Again and again

The novel, Everyday by David Levithan allowed me to ponder the question “would I want to live in another person’s body, even if it was just for a day?” The story begins with a character, A, who wakes up in another and new person’s body for the 5994th day in a row and accidently falls in love with a girl, but he has to figure out a way to tell her and explain to her that he wakes up in a different body everyday.

“The body is the easiest thing to adjust to. if you’re used to waking up in a new one each morning. It’s the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp.”-A

This quote on the first page brought up a ton of reflection and wonder for me personally. I have thought about how in the world we live in right now, there is currently no one able to do this and therefore, I will never be able to live and experience life in another person’s body and thoughts. I am especially curious with this question because it’s amazing and intriguing that what one person is experiencing can be completely different from another.

If a person were able to experience life within another body other than theirs, would we realize the wrong beliefs and opinions of your own thought? Would we be able to shift the mindset of the one you are in?

The Lives On Fifth Avenue

In Toni Cade Bambara’s The Lesson, the students being taught by Miss Moore come to realize some of the differences between their lives and the lives of the people who shop on 5th avenue. When Miss Moore is talking about the kids, she describes Sylvia and her friends as “all poor and live in the slums” (110). When the group arrives at Fifth Avenue, they are enthralled with the objects they see in the windows and how much they cost. They find a paperweight that costs $480 and are confused at first, curious as to why a paperweight is even needed. The students talk about if they have paper on their desk at school or at home that would need a paperweight and say, ‘”I don’t even have a desk,’ say Junebug. ‘Do we?’ ‘No. And I don’t even get homework neither,’ says Big Butt. ‘And I don’t even have a home,’ say Flyboy” (112). The kids start realize that their lives are very different, and are surprised that people would spend that much money. They continuously say, “White folks crazy” (114), emphasizing that they feel different and out of place from the people that they are encountering.

Each item they see, they check the price and are surprised every time. Sylvia saw a $35 toy clown and thought about what that money could buy for her and her family. “Thirty-five dollars could buy new bunk beds for Junior and Gretchen’s boy. Thirty-five dollars and the whole household could go visit Granddaddy Nelson in the country. Thirty-five dollars would pay for the rent and the piano bill too” (114). This contrast between what people spend their money on was really an eye-opener for Sylvia. She could not understand why people would pay so much for one thing when in her community and house, that money could be better used somewhere else. The author gave this insight into Sylvia’s mind in order to show that she recognizes Fifth Avenue and her home as two very different entities and realizes the very evident differences between the two.

Inevitable Monolith of a Story

I thought that the theme behind Conversation About Bread was interesting because it applies to everything that we read or watch on TV. It questions whether it is possible to write a story about race, class, religion, gender, etc., without creating a monolith out of the group being discussed. One of the short story’s main characters, Eldwin, worded it best; “Didn’t every story provide a narrow representation at best and fetishize somebody at worst?” This was the epiphany that Eldwin came to toward the end of the story, after realizing that he couldn’t write his friend Brian’s story without also writing the story of every other black kid from the South.

If you look closely, you can see this issue in every TV show, movie, novel, or short story that focuses on the issue of a power binary. Everyone experiences different things, so everyone has a different story. Yet, when someone introduces a story about an individual, it is often generalized and applied to an entire group. This is because each reader views each story from a different perspective, and thereby gains a different interpretation of it. In my opinion, the issue is not necessarily with the writer in the creation of a monolith, but with the reader.

A Good/Evil Struggle Connection

In class, we read the short story, “Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders. In this story, the main character Jeff has a constant inner struggle of whether or not Abnesti (the scientist conducting multiple drug experiments) is acting as good or evil. He constantly informs Jeff that what he is doing will benefit humanity and that he is someone that he can trust. He states, ” You know me, how many kids do I have?” and “do I remember birthdays around here? “(33) He also doesn’t swear, showing that ideally he is a good person. But Jeff sees first hand the effect these experiments have on others. He watches Heather, another participant die after being given Darkenfloxx. Jeff has a past of criminal activity, and has killed someone, and doesn’t want to see others killed in this experiment. He ends up commiting suicide because he doesn’t want to be associated with this kind of evil.

In my summer reading book ” Scythe” by Neal Shusterman, there is also a struggle of finding out who is good and who is evil. The book is about a society in the future where humans can live forever, and if they do “die”, they can be revived and can also set their ages back. In order to keep the population under control, Scythes are in charge of killing people permanently. There is an on going conflict in this book on whether or not the different Scythes are using their power effectively, and if they are killing or “gleaning” as they say in the book, in the right way. The main characters, scythe apprentices, Citra and Rowan are constantly conflicted on the right and wrong way of ending people’s lives. One scythe, goes on mass killing sprees, where another scouts out individuals that seem to have lost a lust for life. Citra and Rowan are both conflicted with the idea that what they are essentially doing could be considered evil, but are also benefiting humanity.

Both stories were interesting reads, and had interesting ideals about the struggle of good and evil. Essentially both indicate that no one can be truly good when it comes to ending people’s lives.

Sylvia and Sugar

Throughout the story “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara, it highlights the relationship between Sylvia and her cousin Sugar. I think their friendship adds a lot to the story because it makes it more exciting. The first sentence states, “Back in the days when everyone was old and stupid or young and foolish and me and Sugar were the only ones just right. . .” It demonstrates how they are super connected to one another. On page 113, Sylvia remembers, “I just couldn’t go through with the plan. Which was for me to run up to the altar and do a tap dance while Sugar played the nose flute and messed around in the holy water.” I really liked this story because the two cousins are so fun-loving and always getting into trouble. Even though “The Lesson” teaches the children about money, their friendship adds another level to the plot. And towards the end of the story, the text states, “‘Equal chance to pursue happiness means an equal crack at the dough, don’t it?’ Miss Moore is besides herself and I am disgusted with Sugar’s treachery. So I stand on her foot one more time to see if she’ll shove me” (115). When Sugar pays attention to Miss Moore and learns from her, Sylvia is angry because she doesn’t like Miss Moore. In the end, they race to Hascombs and everything is good. Overall, I loved the story “The Lesson” and I especially loved Sylvia and Sugar.