Document Type

Junior Award Winner

Award Date

Fall 2010

Course Name

Literary Explorations III


Margaret Cain


Morals begin with parental instructions and pure bribery, such as promising playtime if children follow instructions and putting them in time-out if they act out inappropriately. However, over time, this outwardly enforced moral code must become internalized for a person to truly be ethical. Internalization happens when a person develops a sense of boundaries and behavior to live by without prompting. This process of creating standards draws on one’s experiences and knowledge of how the world views and responds to certain actions. The moral lessons present in art, which everyone is exposed to beginning at a very young age, help shape this knowledge by modeling situations and identifying wanted and unwanted behavior. Therefore, cultural values that have lasted through several generations can be passed on and established as a standard from a very young age. Over time, one decides based on such values what is acceptable behavior and what is “beneath” oneself, and this sense becomes a moral code.