Free Essay

Reflections

In: English and Literature

Submitted By officeofj
Words 6088
Pages 25
Read the following articles from Unit 5, jotting down your first impressions of each article to use in the reflections. * Sleeping with Guns by Bruce Holbert * My Daughter Smokes by Alice Walker * A Drunken Ride, A Tragic Aftermath by Theresa Conroy and Christine M. Johnson * Young and Isolated by Jennifer M. Silva

Sleeping With Guns
By BRUCE HOLBERT
THE summer before my sophomore year in high school, I moved into my father’s house. My father had remarried and the only unoccupied bedroom in his house was the gun room. Against one wall was a gun case he had built in high school, and beside it were two empty refrigerators stocked with rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. My bed’s headboard resided against the other wall and, above it, a resigned-looking, marble-eyed, five-point mule deer’s head with a fedora on its antler rack.
The room had no windows, so the smell of gun oil filled my senses at least eight hours each day. It clung to my clothes like smoke, and like a smoker’s cigarettes, it became my smell. No one in my high school noticed. We all smelled like something: motorheads of motor oil, farm kids of wheat chaff and cow dung, athletes like footballs and grass, dopers like the other kind of grass.
It did not appear to anyone — including me — that residing within my family’s weapons cache might affect my life. Together, my three brothers own at least a dozen weapons and have yet to harm anyone with them. Despite their guns (or, arguably, because of them), they are quite peaceable. As for me, I have three guns, one inherited and two gifts, and I’m hardly a zealot. In fact I never had much interest in guns. Yet it is I who killed a man.
It was the second week in August, a Friday the 13th, in fact, in 1982. I was with a group of college roommates who were getting ready to go to the Omak Stampede and Suicide Race. Three of us piled into a red Vega parked outside a friend’s house in Okanogan, Wash., me in the back seat. The driver, who worked with the county sheriff’s department, offered me his service revolver to examine. I turned the weapon onto its side, pointed it toward the door. The barrel, however, slipped when I shifted my grip to pull the hammer back, to make certain the chamber was empty, and turned the gun toward the driver’s seat. When I let the hammer fall, the cylinder must have rotated without my knowing. When I pulled the hammer back a second time it fired a live round.
My friend, Doug, slumped in the driver’s seat, dying, and another friend, who was sitting in the passenger seat, raced into the house for the phone.
The house sat beside one edge of a river valley and I knew that between the orchard at the opposite side and the next town was 20 miles of rock and pine. I was a cross-country champion in high school. I could run through the woods and find my way to my cousins, who lived far into the mountains. I could easily disappear. But I remained where I was, mindful that even if I ran, I would escape nothing. So, when the sirens finally whirred and the colored lights tumbled over the yard and the doors of the cruisers opened and a police sergeant asked who was responsible, I raised my hand and patted my chest and was arrested.
Though the charges against me were eventually dropped, I have since been given diagnoses of a range of maladies, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and adult attention deficit disorders. The pharmacists fill the appropriate prescriptions, which temporarily salve my conscience, but serve neither my story nor the truth.
Where I grew up, masculinity involved schooling a mean dog to guard your truck or skipping the ignition spark to fire the points, and, of course, handling guns of all kinds. I was barely proficient in any of these areas. I understood what was expected of me and responded as best I could, but did so with distance that would, I hoped, keep me from being a total fraud in my own eyes.
Like many other young men, I mythologized guns and the ideas of manhood associated with them.
The gun lobby likes to say guns don’t kill people, people do. And they’re right, of course. I killed my friend; no one else did; no mechanism did. But this oversimplifies matters (as does the gun control advocates’ position that eliminating weapons will end violent crime).
My friend was killed by a man who misunderstood guns, who imagined that comfort with — and affection for — guns was a vital component of manhood. I did not recognize a gun for what it was: a machine constructed for a purpose, one in which I had no real interest. I treated a tool as an essential part of my identity, and the result is a dead man and a grieving family and a survivor numbed by guilt whose story lacks anything resembling a proper ending.
Bruce Holbert is the author of the novel “Lonesome Animals.”
A version of this op-ed appears in print on April 28, 2013, on page SR8 of the New York edition with the headline:

