English 12 1872H
Sept. 4 2009
The Barrio (Journal Entry#1)
The author is using the perspective of a new comer, a person first entering the
enclaves of a new world. The opening demonstrates, in my opinion, the arrival of Chicanos
from Mexico or lower California in the search for better opportunities. The concluding
paragraph related to the opening in that the scenes depicted were both on a train either
entering the Barrio or leaving it.
The writer attempts to target all of the human senses, from sight (and this
blinding light on a barrio street corner beats slower ) to hearing ( its metal wheels squealing as
they spin along the silvery tracks ) to touch ( until the train shudders to a halt ) to smell ( the
panderia sends its sweet messenger aroma down the dimly lit street ) and finally to taste ( hot
sugary, pan dulce )
The authors use of metaphors and similes sets out to accomplish painting a very
descriptive mental image for its reader. A sort of playing movie in your mind going from scene
to scene unfolding before your eyes. An example of a simile would be (through the gaps
between the cars blinks a street lamp, and this pulsing light on a barrio street corner beats
slower, like a weary heartbeat. ) An example of a metaphor would be (the darkness and
mystery of dreams engulfed communities fenced off by railroads )
The thesis of this descriptive essay was, in my opinion, that no matter where a
people are moved to, whether its forced or in search of a better life. People will always shape
and mold their environment to the best of their abilities or means, to a more familiar and
comfortable surroundings. A place that is like a little piece of home away from home, a
sanctuary from the unexpected and ever constant aggression from those that are supposed to
be more advanced and civilized. A Place that will keep at bay the hate, unfairness, and provide
shelter and nurturing to a people far from home. The essays thesis, in my opinion, was well
supported by the authors use of detail in his description. It was like I was actually there
experiencing it for myself.
English 12 1872H
September 12th 2009
Truth (Journal Entry#2)
Life has a funny way of teaching you lessons, trying to distinguish truth from
deceit can become an overwhelming test of one’s resolve. Trying to figure out who speaks from
the heart and who clouds reality to conform to their own personal needs. How to determine ones
path when guidance is far from reach when it should be close and constant. How do you follow
a righteous path when hunger dictates your actions and the people you trust are causing your
confusion. Thoughts of fear, uncertainty, and self blame are ever present along with the eluding
question of why me. Why must life be so hard so early in my existence and where are the ones
who are supposed be my guide in this world of rules. We survive the best we can and hope that
one day eyes will open.
I am a firm believer that we are defined by the trials and tribulations we all
experience on our journey through life. The very hardships that tear at our well being also later
become a protective layer from which we draw our strength.
From early childhood stability was a concept that was fleeting at best. Nomadic
is more an appropriate term for the amount of times and locations I was moved to. I thought
nothing of it at the time because for a small child anything your parents do is normal. I mean
they make up our whole world; nothing influences us more than our parents. From a hospital in
the Bronx, to a farm in Camuy, Puerto Rico ( where I’m told I spoke nothing but Spanish, which
if you spoke to me today you wouldn’t believe it either ) to being a resident of sunny orange
county California. That was the last time I can remember living with my parents, I was about six
or seven years old. There was always one recurring memory of my mother driving me to school
and always saying see you later alligator and my ever cheerful response of in a while crocodile.
My parents disappeared from my reality and I found myself back in New York
living with my grandmother. For years with no explanation of events that eluded me, I waited
for their return. Soon the memory of them would be erased and vanish like the setting of the sun
ending a day’s full cycle. Again those feelings of fear, uncertainty, and self blame wash over me
and I ask that ever fleeting question why me? Mother now stems from grandmother and the title
is taken with best intentions and sympathy for a youth who had no control over history’s events.
More time passes and the nomadic life I once knew was replaced with the stability of a loving
surrogate family that I came to be a part of.
Not having my parents around affected me deeply and has always left a sense of
wondering what unseen events and personal choices of theirs have shaped my life even though
there was limited influence. I have come to realize through my life experiences, that everything
we do in this life causes ripples that affect many other lives. Through choices and demonstration
of character and values, do we shape the world around us either for the better or for the worse.
I have two children of my own now and I make it a priority to put my best foot
forward in ensuring the best possible future I can make a reality for them. So in response to what
my values are, I will leave you with this brief list.
responsibility: I’ve learned to take responsibility for my actions and to deal with any
consequences or blessings that come as a result. I am an active member of the environment in
which I live and therefore have a moral obligation to be a positive influence to my children,
peers, family, and to the society from which I come.
2. Dedication: I will apply myself to the best of my ability in the pursuit of constant evolution
and growth as a person. My children look to me for guidance and follow my example on how to
act and behave. I feel that knowledge will allow me to make informed decisions which in turn
will reflect in the morals and values that will shape their lives.
3. sacrifice: To know when to put your own wants and desires in their proper place and to live
For something greater than yourself. To know when hard work and dedication are necessary to
achieve a certain goal and anything less would result in failure. To put my morals and values
above all other personal wants and desires no matter how appealing.
