Where do we get our personality from, remains a tough question to answer? Advances in genetics have shown to what extent our personality and behavior are shaped by our genetic inheritance but importance of environment is still acknowledged.
The essay “An American Childhood” by Annie Dillard is a good example of how a family member has influence on the children. This essay expresses her idea about her mother when the author looks back at her young age. Children will copy his or her character from the nearest person around them and develop this process until they mature. Family members would be the biggest influence on young children. A young girl imitates her mother and a young boy imitates his father.
From the essay, Dillard said a lot about her mother’s character and emotion. Her mother is a strong and independent woman. The author says, “She was an unstoppable force; she never let go”. She means that her mother has strong energy to get something done and she never stops until it is accomplished. Her mother’s character might differ from other ordinary women at the same time in the early 1960s. Her mother develops the seed of character and personality, which is the great impact and influence of her.
For example, her mother questioned her about her assumption that Eisenhower would win the election. “How do you know?” her mother questioned her She said that everyone says that Eisenhower would win. Her mother asked, “Did you ask everyone?” She would definitely say that her mother was a straightforward person who questioned every detail in conversations. She had more and more unusual characteristics such as she persuaded the U.S. Post Office to let her keep her old address forever, the author may have learned not to be critical, but also taught her daughter to be independent and strong.
Someone might consider the influence one has and how the environment impacts his or her personality. All the people around children account for the impact of influential people. The role model person might be anyone close to you or might be a hero, heroine or great scientist. According to the essay “Sister Flowers” by Maya Angelou, the author admired Mrs. Flowers. Mrs. Flowers is a charming gentlewoman who is an aristocrat in the small town of Black Stamps. According to the speaker, she spent a lot of her time reading poems and books with Mrs. Flowers at Mrs. Flowers’ house. She says, “Take this book of poems and memories one for me. Next time you pay me a visit, I want you to recite”. Mrs. Flowers teaches Angelou by reading to her first and lets Angelou recite one of the stories back to her. Angelou learns to listen from Mrs. Flowers first and relearns again by herself.
According to the speaker, when she looks back at her young age, she realizes the precious gift from her elderly friend. She says, “I have tried often to search behind the sophistication of years for the enchantment, I so easily found in those gifts”. Mrs. Flowers gave her a lot of lessons to read, both books and poems. She has a social life with Mrs. Flowers, and communication between them, so she adapted some good behavior and personality and character from one person can link to the other when they are close together. Angelou got an excellent motivation and character from Mrs. Flowers.
It is hard to identify that character and personality are under the control of inherited genes or how the environment influences them. From the two essays, both Dillard and Angelou know who plays the role model and how they impact their personality.
These two ladies could identify who influenced them most in their childhood and molded their personality. If we look back on our lives may be we too can identify the major influences of our lives.