A Drunken Ride, A Tragic Aftermath
By Theresa Conroy and Christine M. Johnson
When Tyson Baxter awoke from that drunken, tragic night - with a bloodied head, broken arm and battered face - he knew that he had killed his friends.
"I knew everyone had died," Baxter, 18, recalled. "I knew it before anybody told me. Somehow, I knew."
Baxter was talking about the night of Friday, Sept. 13, the night he and seven friends piled into his Chevrolet Blazer after a beer-drinking party. On Street Road in Upper Southampton, he lost control, rear-ended a car and smashed into two telephone poles. The Blazer's cab top shattered and the truck spun several times, ejecting all but one passenger.
Four young men were killed.
Tests would show that Baxter and the four youths who died were legally intoxicated.
Baxter says he thinks about his dead friends on many sleepless nights at the Abraxas I Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center near Pittsburgh, where he was sentenced to be held Dec. 20 after being found delinquent on charges of vehicular homicide.
"I drove them where they wanted to go, and I was responsible for their lives," Baxter said recently from the center, where he is undergoing psychological treatment. "I had the keys in my hand, and I blew it."
The story of Sept. 13 is a story about the kind of horrors that drinking and driving is spawning among high school students almost everywhere . . . about parents who lost their children in a flash and have filled the emptiness with hatred . . . about a youth whose life is burdened with grief and guilt because he happened to be behind the wheel.
It is a story that the Baxter family and the dead boys' parents agreed to tell in the hope that it would inspire high school students to remain sober during this week of graduation festivities - a week that customarily includes a ritual night of drunkenness.
It is a story of the times.
*
The evening of Sept. 13 began in high spirits as Baxter, behind the wheel of his gold Blazer, picked up seven high school chums for a drinking party for William Tennent High School students and graduates at the home of a classmate. Using false identification, according to police, the boys purchased one six pack of beer each from a Warminster Township bar.
The unchaperoned party, attended by about 50 teenagers, ended about 10:30 p.m. when someone knocked over and broke a glass china cabinet. Baxter and his friends decided to head for a fast-food restaurant. As Baxter turned onto Street Road, he was trailed by a line of cars carrying other party-goers.
Baxter recalled that several passengers were swaying and rocking the high- suspension vehicle. Police were unable to determine the vehicle's exact speed, but, based on the accounts of witnesses, they estimated it at 55 m.p.h. - 10 m.p.h. over the limit.
"I thought I was in control," Baxter said. "I wasn't driving like a nut; I was just . . . driving. There was a bunch of noise, just a bunch of noise. The truck was really bouncing.
"I remember passing two (cars). That's the last I remember. I remember a big flash, and that's it."
Killed in that flash were:
Morris "Marty" Freedenberg, 16, who landed near a telephone pole about 30 feet from the truck, his face ripped from his skull; Robert Schweiss, 18, a Bucks County Community College student, whose internal organs were crushed when he hit the pavement about 30 feet from the truck; Brian Ball, 17, who landed near Schweiss, his 6-7 frame stretched three inches when his spine was severed, and Christopher Avram, 17, a pre-med student at Temple University, who landed near the curb about 10 feet from the truck.
Michael Serratore, 18, was thrown 15 feet from the truck and landed on the lawn of the CHI Institute with his right leg shattered. Baxter, who sailed about 10 feet after crashing through the windshield of the Blazer, lost consciousness after hitting the street near the center lane. About five yards away, Paul Gee Jr., 18, lapsed into a coma from severe head injuries.
John Gahan, 17, the only passenger left in the Blazer, suffered a broken ankle.
Brett Walker, 17, one of several Tennent students who saw the carnage after the accident, would recall later in a speech to fellow students: "I ran over (to the scene). These were the kids I would go out with every weekend.
"My one friend (Freedenberg), I couldn't even tell it was him except for his eyes. He had real big, blue eyes. He was torn apart so bad. . . ."
Francis Schweiss was waiting up for his son, Robert, when he received a telephone call from his daughter, Lisa. She was already at Warminster General Hospital.
"She said Robbie and his friends were in a bad accident and Robbie was not here" at the hospital, Schweiss said. "I got in my car with my wife; we went to the scene of the accident."