Through discipline, hard work, dedication, and sacrifice, I will strive to achieve
the goals I set out to obtain. Though the world is imperfect and harsh at times, I will bring all
my aspirations and philosophy’s to help guide me when no path is clear and to illuminate any
darkness of thought that may try and cloud my better judgment of experience.
English 12 1872H
September 21st 2009
Beauty: when the other dancer is the self, by Alice Walker (Journal Entry#3)
Alice Walker writes an essay encompassing her life and the main events that have shaped who she has become as an adult. She goes from early childhood and complete confidence bordering on conceitedness, to going through a physical transformation, a few years later, that leaves her scarred both physically and emotionally. Walker moves through her adolescence in a state of withdrawal and constant self loathing for her physical imperfection and her lack of, in her mind, beauty. Later on in her early teens, staying with her brother in Boston, She is taken to get her scar removed in the hopes that she will be able to move forward without the burden of her imperfection.
After the operation she immediately becomes a different person, a person that has been buried and confined but apparently never lost. She regains her confidence which in turn brings her all the things she felt she was too ugly and ashamed to obtain before. It is a hint at how a physical imperfection and the minds immature tendency to dwell, can allow for a person to watch helplessly as their life moves by greatly impeded by their self deception or state of mind.
Finally, as an adult, through an interview about her up and coming literary works, through the realization sparked by her daughters simplistic observation, and a recount of witnessing the deserts empowering and unforgettable essence, Walker reflects on the importance she has put on physical beauty and how the lack of it , in her mind, has led her to become her own worst enemy. How she has allowed vanity to shape her thoughts and image of the world around her, to the point of self loathing and lack of self worth. If not for that operation at fourteen, I firmly believe that her life would have taken a completely different direction, a direction that would have had her leading an enclosed and incomplete life.
Walker learns through her experiences to be grateful for what she has and that beauty is only skin deep. There is more to life than just appearances and we should be motivated by our capabilities and not be influenced by the opinion of others and their imperfections in personality.
English 12 1872H
September 25th 2009
Learning to read and write, by Fredrick Douglas (Journal Entry#4)
Learning to read and write is an essay by Fredrick Douglas demonstrating the power of literacy and the eye opening effect it has on its recipient. Starting from his early childhood, Douglas recounts the beginnings of his informal education and relates it to slavery and how its very nature limits the growth of some and corrupts the innocents of others. What started as a natural undertaking and what was given freely, became as the forbidden apple and was barred from consumption by the very person who initiated its progress. Learning to read and write was forbidden and in the opinion of some, a dangerous undertaking that can only lead to chaos.
But once started, Douglas was insatiable for knowledge and would obtain it any way he knew how and from anyone who would teach him. As Douglas’s Knowledge grew so did his awareness for the evils that are accepted by his restrained brethren and took for common place by an oppressive and ignorant people. The beginnings of Douglas’s passion for the abolishment of slavery was born and instilled into a mind that was oppressed, but unwilling to accept the status-quo.
The power of knowledge is clear and apparent and its form in infancy is described as reading. Through its journey of maturation , the skills to write and record thought is acquired and the world opens up its most intimate secrets to a well forming mind. Only then does thought turn into action and through knowledge is the world able to be changed. Without Douglas’s ability to read and write, He would have been just another victim of circumstance and we would of never known the extent of his literary brilliance and what the power of knowledge can awaken in any one of us.
English 12 1872H
October 17th 2009
Letter from Birmingham Jail (Journal#5)
Dr. Martin Luther King defines an unjust law as this; an unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law; or in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas: an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law (King 119). The law that King is referring to is the unjust law of segregation adopted and followed religiously by the white population of Birmingham, from which derives the systematic abuse and separation of its black population.
I agree whole heartedly with Kings distinction of an unjust law and believe any law that is used to favor one race while on the other hand suppresses the natural growth of another, is a law that is corrupt and damaging to all of man-kind as a whole. Segregation was meant as a substitution to slavery and was used by populaces determined on the mind-set that the colored race is one of mindless beasts that are not fit to participate in their society. The fact that anyone would use color as an argument to determine capabilities and worth, tells me that human nature is one of ever increasing need for constant analysis and evolution towards enlightenment.
Unjust laws have been ever present in this world’s history and have been usually implemented to maintain the status quo. An example of modern unjust laws that protect ideal views on morals, but tend to steer away from gods laws of humans unalienable rights, would be the controversial issue of a female’s right to an abortion. On one hand it is seen as a lack of morals and against the laws of god to destroy an unborn life, to which some degree I can agree with. But on the other hand I am a strong believer of a person’s right to freedom of choice. Our country was founded on the power of freedom and the unrelenting pursuit of equal rights and therefore should always strive for those ends not just when it’s convenient for the times.