In The Living, a young adult novel by Matt de la Pena, the reader follows the main character, a teenage boy named Shy, as his quest to work over the summer for extra cash becomes a life threatening journey he never could have expected. In this novel three themes are very present in the forms of Romero disease, stereotyping, and the past versus present experiences. All of these topics arrive in very different ways, but can be traced back to not only Shy’s life experience, but Matt de la Pena’s as well.
At the beginning of the book, Coates imposes the question: “How do I live freely in this black body?” (Coates 12). Although he believes that this question is unanswerable, Coates’ purpose is to express his deepest concerns for his son and to help him understand his personal experiences as a black man. He achieves his purpose by incorporating rhetorical skills such as ethos, pathos, and logos. Coates has been a successful journalist and writer for several years. He previously worked for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and O
It feels good to know that I have not fully limited myself and my thinking to that of a trapped person. According to Mills (2000), a trapped mind does not have the quality of mind essential to grasp the exchange of man and society, nor the biography and history of one’s self or the world. Writing this essay was great for me internally and was needed for me understand that social imagination is an important to personal growth. I now understand that one must have a social imagination to evolve with the changing times of this world; to understand structures of society, to deal with personal troubles, but more importantly, to break the cycle of disadvantage. For me, this means breaking the cycle of poor mindsets and lifestyles within my
“But the snow on the ground did not stay white very long. Nothing does in New York. It started graying at the edges four days after our arrival” (Medina 72). Medina notices this on his way to school, little does he know this is just the beginning of a eye opening experience. Shortly after he gets to school he sees something unexpected, “He [the teacher] slapped her across the face several times. Most students, already practicing the indifference that is keynote of survival in New York, barely turned their heads. I, however, stared, frozen by violence” (Medina 73). This shows the exposure he received in school, he was not expecting the teachers to use violence as punishment but he learned that in school, there was violence and segregation. The teacher lately made a comment about Medina’s skin tone, he reflects on this by saying, “Skin? What does that have to do with any of this? I had never thought of my skin, let alone considered it a mark of foreignness” (73). In the moment, he did not realize that because he was colored, he was any different.
Have you ever felt safe somewhere, but realized your only protection was ignorance? In Jacqueline Woodson’s When a Southern Town Broke a Heart, she introduces the idea that as you grow and change, so does your meaning of home. Over the course of the story, Woodson matures and grows older, and her ideas about the town she grew up in become different. When she was a nine year old girl, Woodson and her sister returned to their hometown of Greenville, South Carolina by train. During the school year, they lived together in Downtown Brooklyn, and travelled to. Once Jacqueline has tasted the sweet life of freedom and privilege in New York, she realizes how ignorant she was about Greenville. Her Grandmother had been protecting her from the racism and segregation that permeated the town like a disease. Through metaphor and character growth, it seems obvious that Woodson is trying to convey the theme that perceptions of home can grow and changes as one grows older.
The Beautiful Struggle, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is a memoir that heavily reflects upon the personal experiences of a young boy that was growing up in West Baltimore. The author, Coates himself, uses his own personal experiences from his life to show the hardships that he had to endure through and preserve on in order to acquire social progress despite the ample number of historical obstacles that were present in his early life. The constant struggle to progress is social standing and striving to gain his parent’s approval and acceptance is the general theme that seems to come up throughout the memoir. In regard to impending social progress, Coates had to live through environmental and social racism along with familial behavioral changes
Can you imagine not being able to choose whether or not you want to be a part of a life filled with violence? Some people are just sucked into it because of choices other people make. For instance, Geoffrey Canada’s mom moved him & his three brothers into to the south Bronx where the journey of violence then began. In the memoir Fist Stick Knife Gun the narrator Geoffrey Canada goes through a series of events that eventually influences him to become the man he is today. Geoffrey Continues to reflect on his experiences and shows how he learned from them being that he grew up very poorly compared to an average kid in a rough neighborhood in the south Bronx where he went through a number of life-changing or eye
Geoffrey Canada does an excellent job of bringing his readers to the streets of the South Bronx and making them understand the culture and code of growing up in a poor, New York City neighborhood in the ‘50s and ‘60s. In his book, Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun, Canada details, through his own childhood experiences, the progression of violence in poverty plagued neighborhoods across America over the last 50 years. From learning to be “brave” by being forced to fight his best friend on a sidewalk at six-years-old, to staring down an enraged, knife wielding, “outsider” with nothing to defend himself but nerve, Canada explains the nightmare of fear that tens of thousands of children live through every day growing up in poor neighborhoods.
Where we live, how we live and who we live with, significantly affects how we perceive the world. Living under the influence of others can create a veil over our identity, and cause us to believe in something we truly are not. While under this veil, we either lose ourselves completely or see the veil concealing ourselves from who we are at core. As a growing boy, Stephen is especially prone to the influence of others. He resides and works at a pulp-saw mill, alongside with his father and the pulp-cutting crew. Stephen’s “willowy fifteen-year old body” juxtaposing with the“faintly humped backs and ox-like shoulders” of the pulp cutting crew causes Stephen to hold the conviction that he is a weakling. Furthermore, his father’s
Society is fooled into believing in the applied connection among people. Benedict Anderson’s idea of imagined communities emphasizes that, “… the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion” (5). Members of neighborhoods, cities, states, or countries feel a sense of unity with other members for living in the same place or maybe having the same basic values, but true unity comes from understanding the similarities among each other, considering the impact a person can have on another, and caring about lives. Recognizing the importance of lives being socially intertwined is necessary to sustain a considerate society.
Between the World and Me, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a powerful book written as a letter from the author to his teenage son. This book outlines the race issue in America from a first hand perspective. The author explains his struggles and fears as he grew up and how those fears transformed into a new meaning as he reached adulthood. Through his personal story, the reader is offered insight into the lives of other African Americans and how they may experience racial injustice themselves.
“Between the World and Me” offered a powerful message that would allow for the reader to analyze their perspective of life. One of Coates powerful messages, that I received, from “Between the World and Me” is that there is a value in struggling, but no guarantee of survival (Ta-Nehisi Coates). For me, this is the most influential because it shows that not everyone has the blessing of making it out of their “struggle” and changing their story to success becoming some sort of success story. To go further in depth, “there is a value in struggling” (Ta-Nehisi Coates) speaks an enormous amount of volume itself. This statement can correlate to numerous people by showing the different outlooks they have on life and the way they value insignificant things. From a personal experience, growing up in my own “struggle” allowed for me to be knowledgeable in situations at Howard University, that most people were not. For example, living in Quad with no heat, or hot water, having to live with the bare minimum of food and much more. On the other hand, experiencing my own “struggle” allowed for me to be a lot more appreciative of the resources that are on
Andy Warhol once said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself”. Change is affected by time and by people in different ways. A negative change can ultimately have a positive outcome. Change is not always bad, but in order for it to be good you need to make it good.
Additionally, I immersed myself in the atmosphere that expressed the same philosophical beliefs that I discovered when engaging other lost students within the classroom. I discovered the reality that would ultimately inspire me to survive and remain strong in the decision that I would make throughout my life. As I