There, police officers told Francis and Frances Schweiss that several boys had been killed and that the bodies, as well as survivors, had been taken to Warminster General Hospital.
"My head was frying by then," Francis Schweiss said. "I can't even describe it. I almost knew the worst was to be. I felt like I was living a nightmare. I thought, 'I'll wake up. This just can't be.' "
In the emergency room, Francis Schweiss recalled, nurses and doctors were scrambling to aid the injured and identify the dead - a difficult task because some bodies were disfigured and because all the boys had been carrying fake drivers' licenses.
A police officer from Upper Southampton was trying to question friends of the dead and injured - many of whom were sobbing and screaming - in an attempt to match clothing with identities.
When the phone rang in the Freedenberg home, Robert Sr. and his wife, Bobbi, had just gone upstairs to bed; their son Robert Jr. was downstairs watching a movie on television.
Bobbi Freedenberg and her son picked up the reciever at the same time. It was from Warminster General . . . there had been a bad accident . . . the family should get to the hospital quickly.
Outside the morgue about 20 minutes later, a deputy county coroner told Rob Jr., 22, that his brother was dead and severely disfigured; Rob decided to spare his parents additional grief by identifying the body himself.
Freedenberg was led into a cinderblock room containing large drawers resembling filing cabinets. In one of the drawers was his brother, Marty, identifiable only by his new high-top sneakers.
"It was kind of like being taken through a nightmare," Rob Jr. said. ''That's something I think about every night before I go to sleep. That's hell. . . . That whole night is what hell is all about for me."
As was his custom, Morris Ball started calling the parents of his son's friends after Brian missed his 11 p.m curfew.
The first call was to the Baxters' house, where the Baxters' 16-year-old daughter, Amber, told him about the accident.
At the hospital, Morris Ball demanded that doctors and nurses take him to his son. The hospital staff had been unable to identify Brian - until Ball told them that his son wore size-14 shoes.
Brian Ball was in the morgue. Lower left drawer.
"He was 6-7, but after the accident he measured 6-10, because of what happened to him," Ball said. "He had a severed spinal cord at the neck. His buttocks was practically ripped off, but he was laying down and we couldn't see that. He was peaceful and asleep.
"He was my son and my baby. I just can't believe it sometimes. I still can't believe it. I still wait for him to come home."
Lynne Pancoast had just finished watching the 11 p.m. news and was curled up in her bed dozing with a book in her lap when the doorbell rang. She assumed that one of her sons had forgotten his key, and she went downstairs to let him in.
A police light was flashing through the window and reflecting against her living room wall; Pancoast thought that there must be a fire in the neighborhood and that the police were evacuating homes.
Instead, police officers told her there had been a serious accident involving her son, Christopher Avram, and that she should go to the emergency room at Warminster General.
At the hospital she was taken to an empty room and told that her son was dead.
Patricia Baxter was asleep when a Warminster police officer came to the house and informed her that her son had been in an accident.
At the hospital, she could not immediately recognize her own son lying on a bed in the emergency room. His brown eyes were swollen shut, and his straight brown hair was matted with blood that had poured from a deep gash in his forehead.
While she was staring at his battered face, a police officer rushed into the room and pushed her onto the floor - protection against the hysterical father of a dead youth who was racing through the halls, proclaiming that he had a gun and shouting, "Where is she? I'm going to kill her. I'm going to kill him. I'm going to kill his mother."
The man, who did not have a gun, was subdued by a Warminster police officer and was not charged.
Amid the commotion, Robert Baxter, a Lower Southampton highway patrol officer, arrived at the hospital and found his wife and son.
"When he came into the room, he kept going like this," Patricia Baxter said, holding up four fingers. At first, she said, she did not understand that her husband was signaling that four boys had been killed in the accident.
After Tyson regained consciousness, his father told him about the deaths.
"All I can remember is just tensing up and just saying something," Tyson Baxter said. "I can remember me saying, 'I know.'
"I can remember going nuts."
In the days after the accident, as the dead were buried in services that Tyson Baxter was barred by the parents of the victims from attending, Baxter's parents waited for him to react to the tragedy and release his grief.
