The Strange Thing About Strangers

After reading Toni Morrison’s “Strangers” I felt like I had a huge revelation guided by her insights. Why is it that our immediate reaction to meeting someone new, whether conscious or subconscious, is to note the differences. We see a woman on the side of the street and look at her raggedy clothes and make a judgement “she’s homeless”. And then we develop complete back stories to what she is and how she got there. Meanwhile we could be thinking that that woman walks on the same street as me everyday, she could’ve gone to the same school and saw the same people but those aren’t the distinctions we make. It’s a weird connection our brain creates, but in strangers we do see little parts of ourselves that we just deny. We see people we’ve been, want to be or have become. There are overlaps among all people, and since we know ourselves the best it’s only natural that we would recognize our own traits in others.

The inclusion of Robert Bergman’s portraits really increased the intensity of this point about strangers. With each picture I was first thrown into a story that could have been theirs. Then after reading this paper I reversed and took in the mindset of what I appeared to have in common with these individuals. They are all versions of myself, the more different they seemed, the harder I worked to draw a parallel. I have had tired eyeslike theirs and I have been youthful. I will grow wiser like them, and even if I don’t age with the same experiences I just may cross paths with things they have encountered as well. Those pictures embody me, and I am just as familiar with those strangers as I am with myself.

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3 Responses to The Strange Thing About Strangers

  1. cjchumas says:

    I thought this was a really insightful blog post, and i really liked how you provided some of your own ideas and what you concluded from Morrison’s essay. I have to agree with you in saying that the “seeing” or more specifically, the judgement of strangers, is a direct reflection of ourselves. I think our judgement of strangers is a byproduct of our own self image, in that we judge based on things we wouldn’t accept in ourselves, things that we have been or done, and in worst cases, some judge on a sense of insecurity and envy. I also liked how you concluded your post, in implying that we are all alike in a sense of experience and emotion, and that we are all analogous in a sense.

  2. larissarios2013 says:

    Very insightful post. When we meet strangers, we build our own character of them. Sometimes we judge them by our first impression and develop our own opinions before getting to know them. We always say to never judge a book by the cover and sometimes I think we catch ourselves judging the book before even reading the title. We need to open the book and read between the lines that explain who the person really is. Nice post!

  3. larissarios2013 says:

    Whoops! Wrong blog! Sorry!

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