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.