Michel de Montaigne’s essays basically lean towards the side of non-conformity—and this is what sets him apart from other famous writers during his time [and probably up until now]. His works clearly represent his ability to become a keen observer, and a better writer. Common intellect mixed with his unremarkable wit gave him his edge to come up with great essays that will truly be appreciated all through out the course of literary history. I believe that his attempt to defy the familiar notion of socially set standards gave out new perspectives that could be seen vital in the modern times.
On his essay entitled “On the Education of Children,” his suggestion to prefer practical application over by-the-book form of education shows a great deal of promise. In a fast paced world that all of us are in right now, things change quicker than the publication of educational books that could keep us on track. Aside from the practicality that learning by experience could offer, it also gives us the chance to know things in its barest, and yet most substantial definition.
As Sharon Stephens once pointed out in her essay entitled “Children and the Politics of Culture in ‘Late Capitalism,’” children are not mere “empty vessels” (1). Despite their young age, they possess a capacity to understand things around them and producing rational explanations. Exposure plays a vital key for better understanding—wherein the decision of differentiating right from wrong basically lies on your critical thinking and personal judgment.
The position of doubting the norms could actually be a great way of producing prolific ideas, as long as you can support it with necessary and possible arguments. It is another way of giving birth to a new perspective and point of interest that your readers could consider. In my own opinion, this is one of the great advancement in literature that all future writers should observe in order to avoid linear thinking by playing through the possible alternatives, in terms of producing substantial literary pieces.
1. Stephens, S. Children and the Politics of Culture. Princeton University Press; 1995.
2. Montaigne Md. Of the education of children. In: Essays of Michel de Montaigne Vol 1, Chap XXV. [Online]. 1877. Available from: Project Gutenburg Ebook; 2006. [cited 2008 Oct 6].
3. Montaigne, Md. Of the inconstancy of our actions. In: Essays of Michel de Montaigne Vol 9, Chap XXV. [Online]. 1877. Available from: Project Gutenburg Ebook; 2006. [cited 2008 Oct 6].
4. Montaigne, M. Of experience. In: Essays of Michel de Montaigne Vol 19, Chap I. [Online]. 1877. Available from: Project Gutenburg Ebook; 2006. [cited 2008 Oct 6].
5. Montaigne, M. Of repentance. In: Essays of Michel de Montaigne Vol 14, Chap II. [Online]. 1877. Available from: Project Gutenburg Ebook; 2006. [cited 2008 Oct 6].