"In the hospital he was nonresponsive," Patricia Baxter said. "He was home for a month, and he was nonresponsive.
"We never used to do this, but we would be upstairs and listen to see if Ty responded" when his friends came to visit, she said. "But the boy would be silent. That's the grief that I felt. The other kids showed a reaction. My son didn't."
Baxter said, however, that he felt grief from the first, that he would cry in the quiet darkness of his hospital room and, later, alone in the darkness of his bedroom. During the day, he said, he blocked his emotions.
"It was just at night. I thought about it all the time. It's still like that."
At his parents' urging, Baxter returned to school Sept. 30.
"I don't remember a thing," he said of his return. "I just remember walking around. I didn't say anything to anybody. It didn't really sink in."
Lynne Pancoast, the mother of Chris Avram, thought it was wrong for Baxter to be in school, and wrong that her other son, Joel, a junior at William Tennent, had to walk through the school halls and pass the boy who "killed his brother."
Morris Ball said he was appalled that Baxter "went to a football game while my son laid buried in a grave."
Some William Tennent students said they were uncertain about how they should treat Baxter. Several said they went out of their way to treat him normally, others said they tried to avoid him, and others declined to be interviewed on the subject.
The tragedy unified the senior class, according to school principal Kenneth Kastle. He said that after the accident, many students who were friends of the victims joined the school's Students Against Driving Drunk chapter.
Matthew Weintraub, 17, a basketball player who witnessed the bloody accident scene, wrote to President Reagan and detailed the grief among the student body. He said, however, that he experienced a catharsis after reading the letter at a student assembly and, as a result, did not mail it.
"And after we got over the initial shock of the news, we felt as though we owed somebody something," Weintraub wrote. "It could have been us and maybe we could have stopped it, and now it's too late. . . .
"We took these impressions with us as we then visited our friends who had been lucky enough to live. One of them was responsible for the accident; he was the driver. He would forever hold the deaths of four young men on his conscience. Compared to our own feelings of guilt, (we) could not begin to fathom this boy's emotions. He looked as if he had a heavy weight upon his head and it would remain there forever."
About three weeks after the accident, Sen. H. Craig Lewis (D., Bucks) launched a series of public forums to formulate bills targeting underage drinking. Proposals developed through the meetings include outlawing alcohol ads on radio and television, requiring police to notify parents of underage drinkers and creating a tamper-proof driver's license.
The parents of players on William Tennent's 1985-86 boys basketball team, which lost Ball and Baxter because of the accident, formed the Caring Parents of William Tennent High School Students to help dissuade students from drinking.
Several William Tennent students, interviewed on the condition that their names not be published, said that, because of the accident, they would not drive after drinking during senior week, which will be held in Wildwood, N.J., after graduation June 13.
But they scoffed at the suggestion that they curtail their drinking during the celebrations.
"We just walk (after driving to Wildwood)," said one youth. "Stagger is more like it."
"What else are we going to do, go out roller skating?" an 18-year-old student asked.
"You telling us we're not going to drink?" one boy asked. "We're going to drink very heavily. I want to come home retarded. That's senior week. I'm going to drink every day. Everybody's going to drink every day."
Tyson Baxter sat at the front table of the Bucks County courtroom Dec. 20, his arm in a sling, his head lowered and his eyes dry. He faced 20 counts of vehicular homicide, four counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Patricia Ball said she told the closed hearing that "it was Tyson Baxter who killed our sons. They used the car as a weapon. We know they killed our children as if it was a gun. They killed our son."
"I really could have felt justice (was served) if Tyson Baxter was the only one who died in that car," she said in an interview, "because he didn't take care of our boys."
Police officers testified before Bucks County President Judge Isaac S. Garb that tests revealed that the blood-alcohol levels of Baxter and the four dead boys were above the 0.10 percent limit used in Pennsylvania to establish intoxication.
