Health Literacy And Cultural Awareness Essay Example For College

Although many researchers agree that health literacy is a relatively new concept in the public health field, the success of public health programs greatly depends on health literacy levels in a community (Nutbeam, 2000; Hasnain, Menon, Ferrans, & Szalacha, 2014).

The success of the colorectal outreach program depends on the same factor, because the health literacy levels of the target community would determine how well community members implement what they have learned from the program.

Since the program targets an urban population, its probability of success is better than if it targeted a rural population because health literacy levels in urban settings are higher than in most rural settings (Hasnain et al., 2014).

In this regard, members of the target population would better get, process, and understand information and services that relate to breast screening. This way, community members would make better health choices. Nonetheless, the support that would come from high levels of health literacy in the urban community would be contingent on individual and systemic factors.

While it is prudent to use the success of previous health programs to improve, or develop, future health programs, some of the issues borrowed from past health programs may fail to work in the contemporary setting (Baumann, DomenechRodrÍGuez, & Parra-Cardona, 2011).

Such is the case for the colorectal outreach program because some of the available outreach materials and protocols (used in past programs) may be inapplicable in the current setting. For example, the target population for the past program was college-educated white students, while the target population of the colorectal program is intercultural and interethnic.

Stated differently, the colorectal health program targets urban population, without educational or age bias. These differences show that, from a cultural awareness standpoint, the materials and programs used in the past outreach program may be irrelevant to the current program (Whaley & Davis, 2007).

I believe every health situation is unique and requires unique public health approaches to realize success in health promotion. I have experienced this fact first-hand when developing a health promotion program that strived to prevent the spread of Ebola in West Africa. I found that different communities have unique political, social and economic dynamics that, if ignored, could lead to the failure of a health program.

For example, I found that the kinds of foods that some West African communities ate contributed to the spread of Ebola. It would have been difficult to foresee such a causative factor if I used the design blueprint of a past public health program because it could overlook small, but pivotal, demographic dynamics of a community.

Therefore, in my experience, I find it difficult to replicate the design of public health programs (holistically) in different community settings.

The lessons I have learnt from my experience highlight the importance of collaborating with community stakeholders when developing or designing public health programs. Such collaborations are important because they help a public health worker to understand intricate community dynamics that would affect the success of health programs.

For example, they would help to explain a community’s attitudes towards health screening, dietary behaviors, nutrition styles, and exercising, as some of the factors that would form part of the colorectal health outreach program (Hasnain et al., 2014). Comparatively, outsiders would not have such perspectives.

Therefore, they are likely to oversee some of the cultural factors that would affect their health programs. As a public health administrator of the colorectal outreach program, I would collaborate with community leaders to improve my understanding of the target community’s cultural dynamics that would either support or impede the health program. This step would improve my efficiency in designing and implementing the program.


Baumann, A., DomenechRodrÍGuez, M., & Parra-Cardona, J. R. (2011). Community-Based Applied Research with Latino Immigrant Families: Informing Practice and Research According to Ethical and Social Justice Principles. Family Process, 50(2), 132-148 17p. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2011.01351.x

Hasnain, M., Menon, U., Ferrans, C. E., &Szalacha, L. (2014). Breast Cancer Screening Practices Among First-Generation Immigrant Muslim Women. Journal of Women’s Health, 23(7), 602–612.

Nutbeam, D. (2000). Health literacy as a public health goal: a challenge for contemporary health education and communication strategies into the 21st century. Health Promotion International, 15(3), 259-267. doi: 10.1093/heapro/15.3.259

Whaley, A. L., & Davis, K. E. (2007). Cultural competence and evidence-based practice in mental health services: A complementary perspective. American Psychologist, 62(6), 563-574. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.62.6.563

“The Importance Of Being Earnest” By Oscar Wilde

Welcome to our The Importance of Being Earnest essay sample! Here, you’ll find the analysis of the story’s main themes and comedy elements. Get ideas for your essay on The Importance of Being Earnest with our essay sample.

The Importance of Being Earnest Essay Thesis Statement

Oscar Wilde had written during the Victorian time which was an era that laid much emphasis on moral values. It can be contended that The Importance of Being Earnest is in essence a play on morality since the major argument surfacing after its reading relates to honesty as being the best policy.

