After reading the following passage from The Wager,
explain in a well organized paragraph (7 to 9 sentences) the evolution of the
jurist's values using the books/novels he was reading as evidence of how he was
changing what he thought was important. In other words, trace how his values
were changing by using the evolution of his reading material as evidence. E.g.
Why read light novels the first year but change to reading "the classics" the
second to fifth year? (The classics would be things like Dante's Inferno,
The Count of Monte Cristo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pride and Prejudice,
plays by Sophocles, e.g. Antigone, Treasure Island, The Scarlet Letter, Ivanhoe,
Keep alluding to his reading material as time goes on and
explain how his taste in reading material mirrors his change in values.
In the first year the books he sent for
were principally of a light character; novels with a complicated love plot,
sensational and fantastic stories, and so on.
In the second year the piano was silent in the lodge, and the prisoner asked
only for the classics. In the fifth year music was audible again, and the
prisoner asked for wine. Those who watched him through the window said that
all that year he spent doing nothing but eating and drinking and lying on
his bed, frequently yawning and angrily talking to himself. He did not read
books. Sometimes at night he would sit down to write; he would spend hours
writing, and in the morning tear up all that he had written. More than once
he could be heard crying.
In the second half of the sixth year the prisoner began zealously studying
languages, philosophy, and history. He threw himself eagerly into these
studies—so much so that the banker had enough to do to get him the books he
ordered. In the course of four years some six hundred volumes were procured
at his request. It was during this period that the banker received the
following letter from his prisoner:
"My dear Jailer, I write you these lines in six languages. Show them to
people who know the languages. Let them read them. If they find not one
mistake I implore you to fire a shot in the garden. That shot will show me
that my efforts have not been thrown away. The geniuses of all ages and of
all lands speak different languages, but the same flame burns in them all.
Oh, if you only knew what unearthly happiness my soul feels now from being
able to understand them!" The prisoner's desire was fulfilled. The banker
ordered two shots to be fired in the garden.
Then after the tenth year, the prisoner sat immovably at the table and read
nothing but the Gospel. It seemed strange to the banker that a man who in
four years had mastered six hundred learned volumes should waste nearly a
year over one thin book easy of comprehension. Theology and histories of
religion followed the Gospels.