Baxter's blood-alcohol level was 0.14 percent; Ball's 0.19 percent; Schweiss' 0.11 percent; Avram's 0.12 percent, and Freedenberg's 0.38. Baxter's level indicated that he had had eight or nine drinks - enough to cause abnormal bodily functions such as exaggerated gestures and to impair his mental faculties, according to the police report.
After the case was presented, Garb invited family members of the dead teens to speak.
In a nine-page statement, Bobbi Freedenberg urged Garb to render a decision that would "punish, rehabilitate and deter others from this act."
The parents asked Garb to give Baxter the maximum sentence, to prohibit himfrom graduating and to incarcerate him before Christmas Day. (Although he will not attend formal ceremonies, Baxter will receive a diploma from William Tennent this week.)
After hearing from the parents, Garb called Baxter to the stand.
"I just said that all I could say was, 'I'm sorry; I know I'm totally responsible for what happened,' " Baxter recalled." It wasn't long, but it was to the point."
Garb found Baxter delinquent and sentenced him to a stay at Abraxas Rehabilitation Center - for an unspecified period beginning Dec. 23 - and community service upon his return. Baxter's driver's license was suspended by the judge for an unspecified period, and he was placed under Garb's jurisdiction until age 21.
Baxter is one of 52 Pennsylvania youths found responsible for fatal drunken-driving accidents in the state in 1985.
Reflecting on the hearing, Morris Ball said there was no legal punishment that would have satisfied his longings.
"They can't bring my son back," he said, "and they can't kill Tyson Baxter."
Grief has forged friendships among the dead boys' parents, each of whom blames Tyson Baxter for their son's death. Every month they meet at each others' homes, but they seldom talk about the accident.
Several have joined support groups to help them deal with their losses. Some said they feel comfortable only with other parents whose children are dead.
Bobbi Freedenberg said her attitude had worsened with the passage of time. ''It seems like it just gets harder," she said. "It seems to get worse."
Freedenberg, Schweiss, and Pancoast said they talk publicly about their sons' deaths in hopes that the experience will help deter other teenagers from drunken driving.
Schweiss speaks each month to the Warminster Youth Aid Panel - a group of teenagers who, through drug use, alcohol abuse or minor offenses, have run afoul of the law.
"When I talk to the teens, I bring a picture of Robbie and pass it along to everyone," Schweiss said, wiping the tears from his cheeks. "I say, 'He was with us last year.' I get emotional and I cry. . . .
"But I know that my son helps me. I firmly believe that every time I speak, he's right on my shoulder."
When Pancoast speaks to a group of area high school students, she drapes her son's football jersey over the podium, and displays his graduation picture.
"Every time I speak to a group, I make them go through the whole thing vicariously," Pancoast said. "It's helpful to get out and talk to kids. It sort of helps keep Chris alive . . . when you talk, you don't think."
At Abraxas, Baxter attended high school classes until Friday. He is one of three youths there who supervise fellow residents who keep track of residents' whereabouts, attendance at programs and adherence to the center's rules and regulations.
Established in Pittsburgh in 1973, the Abraxas Foundation provides an alternative to imprisonment for offenders between 16 and 25 years old whose drug and alcohol use has led them to commit crimes.
Licensed and partially subsidized by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the program includes work experience, high school education and pre- vocational training. Counselors conduct individual therapy sessions, and the residents engage in peer-group confrontational therapy sessions.
Baxter said his personality had changed from an "egotistical, arrogant" teenager to someone who is "mellow" and mature.
"I don't have quite the chip on my shoulder. I don't really have a right to be cocky anymore," he said.
Baxter said not a day went by that he didn't remember his dead friends.
"I don't get sad. I just get thinking about them," he said. "Pictures pop into my mind. A tree or something reminds me of the time . . . sometimes I laugh. . . . Then I go to my room and re-evaluate it like a nut," he said.
Baxter said his deepest longing was to stand beside the graves of his four friends.
More than anything, Baxter said, he wants to say goodbye.
"I just feel it's something I have to do . . . just to talk," Baxter said, averting his eyes to hide welling tears. "Deep down I think I'll be hit with it when I see the graves. I know they're gone, but they're not gone."

