October 30, 2013
Choosing your Destiny
In the short story “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes, and two poems “Directions for Resisting the SAT” by Richard Hague, and “First Practice” by Gary Gildner there is a common theme of making your own choices and deciding your own destiny. “Thank You, Ma’am” is about a young boy who, in attempt to steal an old lady’s purse, learns the value of choices. “Directions for Resisting the SAT” is a poem giving rebellious directions about how to take the SAT. “First Practice” is a poem about a team’s first practice and the start of their journey to be champions. All three of these literary works deal with life decisions that affect the type of person you become.
In “Thank You, Ma’am”, Hughes shows how choices are important in life through the interaction of two characters, a young boy and Mrs. Jones. In attempt to buy a pair of blue suede shoes that he did not have the money to afford, the young boy tries to steal the purse of Mrs. Jones. This isn’t successful and she ends up taking him back to her home. At her home, she leaves the door unlocked and her purse out in the open as if she is not worried about the boy stealing from her. She gives him food and water to wash his face and tells him that when she was his age there were things that she wanted that she could not afford. She has transformed through her choices and admits to probably doing some bad things in her past that only God can know about. Before he left, Mrs. Jones gave the boy $10 to go and buy some blue suede shoes.
In “Directions for Resisting the SAT”, Hague is advising the reader to do basically everything that the SAT requires for you not to do. He tells the reader to “not observe the rules of gravity, commas, history” and (line 3-4) “lie about numbers” (line 5). These things are examples of conformity. He does not want people to stick to the norm. He is saying that people should make their own decisions in life. The reader should reject society because the SAT does not define who you are as a person or represent how intelligent you are. Hague is saying that you can be everything you dream to be if you put your mind to it and the SAT cannot hold you back from that.
In “First Practice” Gildner is describing the first practice of a team with a new coach. The coach is very militaristic. The Coach talks to the boys very strict, telling them “if there were any girls present for them to leave now” (line 10-12). He expresses his passion for winning and how they should want that same goal. The message of this poem is that the decisions they make now will give them success in the long run.
All of these literary works talk about having control of your destiny. My event for this blog was going to see the play Merry Wives of Windsor by Shakespeare. It is similar to these works because the choice that Falstaff makes to try and get the two women backfires on him and leaves him embarrassed. His choices controlled his destiny. All of these works deal with making decisions and the consequences, but most importantly the good, that comes with deciding your own destiny.