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In the 18th century, the novelist Laurence Sterne wrote, “nobody, but he who has felt it can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling a contrary direction at the same time.” This statement by Laurence is true and is reflected in our day to day lives. There are many situations we are faced by in our lives, which are significant to our survival and we often have to choose what direction to take. These situations tend to be of equal importance, and by the conditions that we find ourselves in tend to demand us to forgo one of the opportunity that we have to pursue the other one.
These kinds of demanding and confusing situations are bound to happen in our lives, and all that counts at the end of the day is how we manage to deal with one of them and come up with the best choices out of them. This calls for soberness when making the decisions on which of the two projects to pursue. This situation calls for an individual to carry out an analysis on both, the costs and benefits of pursuing one project instead of the other. If the benefits of the project are more than the costs involved, it is advisable to go for the project rather than pursue the other project. Making a choice involves determining the opportunity cost of pursuing one project at the expense of the other project.
The same scenario of choosing one project at the expense of the other is also reflected in our lives. We are always faced with two situations that demand us to make a decision regarding them. For example, if you are wife and husband contemplating to take a divorce, and you have children to take into account before pursuing the option of divorce, this situation leaves the two parties in a dilemma. The parties involved are faced with two situations that are of equal importance in their lives. They have to take into account the future of their children who are going to be negatively affected by the divorce. At the same time they have their own personal interests that they have to pursue. These two situations are equally important to their lives and the parties have to be sober in order to make the right choice in life.
In the essay on The Warden by Anthony Trollope, the author brings the situations where some of the characters are being pulled in conflicting directions by their compelling desires, ambitions, obligations, or influences. They have to make a choice on what they intend to pursue, thereby they find themselves in dilemma. This essay takes into account one of the characters in the novel and describes how he or she overcomes this demanding situation in life.
John Bold is one of the major characters in the novel, The Warden by Antony Trollope. John Bold is faced with compelling desires, ambitions, obligations, as well as influences that pull his mind in conflicting directions. John Bold is a youthful doctor (surgeon) and a devoted member of the church. He has some interest in Harding’s daughter, Eleanor. Harding is the head of the church hospital. John has the compelling desire to bring equality in the way the hospital is run and managed.
He desires to see that reforms are achieved in the hospital, where so many disparities in terms of income usage and distribution are faced with conflicting wish to marry the daughter of the hospital head. John is faced with two equally important situations in his life. He is contemplating pursuing his ambitious goal to see reforms in the hospital, and at the same time he is concerned with forgoing the ambitions of helping the members of the public in order to marry the daughter of the hospital head. This kind of a scenario that John Bold finds himself in is so confusing and tends to pull his mind in conflicting directions. He has to decide on which direction he is going to take. He has to make his mind on whether to pursue his personal interests or public interests or pursue both of them at the same time. The situation that John Bold is in shows how we act having two compelling desires. The two interests are equally important to John because he has a desire to see equality in the way the hospital income is distributed among the stakeholders, and at the same time his interest in Eleanor Harding also carries some weight. John Bold’s scenario proves Laurence statement as being correct, as it clearly indicates that at time we have two compelling desires within us our minds are being pulled in conflicting direction. These situations call us to use logic in our reasoning so that we can up with the best desire to pursue that will help us reap maximum benefits from a given situation.
Another situation that John Bold finds himself in is one where his ambitions to see that there is equality in distribution of the income generated by the hospital, and it pushes him to file a law suit against the head of the hospital. He ends up finding himself in two compelling ambitions which pull his mind in two conflicting directions. He has the ambition of seeing that the management of the hospital is compelled by the court to reform the way income generated by the church hospital is distributed among the stakeholders. He is deeply disturbed by the fact that the top management tends to take the largest share of the income generated, while the support staffs of the church hospital ends up getting a small share. This disparity makes John Bold to pursue a law suit to help him see that the management of the hospital, which is headed by Harding, is compelled to reconsider to distribution mechanism. At the same time he has his personal ambitions of marrying the daughter of the hospital head, of whom he has filed a suit against. He is faced with a situation which demands him either to continue with the law suit against the management or to withdraw the suit so that he can win the heart of Eleanor Harding. John Bold ends up pursuing the goal of winning the heart of Harding’s daughter by withdrawing the suit at the expense of public interests.
Finally, there are two compelling obligations that John Bold has that pull his mind in two conflicting directions; he has the obligation toward the members of the public whereby he has to see to it that the church hospital is reformed. At the same time he has the obligation toward his father in-law, who has to be compensated for the pains he goes through as a result of being forced to withdraw from his post as the head of the church hospital. The two obligations toward these two different parties are equally important, and all of them have some benefits that they carry to both, John and the affected parties. He is faced with the dilemma of whether to fulfill his obligations toward the members of the public or those toward his father in-law. Sometimes in life we, as individuals, are faced with dilemmas on which kind of obligations to fulfill first, and John Bold is a true reflection of the conflicting obligations that we should fulfill as individuals.
John Bold is a clear reflection of Laurence’s statement. He is the character in the novel by Antony that clearly brings the picture of how we are sometimes faced with two compelling desires, ambitions, influences, or obligations that tend to pull our minds in conflicting directions. The desires that we have tend to conflict in one way or another, thereby leaving us in dilemmas. John Bold throughout the novel is always in a conflicting situation where there are two interests that he wants to pursue both, public and private, but they are pulling him into two conflicting directions. The kind of scenario that this character finds himself in is the same that we, as individuals, tend to find ourselves in in our day to day lives.
In conclusion, if one is faced with two conflicting desires, obligations, or ambitions, it’s always important to carry out a cost and benefit analysis of the conflicting situations and come up with the most appropriate goal that you as an individual will pursue.