Young and Isolated
By JENNIFER M. SILVA

In a working-class neighborhood in Lowell, Mass., in early 2009, I sat across the table from Diana, then 24, in the kitchen of her mother’s house. Diana had planned to graduate from college, marry, buy a home in the suburbs and have kids, a dog and a cat by the time she was 30. But she had recently dropped out of a nearby private university after two years of study and with nearly $80,000 in student loans. Now she worked at Dunkin’ Donuts.
“With college,” she explained, “I would have had to wait five years to get a degree, and once I get that, who knows if I will be working and if I would find something I wanted to do. I don’t want to be a cop or anything. I don’t know what to do with it. My manager says some people are born to make coffee, and I guess I was born to make coffee.”
Young working-class men and women like Diana are trying to figure out what it means to be an adult in a world of disappearing jobs, soaring education costs and shrinking social support networks. Today, only 20 percent of men and women between 18 and 29 are married. They live at home longer, spend more years in college, change jobs more frequently and start families later.
For more affluent young adults, this may look a lot like freedom. But for the hundred-some working-class 20- and 30-somethings I interviewed between 2008 and 2010 in Lowell and Richmond, Va., at gas stations, fast-food chains, community colleges and temp agencies, the view is very different.
Lowell and Richmond embody many of the structural forces, like deindustrialization and declining blue-collar jobs, that frame working-class young people’s attempts to come of age in America today. The economic hardships of these men and women, both white and black, have been well documented. But often overlooked are what the sociologists Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb in 1972 called their “hidden injuries” — the difficult-to-measure social costs borne by working-class youths as they struggle to forge stable and meaningful adult lives.
These are people bouncing from one temporary job to the next; dropping out of college because they can’t figure out financial aid forms or fulfill their major requirements; relying on credit cards for medical emergencies; and avoiding romantic commitments because they can take care of only themselves. Increasingly disconnected from institutions of work, family and community, they grow up by learning that counting on others will only hurt them in the end. Adulthood is not simply being delayed but dramatically reimagined along lines of trust, dignity and connection and obligation to others.
Take Jay, for example. He was expelled from college for failing several classes after his mother suffered a severe mental breakdown. He worked for a year, then went before the college administration and petitioned to be reinstated. He described it as a humiliating experience: “It’s their jobs to hear all these sob stories, you know, I understand that, but they just had this attitude, like you know what I mean, ‘Oh, your mom had a breakdown and you couldn’t turn to anyone?’ ”
Jay got back in and graduated (after a total of seven years of college). But when I talked to him, he was still working food-service and coffee-shop jobs at 28, baffled about how to turn his communications major into a professional job. He felt as if he was sold fake goods: “The world is at my fingertips, you can rule the world, be whatever you want, all this stuff. When I was 15, 16, I would not have envisioned the life I am living now. Whatever I imagined, I figured I would wear a suit every day, that I would own things. I don’t own anything.”
I heard many people express feeling betrayed by the major institutions in their lives, whether colleges, the health care system, employers or the government.
Christopher, who was 25, stated simply, “Well, I have this problem of being tricked.” He explained: “Like, I will get a phone call that says, you won a free supply of magazines. And they will start coming to my house. Then all of a sudden I am getting calls from bill collectors for the subscriptions to Maxim and ESPN. It’s a runaround: I can’t figure out who to call. Now I don’t even pick up the phone, like I almost didn’t pick up when you called me.” He described isolation as the only safe path; by depending on no one, Christopher protected himself from trickery and betrayal.
These fears seep into the romantic sphere, where commitment becomes yet another risky venture. Kelly, a 28-year-old line cook, spent 10 years battling depression and living off and on in her car. She finally had a job and an apartment of her own. But now she was worried about risking that hard-earned sense of security by letting someone else into her life. “I like the idea of being with someone,” she said, “but I have a hard time imagining trusting anybody with all of my personal stuff.” She said she would “rather be alone and fierce than be in a relationship and be milquetoast.”
“I know where all my shortcomings come from. From the things that I either did not do, or I did and I just happened to fail.”
Men often face a different challenge: the impossibility of living up to the male provider role. Brandon, who worked the night shift at a clothing store, described what he thought it would be like to be in a relationship with him: “No woman wants to sit on the couch all the time and watch TV and eat at Burger King. I can only take care of myself.”
It is not that these men and women don’t value family. Douglas, then 25, talked about loss: “Trust is gone. The way people used to love is gone.” Rather, the insecurities and uncertainties of their daily lives have rendered commitment a luxury they can’t afford.
But these young men and women don’t want your pity — and they don’t expect a handout. They are quick to blame themselves for the milestones they have not achieved. Julian, an Army vet from Richmond who was unemployed, divorced and living with his mother at 28, dismissed the notion that his lack of success was anyone’s fault but his own: “At the end of the day looking in the mirror, I know where all my shortcomings come from. From the things that I either did not do or I did and I just happened to fail at them.” Kelly echoed that: “No one else is going to fix me but me.”
This self-sufficiency, while highly prized in our culture, has a dark side: it leaves little empathy to spare for those who cannot survive on their own.
Wanda, a young woman with big dreams of going to college, expressed virulent anger toward her parents, a tow-truck driver and a secretary, for not being able to pay her tuition: “I feel like it’s their fault that they don’t have nothing.” Rather than build connections with those who struggled alongside her, Wanda severed relationships and willed herself not to be “weak-minded” like her parents: “if my mentality were different, then most definitely I would just be stuck like them.”
Working-class youths come to believe that if they have to make it on their own, then everyone else should, too. Powerless to achieve external markers of adulthood like marriage or a steady job, they instead measure their progress by cutting ties, turning inward and numbing themselves emotionally.
We don’t want to go back to the 1950s, when economic stability and social solidarity came at the cost of exclusion for many Americans. But nor can we afford the social costs of going forward on our present path of isolation. The social and economic decline of the American working class will only be exacerbated as its youngest members make a virtue out of self-blame, distrust and disconnection. In order to tell a different kind of coming-of-age story, we need to provide these young men and women with the skills and support to navigate the road to adulthood. Our future depends on it.

