Jordan Galloway
Critical Reading/ENG 101-905
Essay Title: Encouraging Learning
Author: Hsun Tzu
Summary: In this essay, Encouraging Learning, real life and nature examples were given to go in depth about the main point of this essay. This essay was all about continuously learning, and not necessarily within the school system, but through life and self-education and studying ancient rulers. Not all ancient rulers are correct, but they're wise and have experienced and taught things we can learn from to make us wiser beings.
Definitions: virtue - behavior showing high moral standards; goodness
Phenomenon - a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question; event; occurrence
Quote: "Thus if wood is pressed against a straightening board, it can be made straight; if metal is put to the grindstone, it can be sharpened; and if the gentleman studies widely and each day examines himself, his wisdom will become clear and his conduct be without fault." (Tzu 6).
Interpretation: In other words, Tzu is saying that it's your choice to improve yourself and your own mind. The more you study, the wiser you become. The more work and effort you put into yourself, your demeanor will be recognized, you won't be mediocre.
This essay stood out to me because of the way the author describes learning, this is another essay that not only inspired me but made me look into myself. I was able to be introspective and really see what position I'm at in life right now. The author made this essay very deep because he used real life examples and metaphors, such as birds, people, wood, metal, fire, trees, etc. He compared things in nature and events of the past to how people can become wiser and continuously learn everyday of their life. He also used himself as an example which helped people relate. My favorite quote, "I once tried spending the whole day in thought, but I found it of less value than a moment of study." (Tzu 6) It helped me relate and go into deep thought because I spend many days in my emotions and in my thoughts, even my ideas that don't leave my head. It may be good to be in deep thought sometimes, but it's less helpful and can sometimes stunt your growth. Whereas studying can only benefit you, it's more value to your mind. I agree with this text, I love the thought it put me in and the push it gave me. The only thing I questioned was the quote, "The gentleman is by birth no different from any other man; it is just that he is good at making use of things." I didn't necessarily disagree because in general terms, it can be true. But, sometimes people are born different whether it's a disability or sometimes born into fortune. Other than that, this essay really spoke to me.




Tsu, Hsun. "Encouraging Learning". Reading the World: Ideas That Matter, Third Ed. Edited by Michael Austin, WW Norton & Co NY, 2015