In Hindsight, a New Perspective

On page 38 of Exile and Pride, Clare explains that when he and a long term friend reached the age where one goes to college, he found himself disappointed when he was applying to go to college and she was planning to be married. Clare uses the term “copping out” to describe what he felt his friend was doing. I find this term interesting because it reveals Clare’s preconception of what someone should be doing. In turn, we see more of Clare’s biases and judgements as his younger self. When he uses the term “copping out”, we can understand that he believes college should be an obvious next step for a high school senior. This belief in itself shows the privilege and narrow world view of a young Clare. Unfortunately, college is a luxury and a privilege rather than a right—an idea which is often misconstrued by middle and upper class people who are raised by parents who also pursued higher education. This fact was also true for Clare—though he acknowledges that this was not true for many people who lived in his town. Later, Clare explains that in hindsight he realized his friend had to get married because of financial hardships caused by the loss of her father. He reflects on the situation with understanding and some disdain for his former self’s opinion. In a similar change of heart, Clare acknowledges that he did not know best for himself either. He found himself missing his home town, even though he had spent his former years wishing to escape.

I found Clare’s experience was closely related to the idea of Metronormativity. A younger Clare hoped to move out of his small, neighborly town. But when he actually did, he felt even more out of place and longed to return. I think Clare’s story shows us that it is natural when one idea or decision feels so big that it dictates our life. However, we must be able to empathize with our own needs or those of others when those big choices aren’t exactly right.

One thought on “In Hindsight, a New Perspective”

  1. I really like how you articulated Clare’s progression through inclusive activism throughout his life, and I think this has really important implications for how we approach personal growth. As you said, Clare was raised in a small logging town that instilled many ignorant ideals about the progressivism metropolitan activists strive for. When he moved away, he got to expand his thinking to involve more of an activist perspective. In doing this, he was able to use his experience of growing up in such a small town to inform his ability to critique the very binaried nature of metropolitan ideals. For me, this illustrates two things: 1) we all have the capacity to transcend the ignorance we were raised with, and 2) there is much more value in using that past ignorance to inform our thoughts and behaviors than trying to escape that version of ourselves completely.

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