You are on page 1of 3


Integrity is a complex word. To fully understand it each level of the word has to
be established. The first level is honesty. Honesty is being sincere, truthful, and open.
This is an important level of integrity because it takes courage to be candid. For integrity
to work honesty has to be a habit. A great example of honesty is Abraham Lincoln. He
remained truthful about who he was and the plans he had for America. Honest Abe told
the country in the Emancipation Proclamation, I do order and declare that all persons
held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward
shall be free, and implied that he wanted all to be free. He kept that promise, which is a
common quality, found in someone with integrity. Abraham Lincolns father didnt
understand that Lincoln was intelligent rather than strong, so he would beat him. This
caused Lincoln grate distress since his own father was against him. Lincoln fell into a
state of depression he didnt recognize yet. The older he grew the worse his depression
got and the death of his child added to his sadness. He still managed to save the country
and win the civil war even though he was a conflicted man, the whole South was against
him, and the weight of democracy and his own depression was on his shoulders. His
honesty was a habit and it did not waver. Some people referred to Abraham Lincoln as an
autocratic president. This is because of the different acts he did, which to some seemed to
be over stepping the boundary of the presidents role and going against the Constitution.
For example he suspended the writ of habeas corpus, but everything he did was to
preserve the nation and save the union. It is true that honesty comes in many forms.
Whether it is honoring a promise or telling the truth, it keeps the same meaning. Honesty
comes easily the more you practice it. Once the skill is honed in on the next level of
integrity becomes clear.

Even with honesty integrity is not reached until all levels are fulfilled. Character,
the next level, is the sum of what you do and are. Integrity isnt just a side trait; its a
dictator of a life style. In The Scarlet Ibis the narrator is an example of someone whos
selfish desires lead to a strong enough pride that over powers the love for a brother. He
teaches Doodle how to walk and does not give up because he does not want a brother
who cannot walk. The parents, in the story believe he is doing this for doodle, but he
really is doing it for himself. Is that not equivocation. He is doing what is right even with
on one watching and he is consistently helping his brother. He also had the courage to
take on a hard task, but something is missing. A quality found in a person of integrity is
that he or she does not do it for personal benefit, but for others sake. This is the opposite
of what the narrator was doing. The motivation behind what he is doing is not correct.
His character is defined with selfishness and pride, which are two traits that integrity is
not found with. It is the informal fallacy slippery slope to say the narrator has integrity.
He might have some qualities, but not all. Allowing this to slip by degrades the definition
and qualities found in someone with integrity. The whole meaning behind the word
would be changed. It is not possible to change what is right and what is wrong.
Integrity is a person who has the courage to do what is right with or without
someone watching, but what does that mean exactly if different people have different
definitions for what is right verses what is wrong. Who actually has the authority to say if
they are correct or not? In different religions, they have different opinions, but all seem to
believe they are right. How is it that they are all right when there are contradictions
within the different religions? While Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross for
them the Muslims believe that Jesus didnt die on the cross. Its clear that they both think

they are right, but which one is actually is, is the underlining question. If they are both
spreading the word about their religion and doing what is right which one has integrity
about their religion. In my religion it is wrong to not spread the word of all that Jesus did
and by not doing this I am either not having integrity in my own religion or having
integrity in a different religion. Integrity cannot not be defined straightforward as right
verses wrong, but also needs to include the realm of topics it applies to and what right is.
Judgment can save someone from a terrible accident or dangerous situation. The
third and final level of integrity is right and wrong. Doing what is right is hard to do
when the definition of right is unknown. Right is a tricky word because it can be very
opinionated. Doing what is right must be justified as well as other things like being
correct, proper, reasonable or factual. Someone who has character and has honesty cant
do what is right when he or she has does not know the difference between right and
wrong. Integrity isnt something done on a whim. It is either a quality or not. The
Lottery is a perfect example for right, wrong, and integrity. In The Lottery every
citizen in the town attends a meeting also known as the lottery. Mrs. Hutchinson, the
main character, decided to attend the lottery like she does every year. She was doing what
is right in her society even though she had nothing to gain from attending the lottery. She
is honoring the commitment of the town, which is a quality of integrity. Year after year
she attends the lottery consistently even though she knows it could cost her, her life. She
receives the black dot, which means death. She does not want the fate of the black dot,
but does not deny having it. Imagine being put into a situation where integrity and life
becomes the major conflict. There must be a consistency and habit of integrity and
courage to pick integrity over life.