Although the learning from the play strengthens the values as prevailing during the period, there is quite a lot in the play that is not as per convention. The primary reason for Wilde’s success was that he was able to narrate an appealing story that further strengthened the prevailing social values. This he was able to do by making use of the untraditional relationships and images.

The Importance of Being Earnest Essay Introduction

The Importance of Being Earnest was the last play written by Oscar Wilde and it undoubtedly became the most celebrated. George Bernard Shaw and H G Wells considered the play amongst the funniest that were ever written and to this day the play continues to absorb and entertain theatre lovers through out the world.

The play makes fun of the literary world, the aristocratic society and the customs and mannerisms of the British, while at the same time questions the concept of identity. The plans of the different characters in the play are seen to be going topsy-turvy due to the occurrence of unexpected developments. Wilde has skilfully taken up the issues of romantic gamesmanship, social ambitions and class pretensions through wit sharpened dialogues.

Morality and marriage

A major reason for the play’s success is the large number of spicy epigrams used by Wilde. Although some of the succinct and inconsistent statements relate to contemporary happenings, most of them are general manifestations of beauty, classes, women and men.

Most of the statements are being quoted to this day and keep on delighting the audience with their mix of absurdities and sophistication. Other than revealing the beauty, the play is a masterpiece in depicting Victorian styles as prevalent during the time, especially in relation to morality and marriage.

For long, marriage had been a significant issue and Wilde had depicted its scheming use as a social instrument of progression. Other than Miss Prism, all the ladies in the play are seen as having hidden motives in regard to romance. Wilde has convincingly criticized the superficial ways of politeness as practiced by society and has outlined the nature of the shallow masks that were worn by aristocratic Victorians.

Why a Comedy

A major source of humour in the play is the confused source of values as displayed by the characters. In this regard, Wilde had commented about the play as being “exquisitely trivial, a delicate bubble of fancy, and it has its philosophy that we should treat all the trivial things of life seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality,” (Oscar Wilde, 2005).

Wilde had impressed upon his actors to speak out their words very seriously so that the audience did not think that they were joking. Although in essence the play is a comedy that relates to protocol, it has openly used ridiculous means to minimize its significance. Fortunately the audience is ever willing to ignore the inconsistency and indiscretions in the play.

Within the structure of the play one can feel the allusions of homosexuality implied in the male characters. It is known that while he was writing this play, Wilde was leading a twin life of a married man as also of a homosexual.

The original audiences of the play were utterly shocked at the reference of such a culture in the play and unfortunately for Wilde, the success of the play was not carried too further as his well known trial began after the opening night of the play and his career began to get loose.


There are two major issues forming the critique of The Importance of Being Earnest. Firstly, although the play was very well received by audiences when it opened for the first time, critics during the time openly questioned the moral aspects pertinent in the play.

The play was attacked by George Bernard Shaw for its “real degeneracy” (Bob Nelson, 1993), and described the playwright’s word play as being rather hateful and sinister. The second issue relates to the dramatic framework of the play in exhibiting aspects of parody, comedy of manners and mockery. Critics have been unable to come to a conclusion in regard to what category the play belongs to.

Critics are divided on the issue of morality in The Importance of Being Earnest. According to Edouard Roditi, who wrote the book Oscar Wilde, the playwright’s comedy did not rise higher than “the incomplete or the trivial” (Edouard Roditi, 1947).

Roditi felt that the play did not have ethical perspectives since no character saw through other characters nor criticized their values. Eric Bentley also felt the same way and concluded that “because of its ridiculous action, the play fails to break… into bitter criticism of serious issues” (Eric Bentley, 1987).

Otto Reinert has opined that Wilde’s comedy has had the effect of “an exposure both of hypocrisy and of the unnatural convention that necessitates hypocrisy” (Otto Reinert, 1956). Consequently there was a superficial cover up of the white lies that maintained politeness in the so called polite society, which alone was able to give the plot a moral meaning.

