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The Other Side Of The River Analysis

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The Other Side of The River tells a story of two towns: One by the name of St. Joseph and one by the name of Benton Harbor, which are 95 percent white and 92 percent black respectively. Although these two towns are geographically close, they are socially separated by class, race, and virtue. After the death of Eric McGinnis, a black teenage boy from the town of Benton Harbor, tensions grew between the two towns. The story of McGinnis’ death had several versions to it and the one you believed in was indicative of which side of the river you called home. In this paper, I will describe the concepts of meaning and social audiences and show how they are illustrated in this novel. Many believe that meaning is based on one’s behavior or choice of action and how it reflects a person; however, that is not necessarily true. The essence of evil, immoral, and unjustifiable acts do…show more content…
Eric’s mother, family, and friends, who all fall under the concept of informal audience, believe that Eric was murdered. Some believe he was shot by a white man and others believe he was drowned by one, nonetheless they all believe the people from St. Joseph took part in covering up his death and making sure no one would find out the truth. All the while, the informal audience of St. Joseph consists of their residents who believe that Eric was suicidal and that he willingly jumped into the lake or he somehow accidently drowned.
There is a continuous contest over meaning when it comes down to Eric’s death. In the novel The Other Side of The River, both towns of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph argue that their meaning behind his death is the truth. Unfortunately, by the end of the novel no one truly knows what happened to Eric McGinnis, his death will remain a mystery between the two towns of Michigan. Throughout this paper I used illustrations from the novel to support my argument of meaning and social
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