It began as a simple High school reunion in Chicago, where former classmates were engaged in a conversation about the many changes they neglected to confront in their respective lives. Coincidentally, 'Who Moved My Cheese' is a motivational story on how to overcome the boundaries of one's comfort zone and prepare for the inevitable changes in life as Michael capitalized on the opportune moment to share the story. The story takes place within a maze with cheese dispersed throughout. I understood the maze corridors to be representative of the concavities or uncertainties of life; however we still pursue our 'cheese'.
The moral of the story
Who Move my Cheese? Cheese is a metaphor for the happiness we wish for or something we wish to attain in life. Our cheese is what drives us, having it we rule, losing it we become stagnant or regress; feelings we know all too well, whatever the case may be. 'Cheese' is what comforts us so much that it becomes a daily routine; as such change becomes a travesty for those who cannot adapt. As I make mention of adaptation, 'Who Moved My Cheese' focuses on the magnitude of adaptation required to overcome said feelings of stagnation and regression. As the story progressed each character highlighted generally known moral values and demonstrated the negative or regressive behavior common to those who refuse to adapt. The story emphasizes the main moral or point that clinging to the illusion of happiness previously attained will hinder your chances of finding new happiness. The story makes mention of different types of cheeses, suggesting that one cannot be too sure of their happiness because it is relative to what they know and as such a comfort zone should not be developed.
The story has four main characters said to be of great capabilities despite their miniature sizes. The names of the characters are Sniff and Scurry, who are two mice as well as Hem and Haw who are small human-like creatures. The story mainly revolves around the relationship between Hem and Haw and their 'cheeses'. I say cheeses because though they may be close friends they each would have different ideals of happiness. Despite the focus being mainly on Hem and Haw, the secondary characters Sniff and Scurry are not to be overlooked because they are exemplary of the recurrent ideology of the story. Sniff and Scurry are very instinctive, rational, simple and cautious creatures; their only desire is to satisfy their basic needs and as such they are hardly in conflict with one another. In fact, they are so much in unison that they play assisting roles to each other throughout the maze. Initially, Sniff and Scurry found cheese just the same as Hem and Haw, however they were always aware of the fact that it would not last long, hence they kept their 'running shoes'. As the mice enjoyed their cheese, it seems that the little people were not able to acknowledge that the cheese was, in fact, being consumed by the mice as well. I was lead to believe this for the story showed no evidence of communication between the characters at that early stage. Oblivious to the fact that the cheese may finish, Hem and Haw were unprepared for the depletion of the cheese and had a hard time coping. Sniff and Scurry however, were not deterred by the lack of cheese. Sniff decided to sniff out the situation and Scurry hurried, as such, one can accurately say that Sniff is very observant while Scurry is very impulsive. Both characters main attributes are quite literally, represented by their names. Together, they realized that it was meaningless to 'Hem' over a 'cheese-less' situation; they quickly moved on to seek and enjoy a new variety of cheese. They are singly motivated to be happy and so acclimatize to each new situation.
The character 'Hem' was cleverly used within the story to highlight the personality of the next character who is exemplary of the typical behavior we display when change disrupts our comfort. Hem represents all our initial denial, gluttonous ambitions, stubbornness to change, arrogance with our materialistic obsessions and how we may be so rooted in our beliefs that we do not recognize the negative impact it may have on us. Hem's role in the story is to remind us that though we may work hard to achieve many things in life that we perceive to make us happy; we cannot dwell on them if they change. With Hem dwelling on the loss of his cheese and refusing to move on and deciding that he preferred the way things were, he lost a lot more than just cheese. Hem lost his friend Haw, his health, his sanity to an extent and he severely decreased his chances of getting new cheese in the future. Hem's attitude, as change initiated, was not conducive to a peaceful environment. He was rampant, discouraging, overanalyzing things and blaming everyone but himself, he was oblivious to the fact that it was time to change. Haw moved on leaving Hem behind for he was unable to see that it is best to seek happiness elsewhere when there is none available in your present environment. It could be said that Hem decided, there and then, that he would live with his rotten cheese rather than forget it and move on; thus he referred to it as 'his cheese', considering it his pinnacle of achievement.
The spotlight now shines on the missionary of this story the adventurous, the brave, the visionary Haw. However he was not always that way similar to the moral of the story, he goes through significant changes. Initially Haw, was non-confrontational, fearful of the unknown and easily influenced by Hem's lead. Hem for some time prevented Haw from realizing that he needed to forsake his 'old cheese'. Hem constantly reminded Haw of the dangers of the unknown and that caused his fears to become deadweight, poisoning his hope. Haw's metacognition about his circumstances and the foolish folly that was detaining him caused him to ponder about his mice friends who at the first sign of a dwindling hope seemed to adapt. Thoughts of his folly caused him to laugh at himself and this was symbolic of his breaking point where he decided it was time to go forward as the thrill of enjoying cheese strikes him once more. Haw seems to be a very philosophical character leaving a trail of cheese pictures on the walls, each containing an instance or form of moral for a real-life situation. Haw constantly battles with confidence to define himself as he ventures out for the new cheese. Haw overcomes his fears step by step, learning that you cannot allow fear to hinder your progress, though he may have still been a bit non-confrontational by keeping fears of certain danger, knowing that not all fears are bad. Haw's trial reminds us that the road ahead may be tough but perseverance and determination has small incentives along the way; similar to the pegs of cheese Haw found on his way, which gave him the strength to push on. Regardless of his pursuit of cheese, Haw still attempted to change his stubborn friend Hem.
