The Impact of Relationships
Within the three poems “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost, “Accident, Mass. Ave.” by Jill McDonough and “Learning to Read” by Frances E. W. Harper, an underlying theme and idea of separation and division between people is present. Each poem focuses on differences amongst people and how these differences cause isolation and hostility amongst one another.
Frost’s “Mending Wall” expresses the separation of two neighbors for no reason other than an unnecessary stonewall between their property. Although there is no reason for them to be separated by this stone wall, Frost makes note that people often times separate themselves just because they want to be alone and alienate themselves for no reason. Instead of making positive relationships, the neighbor chooses to keep to himself. Although McDonough’s “Accident, Mass. Ave.” does not have the same plot line as Frost’s poem, it still focuses on relationships among people. The man comes out yelling at the woman who hit his car, and the begin getting into a screaming fight in the middle of the Boston, only to realize soon after that they were yelling for no reason. No damage was done to the car; both parties were fine, they were just screaming to scream. “We were scared, weren’t we?” the narrator ends the poem with this phrase, and I think that this explains a lot about people and the relationships that they make with others and how they are often times scared to make relationships for almost no reason at all, just as in Frost’s poem. Peter-Hans Kolvenback, S.J. wrote an article focusing on the Jesuit mission and how it is their goal to break this fear that many feel when trying to make relationships and try and open our heart to help each other out. Unlike the discriminatory relationships that were established in Frances E. W. Harper’s poem “Learning to Read”, Kolvenback focuses on the good in people and looking for “the service of faith and the promotion of justice” (Kolvenback, 25).
I think that service learning is a very important part of the Jesuit mission statement and helps people gain a better understanding of the world and the people around them. I did service learning last year and went into a kindergarten class at Govan’s Elementary School. I really enjoyed my time that I go to spend with the kids and which is why I chose to do service learning again this year. I think that service learning is a great way to put yourself in a situation where you get to experience something that is new to you and make relationships with new people. Service learning goes along with the Jesuit mission and also helps prove that building relationships with new people and those who do not seem as similar to you can be very rewarding. Helping within an inner-city school helped open my eyes to many different aspects of life that I had never before been able to see with my own eyes and helped me break the barrier of fearing the unknown, fearing what was unusual to me. Service learning and helping out in situations that are unlike ones everyday life shows that the relationships and fear of relationships that were portrayed in the three poems above just take away from life itself, and help prove that building relationships are necessary and a great aspect to life.