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.

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