The Influence of outsiders on a Person`s Life

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TheInfluence of outsiders on a Person’s Life

PaulBlackburn’s poem, TheYawn, andEdward Field’s writing,The Farewell, offerreaders insights into the manner in which people determineindividuals’ personal actions or thoughts. TheYawnprovides a funny interpretation of social influence. Blackburn writeshis piece while spacing his lines and words irregularly. He reveals alack of attention in what he is doing however, the reader latercomes to understand that he felt sleepy after watching the young girlwho was yawning (Blackburn). Field, conversely, adopts a somewhatserious tone. He tells the readers that he trusts people easily andleads an “imperturbable” life (Field). Edward contends that hisoverconfidence in other people’s opinions led to his immersion inwater after the ice broke. The following discussion compares andcontrasts the manner in which TheYawnand TheFarewellshow the influence of outsiders on people’s personal decisions.

Tobegin with, the two poems discuss the issue of social influence.Social influence is perceivable as the manner in which other peopleaffect a person`s emotions, behaviors, or opinions (Cascio,Scholz and Falk 3).This type of influence is manifested in various ways, for example,peer pressure, socialization, conformity, persuasion, and leadership.Blackburn’s and Field’s writings illustrate the power of socialinfluence by showing the ways through which the various charactersare affected by other people’s actions. TheYawnshows how “contagious” sleep can be. The letters and sentencesare spaced irregularly this kind of writing indicates that thewriter was not attentive while writing. For example, Paul states thatthe black-haired girl opened her mouth widely (Field line 7 – 8),leading him to think about her for a significant period. After ashort while, Field also began yawning and dozing off (Field line 12 –13). TheFarewellalso highlights the power of social influence. The writer contendsthat he is too trusting and enjoys leading an imperturbable life(Blackburn line.3 and 7). Blackburn indicates that he believed thatthe ice would not break after his friends told him that it would hold(Blackburn line 1 – 2). As a result, one can contend that thewriter’s desire to lead an imperturbable life reveals hisdisinterest in thinking about the consequences of his actions.Considering the assertions mentioned beforehand, TheYawnand TheFarewellshow how other people affect the personal deeds of individuals. Bothpoems show how various characters act after being exposed to otherpeoples` perceptions or reactions to physiological stimuli. However,TheYawnoffers a rather comedic interpretation of social influence while TheFarewellprovides a serious construal of this phenomenon.

Secondly,both poems enable the readers to gain an in-depth understanding ofthe manner in which external forces can shape people`s view of theworld. TheYawnshows how the writer began by observing the tall, Black girl. Atfirst, he did not feel compelled to do anything however, heeventually started gaining interest in what she was doing. By thetime the Black girl alighted, she was the only person that he wasthinking about (Field line 11 – 12). He could clearly remember heryawn this memory prompted Blackburn to mimic what she was doing(yawning) (Field line 12 – 13). TheFarewell, conversely,highlights the consequences of not trusting one’s judgment. Justlike TheYawn,the poem shows how other people’s view of the world can shape thepersonal worldview of a person or his reaction to various situations.Field shows how other people`s thinking influenced his judgment. Hesays that he was forced to believe that the ice would not break(Blackburn line 3). Although the two poems do not offer similarillustrations of the various occurrences, the readers come to theunderstanding that the worldviews of outside parties have authorityover personal judgment.

Finally,both poems reveal the eagerness of people to conform to varioussocial settings. Studies indicate that people adjust their behaviorsaccording to the choices of other people (Bernheimand Exley 1).TheYawn revealshow the associated character was led to yawn by the Black girl. Atfirst, the writer seemed attentive because the first two lines areproperly aligned (Field line 1 – 2). However, as he continues towrite, he seemed more distracted since his letters and lines fell outof alignment (Field line 3 – 13). He describes how beautiful theyawn of the Black girl was (Field line 7), and, in the end, he startsdozing off (Field line 12 – 13). Thus, one can assert that thewriter was eager to start yawning because he saw the Black girlacting in a similar manner. TheFarewell,on the other hand, shows the eagerness of the writer to step on theice to show his peers that he believed them (Blackburn Line 2).Although he contends that he enjoys leading an imperturbable life(Blackburn line 7), one cannot avoid noticing his reluctance to stepon the ice (Blackburn line 3). Therefore, both poems show how eagerpeople are to conform to the decisions that other individuals make.

Ina recap of the above discussion, TheYawnand TheFarewelloffer readers substantial insights into the influence of people onpersonal decisions. As discussed above, individuals may feel thatcertain choices are inappropriate however, these people may proceedto make the wrong choices since their peers are comfortable with suchdecisions. The Black girl distracted Blackburn from concentrating onhis writing thus, he started writing irregularly. Field, one theother hand, was urged to step on the ice, a decision that led to hisimmersion in water.


Bernheim,B. Douglas, and Christine L. Exley. &quotUnderstanding Conformity:An Experimental Investigation.&quot SSRNElectronic Journal&nbsp(2015):1. Web.

Blackburn,Paul. &quotThe Yawn, By Paul Blackburn – Poem 145 | Poetry 180: APoem A Day For American High Schools, Hosted By Billy Collins, U.S.Poet Laureate, 2001-2003 (Poetry And Literature, Library OfCongress)&quot.&, 2017. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.

Cascio,Christopher N, Christin Scholz, and Emily B Falk. &quotSocialInfluence And The Brain: Persuasion, Susceptibility To Influence AndRetransmission.&quot CurrentOpinion in Behavioral Sciences&nbsp3(2015): 3. Web.

Field,Edward. &quotThe Farewell, By Edward Field – Poem 018 | Poetry 180:A Poem A Day For American High Schools, Hosted By Billy Collins, U.S.Poet Laureate, 2001-2003 (Poetry And Literature, Library OfCongress)&quot.&, 2017. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.