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Music In The Baroque

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Running head: Compare and Contrast. Maslow versus Elizabeth Cohen

Compare and Contrast: Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs versus

author of The House on Beartown Road Ð'- Elizabeth Cohen

Dina L. Rodriguez

Saint Joseph College

Abraham Maslow Ð'- a humanistic psychologist Ð'- "developed a theory of personality that has influenced a number of different fields, including education" (Simons, Irwin & Drinnien, 1987). A concept used in the development of a person as a whole across his/her lifespan, this theory is known as the Hierarchy of Needs. "It remains valid today for understanding human motivation" (Alan Chapman, 2001-4).

Maslow's hierarchy is relatively known today as a pyramid with 5 basic levels (see diagram), each cannot be built upon or no one person can progress in life until the previous need has been satisfied. "Humans start with a very weak disposition [infants] that is then fashioned fully as the person grows. If the environment is right, people will grow straight and beautiful, actualizing the potentials they have inherited. If the environment is not "right" (and mostly it is not) they will not grow tall and straight and beautiful" (Simons, Irwin & Drinnien). The five basic needs are: physiological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem and finally, the need for self-actualization.

Physiological needs supersede all in a sense that if we do not have oxygen to breath, food to eat, clean water to drink, and the means for elimination , how else would we be able to grow and survive? It is without these needs that Maslow states we cannot advance to the next level or maintain quality of life (Lois White, 2001).

The next level Ð'- safety and security Ð'- surrounds the need for shelter from protection from the outside environment including inclement weather, stability within the home/family life and the security of both physical and emotional factors that can affect the quality of life in either a positive or negative manner. "Illness is often a threat to safety because the stability of life is disrupted" (White).

The third level Ð'- love and belonging Ð'- integrates the need for both giving and receiving love. Without this need for friendship, giving and receiving love and affection, how can one possibly develop emotion or a sense of self? This brings me to Maslow's next level: self-esteem (White).

The self-esteem needs are said to be the most influential when the first three needs are met. The need for self-esteem arises from the accomplishments and goals one achieves and the admiration he/she receives from others. "When the needs are satisfied, the person feels self-confident and valued; however, if they are frustrated, the person feels inferior, weak, helpless and worthless" (Simons et al.).

The last of the needs, the top of the hierarchy pyramid, is the need for self-actualization. This need basically describes the person as fully meeting all needs prior and realizing his/her dream or goal in life. "Maslow describes self-actualization as a person's need to be and do that which a person was "born to do"; "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write". If the person does not fulfill the need, he or she may feel as if something is missing, uneasy within themselves even if all needs prior have been successfully satisfied (Simons et al.).

In the book of memoirs, The House on Beartown Road, author Elizabeth Cohen experiences Ð'- what I would like to call Ð'- the "inverse effect" of the hierarchy. She was already at the top of the pyramid Ð'- actualized Ð'-, but as life took its course, circumstances seemed to have had her climbing back down. It is known that our existence here on earth won't ever or always be perfect; we will have our share of ups and downs. In Elizabeth's situation, life at the beginning of her story seemed like a fairytale.

Elizabeth was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico; the daughter of Julia and Sanford Cohen and had an older sister named Melanie. Her life growing up, one would be envious of; however, her relationship with her parents didn't seem as fulfilling. Although she traveled to and lived in exotic countries with her family, due to her father's profession Ð'- author and professor Ð'- had the utmost in education and her parents "never failed to attend to our needs and undertook the most formal route of parenting"; Elizabeth always felt as if it was more of a duty for her mother to be a parent rather than the instinctual motherly love you should feel as a child; when she longed for a hug from her father, "he'd always been good for a double pat on the back when I needed one" (Elizabeth Cohen, 2003).

She attended the University of New Mexico Ð'- where her father taught Ð'- and upon graduation from the MFA program at Columbia University in New York City, she worked various odd jobs. The night she met her husband Shane Ð'- back in New Mexico Ð'- the two became inseparable. They shared much of the same interests, goals and "within two years we were married and moving to New York City to pursue our careers in writing and art" (Cohen).

Once settled in the city, they had their first child Ava. Upon giving birth to her, they bought an old farmhouse in rural New York; Elizabeth got a job writing a column for the local newspaper and Shane set up an art studio within the house and "agreed to be a stay-at-home dad". All the pieces of the puzzle of life seemed to be falling into place, "life seemed idyllic", until Elizabeth's ailing father went to live with them. "I had no idea how disaster could smack into a life and change everything" (Cohen). This takes us back to how White (2001) compares the second level of needs Ð'- safety and security Ð'- when illness becomes prevalent within an otherwise healthy, stable family.

At the time of his arrival, it was quite evident that Sanford Cohen was stricken with Alzheimer's disease. Elizabeth knew it would be difficult to take care of her father, a new baby and still be able to enjoy the life she was building with Shane, but this was her father and she was willing; as stated by White (2001), once you become self-actualized, you are confident and prepared to face new challenges in your life. Elizabeth had no idea that Shane would leave her 9 months later because he couldn't handle the responsibility, the winter to follow would be so cold, or her life would slip



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