Aldous Huxley Questions and Answers

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Help me analyze the following quote: "Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him."

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Marietta Sadler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This quotation essentially means that experience is not contained within the moment at which something happens to somebody, but rather extends beyond that moment and encompasses the lessons that somebody learns (and applies) from those moments. In this sense, experience is a continual process, not a self-contained moment.

For example, if a child puts his hand into a fire and is burned, that child will likely be more wary of fires on future occasions. The child's experience will, therefore, extend to encompass all such future moments. Likewise if somebody has a bad experience of love, that person is likely to approach new relationships more cautiously, or at least differently, in the future.

We can develop our interpretation of Huxley's quotation a little further if we consider its broader context. The quotation is taken from a 1932 text entitled Texts and Prefaces , which is a collection of poems written by different poets and accompanying commentaries written by Huxley. In the passage...

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tjbrewer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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