Critical Reading Journal #2: Mahatma Gandhi (Essay Sample)
Directions: Answer the questions in the following format using short paragraph answers. Please leave your answers in the outline format. 1. What is the main idea, or thesis, you feel the writer is advancing. HINT: It might not be an obvious, single sentence. You will likely have to paraphrase. 2. Interesting thought the writer uses to address his/her topic: a) Identify a specific idea the writer uses to address his/her topic that caught your attention. b) Explain that idea in your own language. c) Why do you think the writer is using this idea to advance his/her main idea? 3. Curious language (words and phrases you find unique, confusing, and/or worth mentioning): a) Choose three (3) words and/or phrases, then explain each with a definition. b) Write a brief note how understanding the word or phrase helped you understand the larger idea(s) in the essay. 4. Names of people mentioned in the reading, if any, important to the ideas in the writing. a) What makes the person mentioned important to the idea(s) in the writing? b) What specifically about the person, or his or her ideas, is significant to the direct meaning of the paragraph in which you found the person? 5. Background information: a) Name a specific piece of background information that you feel is important to know about the author as it relates to the reading. b) What is significant about this piece of information in regards to the idea(s) in the writing. 6. Critical thinking questions: a) What brings Gandhi to the significant change in his diet? b) What does Gandhi mean when he writes, “Many such experiments taught me that the real seat of taste was not the tongue but the mind”? c) In his search for truth, Gandhi finds that changing his diet has a profound effect on his development as a person. What specific change in an area of your life have you made that produced a significant impact on your physical, mental and/or spiritual life? If you feel you haven't a specific change, write about something you would like to change, and what effects you hope that change would produce.
“Experiments in Dietetics” by Mahatma Gandhi
As I searched myself deeper, the necessity for changes both internal and external began to grow on me. As soon as, or even before, I made alterations in my expenses and my way of living, I began to make changes in my diet. I saw that the writers on vegetarianism had examined the question very minutely, attacking it in its religious, scientific, practical and medical aspects. Ethically they had arrived at the conclusion that man's supremacy over the lower animals meant not that the former should prey upon the latter, but that the higher should protect the lower, and that there should be mutual aid between the two as between man and man. They had also brought out the truth that man eats not for enjoyment but to live. And some of them accordingly suggested and effected in their lives abstention not only from flesh-meat but from eggs and milk. Scientifically some had concluded that man's physical structure showed that he was not meant to be a cooking but a frugivorous animal, that he could take only his mother's milk and, as soon as he had teeth, should begin to take solid foods. Medically they had suggested the rejection of all spices and condiments. According to the practical and economic argument they had demonstrated that a vegetarian diet was the least expensive. All these considerations had their effect on me, and I came across vegetarians of all these types in vegetarian restaurants. There was a Vegetarian Society in England with a weekly journal of its own. I subscribed to the weekly, joined the society and very shortly found myself on the Executive Committee. Here I came in contact with those who were regarded as pillars of vegetarianism, and began my own experiments in dietetics.
I stopped taking the sweets and condiments I had got from home. The mind having taken a different turn, the fondness for condiments wore away, and I now relished the boiled spinach which in Richmond tasted insipid, cooked without condiments. Many such experiments taught me that the real seat of taste was not the tongue but the mind.
Experiments in Dietics
Scientific research has demonstrated that having a plant based diet is good for our health and also friendly to the environment, this has drawn people to vegetarianism as they seek to live a long and healthy life and still conserve the environment.
Main Idea of the Writing
Understanding the main reasons of being a vegetarian can change the perception that people have on vegetarianism. Mahatma Gandhi in his transition process to becoming vegetarian gets information from writers, scientists and reformers. This helped him understand the medical, scientific, practical and religious aspects of vegetarianism (Gandhian Institution, 2011).
The many critiques on vegetarianism have, and people misunderstand the main reasons and benefits of being a vegetarian. Opponents of the vegetarian diet argue that consumption of meat is also healthful and humane, and that production of vegetables causes as many environmental pollution problems as meat production. Gandhi uses the idea of getting more information on the issue to ensure that people make the right decision when choosing their diet.
Unique Words and Phrases
The writer uses a phrase that a man eats not for enjoyment but to live. This means that one can not survive without eating; feeding enables us to stay alive. The term frugivores used by the writer means that human beings can survive by feeding only on fruits. The term refers to herbivores. Therefore people don’t have to include meat in their diet, the nutrition that we get from taking meat are also provided by some plants and we can therefore solely depend on vegetables for a balanced diet.
According to the writer, when a person is converted to new religion, he is usually more enthu...
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