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The Paw Print

The Meaning of Bedtime


Prompted question: Your parents say that 11 pm is your bedtime, but they don’t enforce it. Is 11 pm still your bedtime? 


In answering the question of whether or not 11 pm is truly your bedtime, we must embark on a journey through your sleep patterns and explore the intricacies of definitions. In addition, we must classify the meaning of “bedtime” and examine the specificities by which rules are enforced.

Suppose we answer the question purely with logic and disregard of circumstances, then 11 pm is your bedtime. The term ‘bedtime’ is defined as “a time for going to bed” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). This definition of “bedtime” suggests a time allotted for going to bed. In other words, the parents’ assertion of a bedtime would make that bedtime the allotted time for going to bed. 

Another purely logistical interpretation could be that all times are bedtime. A time allotted for going to bed could be given by yourself, your parents, or other people. The phrase “a time for going to bed” is broad and flexible. It suggests that bedtime is not necessarily fixed, but rather refers to the period when an individual typically goes to sleep. 

In either of these two circumstances, 11 pm is your bedtime. If all times are bedtime, then 11 pm is one of your bedtimes.

When factoring in circumstances, and rules of law, 11 pm is still your bedtime. Suppose a curfew is enacted in England, prohibiting people from leaving their homes after 8 pm. Mary, a citizen of England, leaves her house for a late-night walk at 10 pm, but law enforcement does not take action. The curfew set in place by the authorities is still 8 pm. Despite Mary breaking the rule, and not being punished, the curfew is still 8 pm. 

This also applies to your situation. Your parents have designated a bedtime for you. You do not abide, but the fact remains that 11 pm is the time designated for sleep by an authority figure. 

In conclusion, whether through logical interpretation or considering external circumstances, 11 pm stands as your bedtime.

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