After failing he decided to push on, reflecting on his past where it seems he realizes that it is not the comfort of having friends and a possible family that he treasured as happiness it was instead the enjoyment of the cheese itself. This highlights that we may only know what makes us happy relative to what we know and as we discover more about ourselves, our ideas of happiness will change, as such, we need to be aware of the signs of the changes that are coming or as Haw puts it, 'Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old'. As Haw continues to reflect on all that has happened he acknowledges that no matter what enjoying the journey is better than doing nothing and that old beliefs will not lead you to the new cheese; letting us know that in order to have new found success, we must be willing to give up who we were before - a reoccurring theme in Haw's dynamic trial. Haw was baffled at the multitude of rare cheeses that existed at the end of his journey and he was reunited with the mice at that point. He reviewed all that had occurred before and realized the weaknesses that he had, deciding that he would use them as strengths, just like the moments when over- thinking things made the situation worse. He decided to use his wonderful brain to plan ahead. This is his method of ensuring that as change arrives, he can always see ahead and improve his situation to lessen the effect. In other words, this is similar to the saying, 'The largest space in the world is the room for improvement'. He makes a summary of the benchmarks in his journey and he was off again with a last thought, 'Move with the cheese and enjoy it'.
Which of the character in the story I think represent me, how I feel about that character.
The character that I would say I am in the story, is Haw, reason been is I often find myself in similar position as Haw in the story. I feel that Haw was not really who he thought he was and what he considered happiness was not what he really wanted. His journey revealed that he did not really treasure the comfort of friends but instead it was to just enjoy cheese, our friends will say we are sell outs but Haw realized that, his happiness was relative to his surroundings and original beliefs. Although, Haw wasn't ready for change he knew his present situation was not what he want and before long he did what he had to do. Haw became a dream chaser, one who will continue to change for the rest of his life going from cheese to cheese.
In my opinion the negative side of such a situation is that in the end, one my lose sight of who they originally were.
Evaluation of literature
Throughout the story, the diction was not elevated for the most; this allows the material to be easily understood by the generally educated. The derived Ideology of the story is that within our never ending pursuit for happiness, the road will change and if we hope to attain our fulfillment, we will need to acclimatize to the detours of the journey. The story contains a variety of motivational morals that are geared towards keeping one focused, regardless of circumstances that follow an event. These morals came in the form of Haw's paintings on the walls as he ventured. At a moment when all hope seemed lost, the writer effectively lightened the mood by using the euphemism 'bit off more than he can chew' to cleverly say that Haw believed he would be unable to continue as well as it adds some comedic value since he is in fact, in search of cheese. The story also possesses personifications where the writer gives human like characteristics to the mice Sniff and Scurry by mentioning that they had running shoes. There was a good extent of visual imagery placed in my mind whenever there was mention of the enticing thrill of cheese at Cheese Station N. It can be said that whatever you may consider your cheese to be, it is dynamic, meaning it is subject to change, a re-occurring theme in this story. In my opinion the writer was effective in placing concise emphasis on this theme which may be the exact purpose the writer intended for the story. Through the story itself as well as the reunion of the reader, it can be identified that the writer's purpose is to encourage that we embrace change. On the negative side, the story does contain a few noticeable typos which could have deterred the meaning of some sentences however they were easily corrected. In my opinion the story only justified the necessity for adaptation to change in a situation where it leads to a happier circumstance, it neglected to make much mention of certain situations where change does not necessarily lead to a good situation.
In conclusion, Hem however, remained the same throughout the story knowing what he wanted, it could be said that perhaps 'his cheese' was special and he wished to live in that moment, never letting go. May seem foolish, but perhaps he knew that he could change but that would mean giving up his cheese, it can be derived that he was happy being in denial. As he continues to cling, his physical fulfillment will decline and he will pass with that taste of moldy cheese in his mouth. In my opinion Hem is a perfect example of the saying, 'you can bring a horse to the water but you cannot make him drink it'.
The story had a profound effect on the newly formed thought process of persons present at the reunion where basically none wanted to be a Hem in their situation, despite how much they already were. To me the idea is be more like Sniff and Scurry, where If it was a relationship and we choose to settle then we cling and hope for that never changing happy ever after, this would make us similar to Hem. If we decide to just adapt and keep moving on when things get tough, we would be more like Haw. I think we should find the change and adapt together and be like Sniff and Scurry.
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