30 October 2013
The works of Gary Gildner, Richard Hague, and Langston Hughes all relate to the same central ideal of experiencing a new situation for the first time. In “Directions for Resisting the SAT” by Richard Hague, the poem illustrates what is needed in order to excel on the SAT and the college process. In “First Practice” by Gary Gildner, the speaker describes a scene of a group of young men face-to-face on the first day of practice. And Langston Hughes’s short story “Thank you, Ma’am” depicts a young man who finds himself in an odd predicament after attempting to steal a purse. These readings again relate to the idea of new experience, however painful or awkward or even time consuming, may lead to a better life and better understanding of the world around you.
The first poem “Directions for Resisting the SAT” by Richard Hague sheds light on the struggle of today’s youth attempting to attend college. Society has placed a burden on the young that everyone must go to college and before that may happen you must complete a standardized test to gauge how you have done. The speaker of the poem renounces the SAT, “Do not believe in October or May/ or in any Saturday morning with pencils.”(Hague 270) The speaker attempts to stress the importance of moving through this hard time in your life. Not to worry about a test but rather the social aspect of being young.
The poem by Gary Gildner, “First Practice” depicts a group of young men on the first day of practice, as the title alludes to. The speaker depicts a scary idea of the first day of practice. A man by the name of Clifford Hill brings them to a dark place to presumably beat each other senseless. From this act the coach believes that the men will be toughened, “Ok, he said, he said I take/ that to mean you are hungry/men who hate to lose as much as I do”(Gildner 275). The coach believes that the best way to toughen and make a team stronger is to only have those strong enough to do so. But once they have, they can become champions and win like champions.
The short story by Langston Hughes “Thanks, Ma’am” is a favorite of mine and I have read it several times before as early as the fifth grade. The young boy attempt to steal a purse is thwarted by the broken strap and the weight of it. The boy brought back to the home of his victim, feels quite awkward for the entire ordeal. But the woman gives him a chance and fixes him up and gives him money. The women perception of the young boy of having potential is quite an awkward situation but believes the boy could be destined for greater things. Mrs. Jones states “”Well you didn’t have to snatch my pocketbook to get some suede shoes,” said Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. “You could of asked me”” (Hughes 508). Although given the opportunities Rodger does not run and through this uncomfortable situation changes right in front of the reader as a respectable young man instead a delinquent.
This past Monday I attended the Modern Masters presentation given by the Pulitzer Prize winner, Robert Olen Butler. Butler read several short stories all-pertaining to the central idea of death. The poem that most intrigued me was a classic known to some but was new to me, called “Jealous Husband Returns as a Parrot.” Just as the title implies a man is reincarnated into a parrot where he lives in the house of his wife and witnesses her different sexual partners. The story shows that what may happen if you dwell on the unknown. You will end up dying searching for the truth. The story ends with the parrot flying into a window essentially killing him in order to avoid the truth that his wife has taken new partners after his passing.
The event and assigned works this week all pertain to the idea that new experiences although rather irritating help educate and open new physical and metaphorical doors for each individual. A second chance in “Thank you, Ma’am” gives a boy a second choice and avoids jail time. “Directions for Resisting the SAT” renounces the SAT as a proper gauge and gives a guideline to the reader on how to live your life as a youth in modern times. And in “First Practice” young men are placed in a situation of potential pain, but on the other side is victory and fame. New experiences present an option for us all to make a new and create a new opportunity.
Gildner, Gary. Poetry: An Introduction. Ed. Michael Meyer.
Boston-New York: BedFord/ St. Martins. 2013. 275. Print.
Hague, Richard. Poetry: An Introduction. Ed. Michael Meyer.
Boston-New York: BedFord/ St. Martins. 2013. 270. Print.
Hughes, Langston. Words of Fiction. Ed. Roberta Rubenstein and Charles Larson.
Upper Saddle River: Pretence Hall, 1993. Print.