When I Grew Up In Jail Analysis

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The story opens up with the writers first encounter of someone fearing him in public. And although it is purely off of race, his vivid description of himself portrays why she sadly felt that way, as stated “To her, the youngish black man – a broad six feet wo inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket – seemed menacingly close.” (Staples 188). He then goes on to describe his manner which is nothing like the stereotypical young black male, “As a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken – let alone hone to a person’s throat…” (Staples 189). Both these descriptions are vivid, yet they don’t seem to fit the main character and writer as a person.

The author conveys what it is like to be an African American in public, specifically one that does no longer live in the ghetto. Sadly he states that he was never noticed back in his hometown, and there is a specific reason for that, “I was scarcely noticeable against a backdrop of gang warfare, street knifings, and murders. I grew up one
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He recalls an experience of him at his own job, “I was writing for with a deadline story in hand, I was mistaken for a burglar.” (Staples 190). He then refers to research referencing another black reporter that was put in a far worse situation than him, “Mistaking the reporter for the killer, police officers hauled him from his car at gunpoint and but for his press credentials would probably have tried to book him.” Although the overall story has a bit of a melancholy feel to it, the author ends it on bright note by mentioning one of his solutions to public situations by whistling classical pieces, “Virtually everybody seems to sense that a mugger wouldn’t be warbling bright, sunny selections from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. It is my equivalent of the cowbell that hikers wear when they know they are in bear
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