergy of the two subject matters allows for a broader understanding of what cultural evolution is. The course I would design would most likely draw on a myriad of subject matters.

For example, in 1969 Maya Angelou published "I know why the cage bird sings", a time period in which literature was reflecting the opression of African Americans. But that is also a time in which math and science advanced to a point where the human race had finally reached the moon. 1969 marked a year in history of great changes and was a pivotal year in the cultural fabric of America. It is that complex relationship between all these different areas that defines cultural evolution.

But Hustvedt seems to be embracing evolution in a different way in her individal characters. Erik, for instance, explores the present by utilizing his past memories which in turn leads to change within himself- he experiences an internal evolution. Erik allows himself to remember playing with his sister, has to cope with the loss of his father, discovering secrets about the family and other griefs. It is the culmination of these situations that allows for an inner strength to be developed and changes him to into "a man [he] had not expected".  

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