1. Describe the physical arrangement of the cave. (2 pts)
In the cave there are some people who are in chained on their legs and necks since their childhood. They can't move or even turn their neck around to see their behind. They can only see whatever presents in the front. In front of them, there is a wall with images projected onto it. The cave is dark but has some light from the fire burning behind the chained prisoners and the sunlight far above them. There is also a road between the fire and the prisoners. Some puppethandlers walk along the road and their images are projected onto the wall and these are the only images that the prisoners can see.
2. In one or two paragraphs, please describe the meaning of the cave: who is in it and what is it? In other words, demonstrate that you understand the meaning of the sunlight, the cave itself, the fire and the sunlight, the chained prisoners and the puppethandlers, the wall and the shadows. Please write down questions about the parts that are not clear to you. (3 pts)
The meaning of this Allegory is people are imprisoned by their ignorant, they are in chained mentally by their limited knowledge. These people only believe in what they can see in front of them, however, they don't move around to explore their surrouding to prove what they have see or listened.
The puppethandlers, the wall and the shadows symbol many things. From my point-of-views, the shadows represent the past life experiences of the prisoners. Those life experiences keep in their mind to control or manipulate their motivation to move on. The shadows are their drives of learning and they provide a hint or direction for the chained prisoners' curiosity. If the prisoners are curious and motivated enough, they would like to break the chains and pick up the puppet and to be the master of the puppet or the master of their new life. Instead of being confused of their life, people step onto the stair towards the sunlight and towards the process of being knowledgable.
Once the prisoners realize that they are in chained of their ignorant and are restrainted from their old experiences and old lives, they start to think how to escape, how to learn, and how to be knowledgable. The learning process are painful. People have to face a lot of obstacles and to repeat the cycle of fail and clamp up again to achieve their goals or achieve the knowledge. The pain of fighting obstacles is smiliar to the pain of eyes that causes by the bright sunlight. It is hurt and hard to walk towards the brightness world or to make sense of the world after years of dim light environment living, however, after once a while, people will enjoy their new world when they understand more about it. By getting more knowledge or getting used to studying, people are able to re-adjust their eyesight to welcome the new challege of their life and being the master of the pupplet.
3. Describe your personal cave and tell how you will get out. Note: You must use some of the language/components of the allegory. (5 pts)
I had a huge and deep personal cave, it had a very long hallway between the cave and the sunlight. The hallway isn't straight forward and there are a lot of holes in it, if I don't walk carefully, I will fall and trap by the holes. As Plato describes "they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so the they cannot move, and can only see before them", like many other people, I was restrainted by the chains in my own cave when I was young. The chains were the restraint from my tyrannous father who didn't like girls to learn more; from the poorness of my family; and the most consolidated chain in my neck was the lack of motivation to learn.
I had seen the boredom life of my mother and my siblings, they grew up and get married and being mother and……that is for their lives. The images of my own future was projected in front of me. Plato said "men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall?", the images appeared over the wall in front of me were the images of my imagination, my past experiences, and the images I perceived from my surrounding in the cave.
The images including a woman who was staying home and taking of her own kids and obeying to her husband's dictation, and a knowledgeble woman who was handling different kind of marionettes and constantly changing the characters of the marionettes, and playing happily. These images drove me to think that "how can I become one of them?" The images gave me options to choose and motivated me to move. If I wanted to join my mother and my siblings's boredom, I could simply stay in the cave and follow their movements projected onto the wall, which was petty easy to become this image, however, this image was not satisfy my curiosity and my ambition. I prefered the other option. I wanted to prove that the other option was existing in the world. Therefore, I started to break the chains and step forward.
Walking along the hallway of my cave was not easy, it was very dark especially at the starting point. I was using the weak battery that I obtained from my limited experiences and knowledge to lighten the torch and walked forward. I was struggling to finish my highschool, however, with a poor grade. This poor grade wasn't enough to enlighten the rest of the hallway of the cave. I fell and trapped on the hole in my cave. I needed more light to help me to get out from the cave; I needed the nature light, the never ending light to help me to finish my journey. My poor grade and poor finanical status weren't support me to enter any college. I was suffer from the frustration as Plato says "he will suffer sharp pain; the glare will distress him". It was only in the middle of my hallway and there was some light from the outside world, not much but enough to hurt my eyes because I wasn't yet to get used to it. But this nature light showed me the direction and gave me another alternative to complete the hallway. I started working earlier in my life to obtain another kind of knowledge from the reality but not from the schools. The more steps I walked the more light I have gained. Plato said "when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision", after years of working experiences and tons of time falling to the holes, I learned that I also needed some school knowledge to support or encourage me to move onto a better job. I started learning computer skill by buying computer, reading different kinds of computer magazines and being a self-learner. By communicating or chatting with people, I found that it was possible for me to study in college with poor grade, which was studying in the continue education offered by the college for the adult. Then I chose to study computer in a college at night after work because I wanted to learn how to fix my computer by myself in case of my computer being attacked by the virus and the main ideas was saving the money for hiring the computer technician.
At this point, I was far away from the beginning of the cave. I got married in the almost end of the hallway and then the sudden bright light almost made my eyes blind. This bright light was an addition light for my journey, it was come from the western world. The hallway of my cave sudden bent and directed me to America. I followed my husband to come over New York City before I finished my computer study in Hong Kong.
The components of the sunlight such as language barrier, lack of knowlege about other races, and competition of job seeking bombarded my eyesight and strenghtened the image of being a knowledgeable woman handling different kinds of puppet in my mind. Then I realized that I was standing in the real world. I found a college and started studying ESL class and chose a major which I believed that could help me to improve my English speaking skill quick, therefore I chose Nursing and I made a correct decision.
Now, I am totally get out from my cave. Although my real eyesight is getting weak by studying a lot, my other eyesight is getting stronger and it allow me to distinguish the reality from the illusion.