His. 151April 24, 2001Personalities and Problems Ken Wolf, a professor of history at Murray Sate University and author of Personalities and Problems, wrote with the intent to illustrate the varied richness of human history over the past five centuries.He took various personalities such as adventurers, princes, political leaders, and writers and categorized them in a way for readers to draw lines between them to create a clearer view of world history for himself.Beginning each new chapter with a specific question about worldly concerns and disciplines allowed the readers to relate the topics to broader, more general scenarios of their cultures.Answering the questions in essay form gave examples of how certain cultures/ parts of the world dealt with those issues.The answers that pertained to the questions informed readers about many historical figures without drawing a time line for the course of history and simply reiterating information as in a textbook.
Wolf’s layout of the book created an interesting, clear, and informative study of world civilizations. Chapter twelve, about Erasmus and Luther, exemplified the interesting, clear, and informative way in which Wolf created his work.Although there are many other examples in Wolf’s book as to how these aspects ring true to his purpose, I chose chapter two as only one reason.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
The question stated “To what extent is it possible to reform an institution from within?What intellectual and personal qualities cause some people to be more radical than others, and what are the implications of such differences in history (p.113).”After reading the essay, one might say that a person could go as far as possible to make something like reforms happen; but people may stand in his/her way.However, if that person is willing to lose or gain anything, such as excommunication from his/her Church or an increase of enemies, then he/she will extend to the distance needed.The essay answer also informed the reader of more general information, not solely facts on Erasmus and Luther.Readers learned that intellect and intelligence are not all that bring historical greatness.Personal qualities such as dominance, determination, perseverance, morality and empathy all play a role in making a difference in history.Some of these qualities can make the situation more radical than expected.
Although Erasmus and Luther landed on the same page, Erasmus laid low and neglected to take risky chance, where as Luther never hesitated to step up to a challenge and try his hardest.The church thought they had a solution to their problem with Luther by excommunicating him; however, he fought a tough battle.Implications show that he never gave up or threw in the hat.Nevertheless, if Luther did give up, there would have never been a Protestant reform at that time and maybe we would be struggling and fighting Luther’s battle today.
Aside from that example, Wolf added a plethora of admirable characters to his work.Not only did Luther set an example for readers that fighting for what one thinks is right is not easy, so did Elizabeth I. Readers may admire Elizabeth for trying to find a common ground by keeping a Protestant title, by allowing the practice of other religions.Wolf states she proceeded to do this “using her cunning, energy, and intelligence to control friends and enemies alike (p.
145).”Other admirable people included the great philosophers with the likes of Confucius and Plato.Both Confucius and Plato believed that in order to have a “perfect” or “good “society, the ruler needed superior virtue and wisdom.Both of these philosophers set the guidelines for future philosophers and can be considered of the “great teachers” throughout history. Wolf also follows through with his purpose to explain the richness of human history.By interconnecting some of the same people to various essays he helped the readers to draw the lines between the characters and make connections.For one, just learning about these historical figures is important in itself.
Here, we learn how our world’s civilization developed, which leads us to conclude reasons on why some things happen today.Moreover, it is important to learn why these characters projected themselves out into the world to make these changes or to take these stands.Much of it comes from personality, which drives certain people to strive for what they believe.It is important for one to know that not all-historical greatness comes from intelligence and genius alone.All persons have a chance at making a difference in the world.
It is a person’s personality and perseverance that will get he/she to that point. Of all the remarkable characters of human history portrayed by Wolf in Personalities and Problems,.