Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Best Paragraph Ever

I was working on my final final yesterday, and in the midst of my first essay of three for the assignment, when I looked back over what I'd written I realized that I'd written The Best Paragraph Ever. I've pasted it below for your enjoyment:

The world of Michael Kohlhaas is one founded on trust; his understanding of his role in society depends on order, and he trusts in this order with his whole being. He is devastated, therefore, when the Junker von Tronka’s absurd cruelties and anarchical sense of entitlement go without repercussion, time and time again. Family ties and personal interests cannot stand for application of justice, so the system has fallen apart. It is an unfamiliar and ugly world where Kohlhaas does not belong: “‘I do not wish to live in a country where I and my rights are not defended’” (134). Expatriation is not a satisfactory solution, however. The answer becomes perfectly clear to Kohlhaas once he understands what kind of place he has found himself in: a Hobbesian state of nature. “‘I call that man an outcast…who is denied protection under the law! …Whoever withholds it from me drives me out into the wilderness among savages. It is he…who put into my hands the club I am wielding to defend myself’” (152). Armed thus with the knowledge that he now resides in a world where there is no law, where he needs “‘nothing but weapons and horses,’” Kohlhaas rides forth to show his supposed rulers exactly what kind of world they’ve created through their misuse of the law: a lawless state perceptive only to the language of violence (134). In the absence of law, Kohlhaas creates his own.

If you're actually interested in reading the whole paper, let me know.

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