Nature Vs. Nurture In Margaret Laurence's The Half Husky

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One of the longest and oldest debate in science and psychology is the debate of nature versus nurture. Simply, it is trying to answer the question of where one gets their traits. Some think that it is mostly from their DNA, having predisposed traits. This is the ‘nature side of the argument’. Although others, on the nurture side, believe our traits are based on our experiences, our childhood, and external forces. In Margaret Laurence’s The Half Husky, a story of a husky and abuse, she tries to convey the idea that our actions and attitudes are greatly affected by external forces. The external forces (that can be either positive or negative) that act upon the characters in ‘The Half-Husky’ completely affects how their life turns out and their…show more content…
The text states: “His aunt, with an explosive quickness that made me jerk in every nerve, snatched the wooden spoon out of the bowl of batter and hit him across the face. Harvey’s eyes opened a little more, but only a little. (Page 40)” This violent act, and Harvey’s almost nonchalant response, shows that this abuse is regular and has been going on for a long time. Also, how she assumes how Harvey is automatically guilty of stealing the telescope, without even asking him. His life at home is a negative external effect, and would have negative impacts on his attitude and actions. An example of how his negative upbringing impacted his behaviour, his abuse of Nanuk. Throughout the story, Harveys abuses the dog. From ‘[driving] the wooden javelin at the dog (Page 31)’, to actually ‘lighting a whole bunch of matches all together,... and dropping them [on Nanuk] (Page 35)’. This horrible abuse and violence likely stems from his own abuse in his home. This vicious cycle of abuse, coupled with neglect, leads Harvey to become the abuser, instead of the abused. He was ignored, not loved in his own home, not shown the care and love that is necessary in every childhood. Because Harvey was abused, he thinks it will be okay for him to abuse him, unleashing all those bottled up emotions

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