Stephanie Ericsson's "The Way We Lie" approaches lying from a unique perspective. She casually describes different kinds of lies. It's something everyone does, she implies. But at the end of her essay, she argues that lies are not harmless and do hurt people. Our class examined the topic of lying by talking about our experiences with lying.
We started off by coming up with examples the different kinds of lies described in Ericsson's essay. There are lies that are told because the truth hurts, as Sarah R. pointed out. There are lies that make you look better, said Katie. Britt added that there are lies that make life seem more exciting, like embellishing a story. Joe brought up "A Child Called It," a true story about an abused boy who lied because of fear. There are also lies, like stereotypes, that are told casually every day. Lies range in levels of seriousness. So can we really say that all lies are harmful?
The discussion veered into stories about lies we've told our parents. Then it swerved into lies our parents have told us.
It seems like when we're the ones getting lied to, the lies feel more hurtful. Also, lies feel more harmful when they have a negative consequence. This is something to think about further. We may not know the consequence of our lies. Does that mean that lie is harmless?
Questions for Writing
1. Write about a time when you told a lie or someone told a lie to you. What was the lie? Why was it told? What were the consequences? Think about Ericsson's argument in relation to your story. Does your story prove that lies are harmless or harmful?
2. Ericsson's essay categorizes many different lies. Do you agree or disagree with her categories? Choose one category of lies to analyze in an essay. Write about a time when you told that particular kind of lie or someone told that particular lie to you. Use your experience to prove whether you agree or disagree with Ericsson's description of that lie. Feel free to write about a lie that she forgot to include, or a category that doesn't work as a lie, in your opinion.