Oblivion// Ann Renschler

Walking out of the movie theater with teary eyes and mascara streaks down my face is a clear sign I just watched the film production adaptation of John Greene’s novel The Fault in Our Stars. In this movie, two cancer-ridden teens meet and fall in love with each other and spend their limited amount of time together. At the end of the book the main character Augustus says “[t]he real heroes anyways aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING, paying attention” (Green). It’s the people in the world who make the conscious effort to be present and notice the things around them that make a difference in the world. It’s the Mother Teresas and the Ghandis of the world who notice the people and events around them and they are unable to ignore those around them because their presence. Now, I’m not saying we all have to be like Mother Teresa, but we can all, in some small way, be more like her by taking the conscious decision to be aware of the world around us. To be aware of the decisions we make and the effect they have on the people around us.

In my CTW 1 and 2 class at Santa Clara University, we watched a video called This is Water made from David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech at Kenyon College. In this video David Foster Wallace calls on people to become aware in our world. He says “the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to


do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over” (This). Having an education gives you the ability to notice or be consciously aware of the people around you. You get to decide what has meaning in your life by becoming aware of what is occurring around you. We have to make the effort to stop thinking the world revolves around us, “our default setting” (This), and be attentive to the world and the people and things in it.


The animated Chipotle promotional video The Scarecrow, tells the story of a scarecrow going to work in a factory farm called Crow Foods Incorporated. In the factory he peers into the lives of animals being injected with growth hormones and being scared stuck in crates. The injustices of the factory farm business cause him to become severely depressed, until he makes the conscious decision to go against this norm of factory farming. He starts a farm and stand and sells unprocessed farm fresh foods the public with a banner over his head saying “cultivate a better world” (The Scarecrow).

Cultivate a better world.

As I went into freshman year at college all I knew I wanted to do with my life was change the world. How? I still have no idea but this class has given me a few tips into how my daily actions can help to cultivate a better world. It starts with my conscious decision to notice the implications of my actions on the rest of the world.  By reading Eating Animals by JonathanFoer, I learned how my eating factory farmed meat helps uphold this inhumane system I make the


conscious decision to only eat meat for small local, organic farms or stop eating meat completely, I am making an effort to end factory farming because I no longer support them financially. Though I am only one person and I can’t end factory farming, but I can make a small dent and I can spread my awareness and together with others we can make a difference in the world.

This class has taught me the importance of being aware what is going on around me in the world. Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars says “I fear oblivion” (Green). I think people’s nature state is oblivion and we must actively decided to not be oblivious. In oblivion we can’t make a difference in the world.

We should all fear oblivion. I know I do.

Works Cited

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown, 2009. Print.

Green, John. The Fault in Our Stars. New York: Dutton, 2012. Print.

This Is Water. Dir. Matthew Freidell. Prod. Allie Dunning and Jeremy Dunning. By David Foster Wallace. Youtube. N.p., 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 12 June. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKYJVV7HuZw&gt;.

“The Fault In Our Stars | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX.” YouTube. YouTube, 29 Jan. 2014. Web. 12 June 2014. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ItBvH5J6ss&list=PLfPBohF1uFwo1jzJ4aplVzRdJRMnu0sXv&gt;.

“The Scarecrow.” YouTube. YouTube, 11 Sept. 2013. Web. 12 June 2014. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUtnas5ScSE&feature=kp&gt;.




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