October 30, 2013
Dr. Juniper Ellis
For this weeks analysis I find myself comparing the Robert Olen Butler presentation as well as a few other works, such as, “Thank You, Ma’am” by Hughes, “Directions for Resisting the SATs” by Hague and “First Practice” by Gildner. All of these works were confined to one common theme I found which was pretty obvious after analyzing the ways they were presented. All of which had the same theme in the end, yet varying means of saying it and getting there. All of the works emulate trying to be the best you can possibly become as an individual.
First, in “Thank You, Ma’am”, Langston Hughes uses a lot of imagery to express his point as he usually does. He uses Mrs. Jones as the teacher, or the lesson itself. A young boy sees a pair of blue suede shoes, which he so desires for some reason and Mrs. Jones recognizes this desire in the boy when he attempts to steal her purse. She goes on to tell the boy how she too felt his desire long ago when she wanted nice things, but she had a sort of revelation or transformation from this state of mind. Instead of going on about her actions, she gives the boy $10. This is a great example by Hughes of showing how we should be great by the boy and Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Jones has already learnt to strive for a greater standard and in doing so, she educates the troubled kid on how he too should strive to break away from his wrong doing and use his skills in a way to benefit others and be great to the world.
Next. In “Directions for Resisting the SATs”, there was a sense of personal drive to set your future how you want it to be. No one will do it for you, which is shown in the way you prepare and study for the SATs. This is one of the first times in your life where only you and you alone can affect the outcome of your life. The poem also showed that this isn’t just one simple Saturday morning test, but a stepping-stone for your life. The poem isn’t just stating that if you prepare for your SATs, you are set. It is really saying if you learn to prepare for life’s obstacles, you are ready to make what you want of your own life going forward. As it was shown in the first work, you must always try to become better than what you were the day before.
Lastly in “First Practice”, it shows a coach who wants nothing more for his team to rise up and conquer their opposition. He wants them to band together and be the victor. As I read this, I saw the same theme as the last two works. It isn’t just a game the coach wants to prepare the team for, its life. In life, you will come up against opposition much like in a sporting clash, yet this time it isn’t a concrete enemy. The coach wants his team to compete, much like my high school coach wanted from my teammates and I, but I know my coach wanted us to know what competition really felt like because we will have to compete once again in the real world once our playing days are done. To be the best, you have to prepare yourself to beat the best and make a name for yourself.
This is similar to what I found in Robert Olen Butler’s presentation. Seeing as I didn’t know a thing about him or what he really was saying, I looked to his works. I found From Where You Dream. Granted this work is referring to writers not living up to their potential because they motivation. This is where I connected his event to my other works. In essence, he is writing about how a young writer can alter his current style and revive it. You need some motivation, a sense of yearning for in order to fully be the best you are capable of.
All of these works had this underlying theme. None of them blatantly stated it, but it was easy to interpret.