Jennifer M. Silva is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and the author of the forthcoming book “Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty.”

(1) Essay 5 Directions
The theme for this unit is social issues, including smoking, gun control, drunk driving, and social isolation. In this final essay, choose two of the issues that you feel the closest personal connection to and write an essay that uses exemplification, or comparison/contrast, or cause and effect as outlined below.
Pick two from the four articles and do an essay base either on exemplification, comparison/contrast, or cause and effect. * Exemplification--summarize both articles and identify your personal connection in your introduction; then share what you thought the most effective examples were that each author used in the essays along with your explanation of why you chose those examples and any relevant personal experiences or observations in the body of your essay. Look for places to include your classmates' comments on the same topics. Conclude your essay with a personal reflection on the social issues themselves. * Comparison/Contrast--summarize both articles and identify your personal connection in your introduction; then use comparison/contrast to analyze the writing style of each author in the body of your essay, focusing on how each author introduced the topic, provided information, and concluded the article. Look for places to include your classmates' reflections on the same topics. In your conclusion, offer your personal reflections on the social issues themselves. * Cause and Effect--summarize both articles and identify your personal connection in your introduction; then focus on why you think the authors used the kinds of information and the writing style they chose to get their point across. Look for places to include your classmates' comments on the same topics. Conclude your essay with a personal reflection on the social issues themselves.
Use at least five parenthetical references (a mix of quotes and paraphrases) in addition to the summaries you provide in your introduction. More information on summaries and paraphrases and a practice exercise is included below. The quotes, paraphrases, and summaries can be used in the introduction, the body, or the conclusion of your essay.
Your essay will need to be between 750-1000 words.

Essay Checklist * Topic: example, comparison contrast, or cause and effect essay on two articles with relevant personal connections * Word Count: 750-1000 words * Mechanics: at least five quotes/paraphrases used correctly with parenthesis notes, and a short summary of each article. * Proofreading: be sure to do it!…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Reflection

...Learning Team Assignment: Reflection Reflection Objective 1.1 Evaluate individual characteristics of employees Characteristics of employees can vary from; age, gender, disability, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, biographical characteristics, race, and ethnicity. Some employers see positive qualities with hiring older workers such as the older workers are more likely to have judgment, experience, and a strong work ethic. The negative to hiring an older worker as appose to a younger worker is that older workers tend to be more set in their ways and are not open to change. Gender does not play a huge role in employee selection as much as it did in the past. One main issue when it comes to gender is that working mothers are more likely to prefer working part- time and flexible work schedules. Race and ethnicity is a very controversial issue to speak on. The main races that are mostly compared are African Americans and Whites. It is proven that in employment settings people tend to favor the colleagues that are of their own race in different aspects of the job; whether it is for pay raises, promotions or performance evaluations. Objective 1.2 Analyze the impact of individual employee characteristics on organizational performance. Objective 1.3 Determine management methods based on individual employee characteristics Almost every company will agree that great management involves......

