True Advocates of Justice and Community
Authors Robert Frost, Jill McDonough, Frances E.W. Harper and Fr. Peter- Hans Kolvenbach and even Stephen Graham Jones all wrote in different time periods and have unique styles of writing however one theme that is common in all their works is the importance of sense of community. The poems “Mending Wall”, “Accident Mass. Ave” and “Learning to Read” use different techniques to portray that humans, often without realizing it, have a tendency to always connect with other humans. Kolvenbach’s “Commitment to Justin in Jesuit higher Education” goes on to say that our whole life is filled with opportunities to promote justice and become involved with others. Finally author Stephen Graham Jones uses his literature to explain his culture and how it affects the people around him. The many works of literature we have read so far show me that regardless of where we are there is always room for self-advancement as well as advancement for society on a whole.
Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” clearly portrays two people’s different opinions. The narrator and his neighbor meet once again to repair the wall that separates their property, however this time the narrator suggests that there is no use for the wall. The narrator constantly questions why walls make good neighbors; instead believes that the wall is a hindrance from getting to know each other. Frost tries to show that the narrator longs for a connection with his neighbor apart from the wall that separates them. He says, “There where it is we do not need the wall: He is all pine and I am apple orchard. My apple trees will never get across 25 And eat the cones under his pines” (Poetry 360)
Likewise the narrator in Jill McDonough’s “Accident, Mass. Ave.” tries to form a different kind of relationship with a complete stranger. McDonough takes a frustration many Americans would have, getting into an accident, and shows that you can make even that experience a good one. The narrator uses this minor car accident as an opportunity to be friendly instead of overacting. It’s quite noble when the narrator says,” so I put my arms around her and I held her, middle of the street, Mass. Ave., Boston, a couple blocks from the bridge. I hugged her, and I said we were scared, weren't we? And she nodded and we laughed.” (Poetry 619) McDonough really shows a sense of community by making the two characters compassionate rather than angry.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper promotes justice in “Learning to Read” by making an argument against the phase, "Knowledge didn't agree with slavery-'Twould make us all too wise." (Poetry, 608) The narrator definitely uses the fact that slaves were expected to just work and not be educated as a motivation to learn and proven that she is determined to be educated. In Harper’s poem instead of making a connection with those around her, the narrator uses their words of discouragement and negativity as motivation to make herself a better person.
Despite being Jain and not Jesuit Fr. Peter- Hans Kolvenbach’s work“ Commitment to Justin in Jesuit higher Education”, really inspired me to become more involved and always be an advocate for justice. Kolvenbach really forms a sense of community when he writes, “… not to impose our religion on others, but rather to propose Jesus and his message of God’s kingdom in a spirit of love to everyone.” (Kolvenbach, 26) The “Commitment to Justin in Jesuit higher Education” really ties the common theme in each poem together by showing that community and improvement is available anywhere as long as you as open to it.
Lastly the presentation by author Stephen Graham Jones showed that even today acceptance for others and acceptance for other communities isn’t hard to come across. Jones uses his own personal experiences in his short stories by explaining how being Native American has affected him. In one of the short stories Jones read he recounted how often people have called him chief or felt a certain connection to him just because of his culture. Jones uses his culture to become involved with others and now uses his unique way of writing to educate others about his heritage. He believes that by doing so he is forming a closer-knit community and eventually gain respect from those around him.