Clayton Byrd Goes Underground Analysis

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In Rita Williams-Garcia’s book, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, the plot revolves around Clayton, who strongly believes in his self-manifested identity, to become a Bluesman. At a young age, Clayton was deeply affected by the death of his grandfather, who he idolized to become. While Clayton’s dismissive mother fails to understand his loss, Clayton ran away from his house to reconcile with the Bluesmen, whom he thought would relate to his grief. The tragic events that Clayton had to face played an imperative aspect on his journey to self-discovery. Even though the author makes Clayton face difficult challenges throughout the story, the struggles helped Clayton attain a sense of self-identity and be at peace with his grandfather’s death.…show more content…
Sentimentalism was used to cultivate sympathy with others in order to promote self-improvement and motivate action to alleviate hardships. In Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, Williams-Garcia had Clayton go through challenges, so the readers can sympathize with Clayton but also be inspired by his character development. At a young age, Clayton was determined to reach his self-manifested identity to overcome the sudden death of his grandfather. Unlike the stories in Golden Age of literature, Clayton faced real obstacles that he needed to deal with to fulfill his ambition. Clayton always wanted to acquire Cool Papa’s identity, but after overcoming challenges he was able to discover his own self-identity. Clayton had to compromise his values to join the Beat Boys because he didn’t want to be a “cute kid”, but that experience helped him find his individual voice that was different from Cool Papa’s. The underground subway symbolizes Clayton’s passage from one phase of life to another. In contrast to the underground’s darkness, Clayton is able to emerge out of it with confidence and acceptance. The journey helped Clayton to be confident with his own self-identity and to accept his Cool Papa’s death. Clayton’s character development is inspiring and motivational for many children, as it shows how a child can overcome many real obstacles and be able to self-grow as an
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