Changing Society Through Unexpected Ways
Langston Hughes, Richard Hague, and Gary Gildner all seem to understand the concept as well as illustrate a variety of examples on how to improve society through unexpected ways. Gildner seems to portray guidance through a stern coach, Hughes’ character teaches a life lesson in an unexpected situation and Hague presents an argument on how to leave a legacy beyond the SATs. Each of these authors use a somewhat subversive message in illustrating their works that seems to provide guidance to improve society but each author allocates particular subject matter that must be looked at deeper in order to understand their message.
Hughes’ short story seems to originally be about an ordinary tale of theft from an old woman. However, through a plot twist-when Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones decides to bring him home his thief to wash him up rather then have him apprehended it seems that there is more to the story than a burglary. In a normal situation one would think that this woman, who was the victim of an almost burglary, would have anger towards the boy for doing it but it seems she only had pity towards him. She realized that she should bestow her knowledge rather than chastising him. She gave relatable advice to the young boy who seemingly had no other options in his situation. She imparted her knowledge on this young child and it seemed to be effective as he left with a mind so full he couldn’t manage to think of a proper thank you. Therefore, instead of Mrs. Bates calling the police, as a normal response would be, she took an opportunity to enrich a child with a life lesson rather than incarcerate him. She looked at the situation with a different perspective on how to better this situation rather then taking an ignorant approach.
Similarly, Hague approaches a situation, taking the SAT’s with an innovative touch. He suggests that these tests which society places such an emphasis on provide nothing for society. He goes on to insult the teachings of science, history and grammar. And although it doesn’t seem apparent, Hague appears to insinuate you can make an impact despite what you get on a measly test. He reassures, throughout the poem, that success can be attributed to a wide variety of things aside from the SATs. He tells readers to aspire for more and live entirely rather than enamor yourself with nerves over how you did over a test. It apparently seems that he is saying you cannot judge your character on your grades but rather what kind of impact you leave behind in life that makes you a great person-whether or not you did well on your SATs. Hague’s poem seems to have a subversive message to follow your own passion rather than be confined to what is expected of you. This advice, unexpectedly, is all rooted in why you should resist the SATs. He takes a commonality that most people share, having to take this dreadful test, and tries to proves and insinuate that life goes on if you don’t get a perfect score.
Gildner’s approach to improving society is slightly different then the ways of Hughes and Hague. First, it is somewhat difficult to decipher whether or not this poem is about a military sergeant or a sport’s practice. Interestingly enough I believe there is a bigger importance then the whereabouts of the poem- the subversive message. The leader, Clifford Hill, may seem to be harsh and aggressive but ultimately he is preparing this class of children for strength and the opposition of the real world. Unlike Hague and Hughes whose poems seem to offer advice, Gildner’s narrator is subject to a demand to gain endurance and strength. And although in real life there is none giving you instructions on what to do or how to live, but we are all given different guiders in life, whether it be a coach, a sergeant, or a parents, who give us advice on how we should act and it is up to yourself to make this society better.
Through meditation, I mostly connected with Gildner’s approach. I recognize that Hague and Hughes had good motives in their works by giving advice but it seems that Gildner, for me personally, helped me understand that I am capable of independence, strength, and excellence but no matter what people instruct me to do I am the only one that will make it happen. I reflected deeply on this matter, and it frightened me at the mere thought, that it was wholly up to me to be the person I wanted to be. However, after the conclusion of meditation I realized that is inspiring. I can take advice, such as that learned in Hague and Hughes works and apply it to my life just as Gildner seems to have done. Overall, it seems that these poems do share the common theme of changing lives through various aspects as well as learning to succeed in ways you normally wouldn’t think.