I reviewed the essay What Makes Me Feel Big written by J. Frank Dobie. In this essay, he talks about his personal beliefs. However, his beliefs are not just religious beliefs. He hits on almost every topic, such as honesty, and personal values. Dobie also writes about what he believes in beautiful. “For me, the beautiful resides in the physical, but it is spiritual…Not all hard truths are beautiful, but beauty is truth.” This essay makes him sound like someone who believes in many things, but knows who they truly are. He can believe in evolution and thinks it is fine to have faith, if you do not do so blindly. Dobie likes people thinking, having their own thought and mind. He doesn’t want to be part of the status-quo or just another blank face. He enjoys the simple things of life and his mind relentlessly thinks about freedom, justice, truth, and goodness.
J. Frank Dobie wrote, “However, I believe in questionings, doubtings, searchings, skepticism, and I discredit credulity or blind faith.” This can relate to The Power of One written by Bryce Courtenay. Peekay during Sunday school would always have some questions to ask the teacher, searching for more insight on a religion he was skeptical about in the first place. However, the teacher, Mrs. Kostler, who has blind faith, discouraged Peekay to ask any more questions. “We mustn’t question the wisdom of the Lord. When you are born again, you’ll understand his infinite wisdom and you won’t ask such silly questions.” (258) Peekay still hasn’t really understood the whole Christian “thing” and constantly doubts the Lord’s powers and his followers. Peekay throughout the novel had a constant questioning mind, always looking for more answers. Dobie also wrote, “I make no pretense to having rid myself of all prejudices, but at times when I have discovered myself freed from certain prejudices, I have felt rare exhilaration.” Throughout the book, we have seen that Peekay isn’t as racist as most people then, but yet still isn’t completely freed of being a prejudice. The same day Mrs. Kostler told Peekay to stop asking questions, Peekay had asked if black was equal to white in heaven. After a hard explanation, Peekay goes and asks, “Will they still work for us?” (258) He still sees blacks as workers and below him, however he later says, “The photograph captured the exact moment when I understood with conviction that racism is a primary force of evil designed to destroy good men.” (265) So in this way Peekay is very similar to Dobie, he can be racist, but yet knows it’s wrong.
I can relate to this essay because I like to focus on the good things and what makes me happy, or “big”. In the essay, it states, “We actually believe in what we value most. Outside of the realms of carnality and property, which men appearing in public generally pretend not to notice, I believe in and draw nourishment from whatever makes me feel big.” I believe in my family and friends, which are the most important thing in my life. They make me smile and make me strive to be a better person. I believe in the people that give me hope when I am down. When people start believing in things that either don’t help them or isn’t something/someone they should believe in, they can become hurt, estranged, or dangerous. I make an effort to believe in the good things in life. If you keep looking at the negative, it won’t get any better. Why dwell in sorrow?