Thursday, June 9, 2011

Coming Of Age Project-poem


         Days would drag by
                              not a care in our hearts
            or a fear in our minds.
                        We would play under the sun
                                    and dream under the moonlight
of the fun that awaited us.
            We had scrapes on our knees
                        and tears in our eyes
                                    but we were un-destructible.
            Eventually though,
we saw the end of a setting sun
                        and the rise of a new one.

So many things
                        I wanted
                                    to be.
So many places
                        I wanted
                                    to see.
I tried
      to do everything
                                     the time grew too short
               and eventually
                        the alarm clock rang
and it was time to leave one
                        and enter another.
As I grew
I wished to grow
to be all the things
                        that were lost
                                                            right when found.
            of course life
                        kept on ticking away.

And as the days flew by,
            I spent too much time
                        wishing that
all things could stay just the same.
But nothing would go back
                        to the carefree days

            there were things
                                                I wanted to be
            and places
                                                I wanted to see.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Reading Response 2

         Throughout “The Girl Who Fell From The Sky,” by Heidi Durrow, the main character Rachel experiences a lot of changes, and a lot of emotions about her self, life and family that she cannot explain. The book takes place over several years for her, and during those years she deals with hatred, loss, and self-questioning. I believe this is a coming of age novel because the things she deals with are key aspects of growing up, and coming of age.
            Rachel deals with a lot of loss as a kid. Most of her family (minus her father) died when she was very young. As she gets older, she struggles with many memories, memories that she wishes she could return to. Though she only knew them for several years, they had a great impact on her life. Right when Rachel was getting used to life with her Aunt Lorretta and grandmother, her aunt dies tragically, leaving her once again in shock.
            She also deals with a lot of hatred. At multiple points in the book, it is clear Rachel is somewhat angry at her father for not coming back for her. She needed him for support, and he did not even make an effort to contact her.
 “”Why hasn’t daddy come back for me?’ I asked. ‘I just don’t know, darling. I just don’t know.’”
Rachel deals with hatred about her race from others as well. When she first moved in with her grandma and aunt, none of the other kids could figure her out, and some of them disliked her for her differences.
            The most important thing Rachel deals with in this story is self-questioning. She questions constantly throughout the book whether or not she should be proud of her ethnical background. She deals with many issues as a child because she is mixed; she feels like people will not accept her because of who she is. Not just other people, actually, she has problems with self-acceptance as well.
             The main shift Rachel goes through in this book is innocence to experience. She is at first innocent to racism, and fears it. Once she has an experience with racism, she learns to ignore it and be proud of who she is, and that though there are many non-accepting people in the world, there are even more that are accepting of others (this is also an example of false view of world to correct view.)
            Growing up may be the hardest point in a person’s life, with all the shifts and experiences with real life problems, but is still very important. The years between childhood and adulthood are the ones where all the things you learn and experiences you have with the world lead you to be who you are in later life. In some cases, like Rachel’s, you find your true self, and learn to stick with it. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Coming of Age: Reading Response 1

Racism has been an issue affecting many people across the world for many, many years. "The Girl That Fell From the Sky," by Heidi Durrow, is a book about several children dealing with race related issues along with the struggle of growing up. Rachel Morse, the main character of the book, is a victim of pressure and confusion because she is mixed. She feels like she can remain loyal to only one of her backgrounds because of the social pressure she faces in society.
 As a child, Rachel was the lone survivor of an accident that killed her mother and siblings. She dealt with many family problems when she was young: she had a racist stepfather, a nervous mother, and split parents that she both loved very much. I think her parents divorce may have caused her to feel like she had to choose about who she was; she felt like she could be either white like her mother, or african american like her father.
Rachel, after the accident, was taken in by her grandmother and her aunt, and forced to start at a new school. At school, other children were as confused as she was about her background. They told her how to act if she wanted to fit in, how to be.

"I am light skined-ed. That's what the other kids say. And I talk white. I think new things when they say this... They tell me it's bad to have ashy knees. They say stay out of the rain so my hair doesn't go back. They say white people don't use washrags... I do. They have a language i don't know but I understand. I learn that black people don't have blue eyes. I learn that I am black. I have blue eyes. I put all these facts into the new girl."

She had trouble making friends. She feared that if she was seen with white people, she would now be accepted by black people and vice versa. I believe she may have felt like she could be a part of only one group of people. As she grew older, she started lying about her background.

"'Where did you get those beautiful blue eyes?' he asked. I hesitated to answer. Telling people only led to changed impressions. 'from my Aunt Loretta', I say quietly."