This is exemplified by the instance in the play when Algernon is criticized by Lady Bracknell for having taken care of his make believe friend, Bunberry who was supposed to make a decision whether he was going to die or live. In criticizing him she voices her conservative belief that “illness in others is always faked [and]… consequently sympathy with invalids is faked also” (Oscar Wilde, 2005)

Although Lady Bracknell is portrayed as respecting convention she is believed to have had no illusions about “the reality her professed convention is supposed to conceal” (Otto Reinert, 1956). She presumes that both Bunberry and Algeron are “bubburying” and she behaves in a way that “exposes the polite cynicism that negates all values save personal convenience and salon decorum” (Otto Reinert, 1956).

The lady’s behaviour is in the nature of exposing the polite cynicism in negating all desired values except salon decorum and personal convenience. Lady Bracknell is not protected from her own shortcomings in being extra earnest.

She disapproves of marriages amongst mercenaries and admits that when she had married Lord Bracknell she did not have any fortune, which implied that she was opposed to marrying for money, and that she was not in possession of much wealth at the time she married a wealthy man.

According to Reinert, “this position is neither cynical nor funny. It represents… [a] compromise between practical hardheadedness and conventional morality” (Otto Reinert, 1956).

In all, the play has not endorsed social dishonesty and for some time it makes a mockery of respectability. The use of paradoxical morality by Wilde has served as an evaluation of the “the problem of manners.”

This is so because Algeron, in trying to escape the pretence of conventions, becomes a hypocrite himself when he pretends to be a person that he actually is not. Wilde has conveyed that the so called Victorian morality forced people to lead a life of double standards, one that was frolicsome and another that was respectable, none of them being solemn.

A critical issue in the play relates to the categorization of the play. It has been described as a “farce that represents the reality that Victorian convention pretends to ignore” (Otto Reinert, 1956). The characters have not been ironic enough by way of saying something but meaning something else.

In fact they really mean what ever they state, which is evident from the fact that Algernon does not wish to attend lady Bracknell’s dinner party since she will invariably make him sit near Mary Farquhar who is in the habit of flirting while sitting with her own husband.

Reinert has written in this regard that, “Algernon is indignant with a woman who spoils the fun of extramarital flirtation and who parades her virtue. He is shocked at convention. And his tone implies that he is elevating break of convention into a moral norm,” (Otto Reinert, 1956). This makes things conventional out of unconventional situations.

Wilde’s comedy is seen as working through a caricature in transforming the techniques of comedy, plot situations and the characters.

The play has been defended against the charge that it was just a mockery because mockery “depends for its effects upon extremely simplified characters tangling themselves up in incongruous situations, as in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors or Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer.

Instead, the comedy of Earnest subsists, for the most part, not in action or situation but in dialogue, which is too witty and intellectual to be described simply as a farce,”(Forster, 1956).

Instead of being a comedy of manners or a mockery, Forster believed that Wilde used characters and familiar plot devices satirizing the Victorian community. The relationship that Jack has with Gwendolen symbolizes the problems faced by lovers in being forced to stay away from getting married due to class differences.

Wilde found a novel solution by establishing Jack’s patrimony in being the child at the railway station. A common feature of romantic literature pertains to falling in love at first sight which too is demonstrated by Wilde in total contrast when Cecily falls in love with Algernon, not at first sight but simply because she is under the impression that his name is Everest.

Although Algernon is depicted as being cynical, but there is evidence in indicating that such cynicism is shallow since after he met Cecily, “Algernon is engaged to be married and reconciled to getting christened,” (Forster, 1956).

The Importance of Being Earnest Essay Conclusion

In appearing to be innocent and protected, Cecily conveys that it would become a hypocritical situation if Algernon tries to be good while trying to project himself as being fiendish. According to Forster, “The moral of Wilde’s parody: the rake is a fake, girlish innocence is the bait of a monstrous mantrap, the wages of sin in matrimony,” (Forster, 1956).

In essence the dramatic troubles as identified by some critics in the play, are seen as being its strengths. Forster emphasizes that the whole point of the play lies in the machinations of its plot and the convenience outlined behind the numerous coincidences that are neatly placed in its resolutions.

Works Cited

Bob Nelson, The Importance of Being Earnest, A study Guide.

