Not My Own

The other day in class Dr. Giovanni had us watch a film The Remains of the Day. The movie is about an English butler, Mr. Stevens, who reflects on his life of loyalty and service to Lord Darlington. These next two weeks as we ask the question: Whose story is it? with Dr. Giovanni, I can only think about the lack of Mr. Steven’s story. Throughout the movie, Mr. Stevens continuously lives his life at the heels of others, letting them make decisions for him. Due to his loyalty to Lord Darlington, Mr. Stevens ultimately loses himself in supporting his lord. Even though Lord Darlington was cruel to two young Jewish girls and sent them back to Germany to live the rest of their lives in concentration camps, Mr. Stevens remains silent. He is even more conflicted when he finds out that Lord Darlington supported Hitler and the Nazi regime. Although Mr. Stevens openly denies ever knowing Lord Darlington,he cannot lie to himself. He knows that he never was able to stand up for what he believed. Mr. Stevens lived a seemingly unfulfilling life and even lost the woman he loves. Reflecting upon this movie, I wrote the following poem that portrays how I think Mr. Stevens felt looking back at his life. This movie has challenged me to stand up for what I believe and never let others speak on my behalf.

I tell my story.
But is it really mine?
I read through the pages and don’t recognize the lines.
There are things that I would never choose.
Regrets I have made and continue to do.
Times I wanted to do something else.
But something kept me from being myself.
Why have I let others write the pages I claim?
I have watched my book be written and it brings me to shame.
Never possible to changes the things of the past.
Finished living my life of which this page is my last.
My story has been told.
The book has been closed.
The ink has been sealed.

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