Though there may be less racism around children now than there was during Rachel's time (1970's), kids do still deal with the same kinds of social pressure. All Rachel wanted was to be normal. Many kids nowadays will do anything to be normal, to fit in. The truth of the matter is, there is nothing anyone can do to change who they are.
"The Girl Who Fell From the Sky" was a very well written eyeopening book, that led me to an understanding of a saying. "Be true to yourself." You will be surprised how much admiration a person may get for being original.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Prompt: An Experience With Pain/Loss

One of my first ( and [quite luckily] only) experiences with pain/loss was when I was 7 and my goldfish died. I know, this doesn't really seem like a very major loss, but for me, it was. I cried several times, and spent several days feeling sad. It was my first real experience with loss.
   I had gotten my fish from a magician named Amazing Ken who was at my birthday party. I had gotten many goldfish from him in the past birthdays, but this one I felt was special. I named him Harry. Amazing Ken's birthday goldfish I knew were not meant to last long, so when he died a month later, I wasn't terribly surprised. I had been coming back from vacation with my family when he died. I looked at him and immediately, with my 7 year old knowledge of fish death-causes, determined that he died of a fish stroke. I was extremely sad.
  Growing up, everyone experiences loss in someway or another, whether it is a small goldfish or a family member. Though many different types of things can be lost in life, there is one thing that I know for certain everyone loses- their innocence. I believe that when my fish died, a little piece of my innocence died. That was the first time I realized that things actually do die; before that incident, I though that death was just a made up thing used to scare little kids. An experience with loss, while growing up, I believe is a very important experience to have.

Prompt: Important epiphanies/realizations

We have just read "The Fury of Overshoes" by Anne Sexton. The poem is narrated by a person who appears to be looking back on their childhood, and remembering little things. After reading it, it really  got me thinking about how children feel about adulthood, and how adults feel about childhood.
  As a kid, I always wished I was big. I always admired the fact that grown ups got to make decisions on their own, without their parents looking over them. They got to live in their own houses, and make money, and have jobs (which as a kid, always seemed to be so much easier than school.) Now that I'm older, I wish exactly the opposite of what I did as a kid. I would do anything to be carefree again, and to have my parents make my choices; sometimes I think I'm not ready to make choices on my own. Soon I will have to deal with real problems, problems greater than "she stole my favorite pencil." Now that I'm getting close to be able to make choices on my own, suddenly I don't want to anymore.
  This makes me realize that growing up, we always want things we can't have. I have always known this, but only now do I start seeing that it applies to things greater than just toys. It applies to life, especially certain points in it. As a kid, I wanted to be big. As a teen, I want to be young again. There is no doubt in me that when I'm an adult, I'll wish to be a teenager.
  This realization has lead me to a decision. Instead of wishing I could be somewhere else in my life, I should enjoy everything I am now, and everything I have now. Wishing for pointless things will only lead to more wasted time, and more regrets in the future.
Anne Sexton's poem gave me a whole new perspective on life, and got me realize that the only time that matters now is the present.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"My Papa's Waltz" Response (final draft)

I read “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke in class for the first time a few weeks ago, and almost immediately I liked it. Though I enjoyed many aspects of the poem, the thing I liked the most, and found the most interesting about the poem was how the poem appears to have different meanings. Some people in my class when we first read it believed that it was about a boy being abused by his drunk father. Others, like myself, interpreted the poem as simply a narrative about a young boy waltzing and playing with his dad. The main reason I believe this is: the father could possibly not have been drunk in the first place.
My group and I believed that the father in the poem may not have been drunk. The majority of my class said that he was, and I can sort of understand why. After all, the first two lines of the poem are:The whiskey on your breath could make a small boy dizzy…” Many people immediately thought that this line meant that the father was drunk. I did too, but after thinking about it for a while, I realized that though it is still a possibility that the father is drunk, he may not be. No where in the poem does it state how drunk he is. He could possibly just have been drinking a little, not enough to actually be drunk.
      The second line states that it is enough whiskey to make a small boy dizzy. The boy is most likely standing very close to his father since they are waltzing, so it’s not like he can smell the whiskey from far away. Also,  the amount of whiskey, or just alcohol in general that it takes a little kid to feel dizzy is not a lot at all. I remember when I was really young feeling dizzy standing near my dad if he had drunk maybe a glass or less of alcohol. Just because a little kid feels dizzy standing right next to his or her parent who had been drinking, it doesn’t mean the parent is necessarily intoxicated.
       In the second stanza, there is this line:We romped until the pans slid from the kitchen shelf…”
A lot of my classmates again presented this as evidence the father was drunk. I saw it a different way. I think that just because the dad is knocking things down while dancing doesn’t mean he is drunk; it is quite possible that the father is just clumsy, or maybe a bad dancer. 
      This is a line in the third stanza: “…every step you missed, my right ear scraped a buckle.”
Again, many classmates thought that in this line, the little boy was getting hit by his dad. The boy is most likely very small, likely not taller than his dad’s waist. Maybe, since they are dancing, his ear is just scraping against his dad’s belt buckle.
There is no evidence in "My Papa's Waltz" that the father is intoxicated and beating his son. Then again, there is never a wrong way to interpret a poem. Most poems are written as mysteries: authors want you to have several different perspectives of the poem. Though I have my opinions about the meaning of "My Papa's Waltz", I can see the other side of the argument in some ways, and I understand that there are many more ways to see the poem.