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Discovering Morality Through Texts

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Whilst some discoveries allow an individual to further confirm their views on their world and themselves, others may lead to moral questioning or re-evaluation evoked by their newfound perspective. These discoveries in particular gain value through their ability to facilitate change within their societies, as they bring to light the aspects of these cultures that may require adjustment. In his poems Meatworks and Flames and Dangling Wire (FaDW), Robert Gray critiques the Western, consumer-driven tendencies of his world. He highlights the way in which these attributes may influence the future, whilst blatantly criticizing their lack of moral integrity. Despite this, Gray appears to remain accepting of these flaws, as he recognizes their inevitability and shares how he too is a part of the ethically-distant clockwork. Through his process of exploration and discovery, Gray encourages those who read his poems to in turn remain perceptive and make their own.

Through discoveries, values and ideals may be questioned as their worth is reassessed. Whilst this process of re-evaluation allows an individual to gain control over their perception of society, their ability to act upon these beliefs can be obscured by necessity or insignificance. Gray explored the way in which his view of the world was altered as a result of his environmental repositioning in his poem FaDW, as he highlights the materialistic, disposable nature of western culture. Whilst this poem insists that a hellish landscape “is how it will be after men have gone”, Gray appears to remain positive that the fossils of his society will remain present, acting as a cautionary insight into the necessary and unavoidable downfall of industrialization. Within the poem, Gray portrays his city, being representative of development and industrialism, as “stakes driven into the earth”, saying later that the place was comparative to “hell”. By alluding to the biblical concept of Judgement Day, a burning downfall to mankind, Gray forces the reader to understand the way in which their own actions are conducive to this outcome. As he characterizes the dump with “cars like skulls” and “tin cans”, Gray personalizes the scene and reiterates the relationship between production and an industrial apocalypse. Despite this apparently pessimistic approach to his world, Gray’s views can be considered to alternatively be reflective of a more accepting, co-existing ideal. The idea of pain and death being a necessary part of life is demonstrated through the Buddhist ideals evident throughout his poems. Whilst he appears skeptical of the morals of his society, he does not depict an end to these values as an inherently bad thing, instead simply appreciating that they will end. In this way, Grays own discovers have affected him on a spiritual level, as he uses his own alternate ideal to pass a judgement on the end of his society.

Through the acceptance of the flawed nature of the world, the way in which an individual views themselves and their world can be altered significantly. Through his discoveries in regards to the inhumane acts behind the meat industry, Gray became able to reassess his perspective and remain critical of these corporations. Gray explored his renewed understanding of the people around him as he says that most of “them worked around the slaughtering”, ambiguously suggesting that his workmates too understand the atrocity of the Meatworks, and in turn aimed to avoid this issue, reiterated as he states that flaws surrounding the slaughterhouse were “not looked at”. As his own personal identity is questioned, Gray finds himself unable to rid himself of the immoralities he has committed, as he finds that the “around the nails, there was still blood”, using the physical act of cleaning himself to symbolise the emotional trauma he has undergone. In addition to this personal re-evaluation, Gray finds himself viewing his world in a different light. He uses pathetic fallacy to convey this, as he sees the once “white [] beach” in “mauve light”, as “startling storm clouds” roll in. Through this, we can deduce that Gray believes that the immorality of his society now overpowers the natural, as it too becomes tainted. Through this it becomes apparent that Gray’s discoveries have altered the way in which he views his world, and in turn alters his own sense of self.

Morality, however it is observed by an individual, is an element of society that is both shaped by the world, and plays a role in shaping the values of others. Whether the ideas represented in texts confirm or challenge the dominant morality of society, they play a powerful role in the development of a rich and thoughtful society.

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Discovering Morality through texts. (2018, April 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 28, 2022, from
“Discovering Morality through texts.” GradesFixer, 26 Apr. 2018,
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