Edouard Roditi, Oscar Wilde, 1947, Norfolk: New Directions

Eric Bentley, The Playwright as Thinker, 1987, Harvest Books Foster, Richard. “Wilde as Parodist: A Second Look at The Importance Of Being Earnest.” October, 1956, College English

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 2005, Prestwick House Inc

Reinert, Otto. “Satiric Strategy in The Importance Of Being Earnest.” October, 1956, College English

Symbolism In The Great Gatsby

This essay sample explores the symbolism in The Great Gatsby. Some of the symbolism examples are the eyes, color, and the valley of ashes. Find out what they represent with the help of our The Great Gatsby symbolism essay sample!

Most of the imposing novels have symbols that represent the themes in pushing forth the objective of the book. In The Great Gatsby there are several symbols but the most powerful appears to be the eyes that overlook the valley from a bill board.

Although this symbol is marginally influencing the course of events, it holds a deep meaning in the intention of the novel. There are other symbols which essentially have a bearing on the way people perceive the symbols in the book as affecting their value judgments. In the literary context, symbols represent the different concepts and ideas in regard to the colors, figures and characters (Matthew J. Bruccoli, 2002).

The Great Gatsby Symbolism: The Eyes

The Eyes are in fact a pair of spectacled and pale eyes that appear tinted on a bill board that watches over the valley of ashes. Although the novel has never made this conclusion directly, it is much evident that the eyes symbolize that they are observing the deeds of the American society in looking upon the valley as a moral wasteland.

It is known in this context that throughout the novel Fitzgerald has suggested that symbols are in the nature of only conveying a meaning since it is the characters that infuse them with the inherent meanings. A different meaning is only drawn by George Wilson, who in being struck with grief draws a connection between God and the eyes of Doctor T J Eckleburg.

There is a visible lack of tangible meaning to the character of the image which brings about an unsettled feeling to the observer. Hence it can be implied that the eyes also connote the lack of meaning in the world as also the randomness in the mental process of people in drawing meanings from objects.

Such ideas are explored by Nick in Chapter eight while he is engrossed in his imagination about Gatsby’s thought processes which lead to depression in thinking of the prevailing emptiness in dreams and symbols (Jonathan Yardley, 2007).

Ample significance of eyes is implied in this regard by F. Scott Fitzgerald when he says, “The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg… look out of no face, but instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. …But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.” (1999, p 27-28)

Symbolism in The Great Gatsby: The Green Light

The green light is positioned at the ending of Daisy East Egg docks and is hardly noticeable from the West Egg lawn of Gatsby and symbolizes the dreams and hopes for Gatsby’s future. In his book Gatsby has associated the green light with Daisy who is depicted in chapter 1 as making efforts in reaching towards it in the dark in assuming that it will lead him in the direction of his goals.

Since the American dream that Gatsby has is largely associated with the pursuit for Daisy, the green light is in the nature of symbolizing this rather sweeping ideal. Nick also compares in chapter nine, the green light with America in imagining how it must have appeared to the earlier colonists of the new nation as it rose out of the oceans (Dan Morpurgo, 2008).

In regard to the green light F. Scott Fitzgerald has aptly narrated, “And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him….” (1999, p 189)

Symbolism in The Great Gatsby: The Valley of Ashes

The Valley of ashes is initially presented in chapter two as being located between New York City and West Egg. It comprises of a lengthy expanse of deserted land which became so as a result of the large scale disposal of industrial ashes.

The Valley of Ashes is in the nature of representing the social and moral decaying in society which is a result of the unreserved quest for wealth on the part of the richer strata of society who indulge in such practices just for their own satisfaction and pleasures.

It also symbolizes the suffering of the poor just as George Wilson, who had no option but to exist with the unclean ashes and in the process to have lost his vigor and vitality. The valley of Ashes has a lot of significance as evident from the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, “This is a valley of ashes – a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat…”(1999, p 26)


Dan Morpurgo, Book Review: The Great Gatsby, February, 2008, Associated Content

Jonathan Yardley, ‘Gatsby’: The Greatest Of Them All, January 2, 2007, The Washington Post

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1999, Scribner

Matthew J. Bruccoli, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: A Literary Reference, 2002, Carroll & Graf

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