Words: 645 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Reflection

...Final Reflection “Has there ever been a time when we have not been awash in a remarkable torrent of symbols and opportunities for reading and writing them?” (William Kist, in the NCTE statement on multimodal literacies) There is an art of reading, an art of thinking, and an art of writing. To read is to fly: it is to soar beyond what it seen on the pages. We write to taste life, in the moment we live and in retrospect of the past. Reading helps develop thought, instead of having to think for yourself. Once you learn to read, you will be forever free. When reading this quote I believe that there is always something interesting being offered in which we can both read and write about. Everyday, there has to be a moment which is better than all the other moments, a moment that makes you smile or laugh, something memorable, something you can look back at and smile because that’s how memorable it was. These are moments in which we can write about to share, because someone out there must be able to connect with this moment and share that smile you had when you experienced it. As well as someone being willing to read it. There are tons of opportunities available for people. Moving on from first semester to second semester I can definitely see how my skills as a writer and a reader has improved. As I read text I can now understand deeper meanings and connect things to other sources or personal connections I’ve made. My work habits and ideas have grown to the......

Words: 682 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Reflection

...Reflection Walden University Introduction to philosophy PHIL 1001 How can you prove weather at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or weather we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state? Plato For this reflection I founded it fascinating to consider different understanding of reality, I really enjoyed Plato Alegory of the cave amazing piece of art work what a great philosopher for that time period, also movie Matrix great movie directed by Wanch brothers. So questions we can all ask ourselves: Are things we see around us real, are they our reality, and how do we know that for sure, how do we know if we are dreaming or not. These are questions that unfortunately are out of our reach and only time will answer. The Alegory of the cave is a famous story from the Plato Republic, it is a profound allegory with many interpretation, and in this reflection I will compare it to the movie Matrix, and my view of reality. “ Imagine the condition of men living in a sort of cavernous chamber underground, with an entrance open to the light and a long passage all down the cave. Here they have been from childhood, chained by the leg and also by the neck, so that they cannot move and can see only what is in front of them, because the chain will not let them turn their heads. At some distance higher up is the light of a fire burning behind them, and between the prisoners and the fire is a track with a parapet built......

Words: 1800 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Reflection

...1 Reflection Reflection is an everyday process. We reflect on a range of everyday problems and situations all the time: What went well? What didn’t? Why? How do I feel about it? We don’t usually follow a formula for this, it just happens as feelings, thoughts and emotions about something gradually ‘surface’. We might choose to do something differently, or not, as a result of reflecting, but reflection is essentially a kind of loose processing of thoughts and feelings about an incident, a meeting, a day – any event or experience at all. Reflection can be a more structured way of processing in order to deal with a problem. This type of reflection may take place when we have had time to stand back from something, or talk it through, as in: ‘On reflection, I think you might be right’, or ‘On second thoughts, I realised he was more upset than me.’ Structured reflection If we consciously reflect, maybe as part of our work or family role, there tends to be a rough process of ‘How did it go? What went well? Why? What didn’t? Why? What next?’ Examples might be of a football coach reflecting after a match, a teacher reflecting on a lesson, or simply a parent thinking about how best to deal with a teenager. In this kind of reflection, the aim is to look carefully at what happened, sort out what is really going on and explore in depth, in order to improve, or change something for next time. This brief guide will look at what is meant by reflection, suggest forms of structured...

Words: 2516 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Reflection

...Short Critical Reflection Paper * Some might say the crime of the 21st century will be white collar. If that is true, what will be the major types of cybercrime? How can we safeguard against it? I feel that some of the major cybercrimes that will take place are child exploitation, internet fraud, and computer hacking. Of these three, I feel that child exploitation is the biggest and most serious of them. All too often you hear of these sick individuals who go on these social media networks and convince the young people to meet somewhere and kidnap and commit other disgusting act with them. Internet fraud is another big cybercrime I see continuing to grow if we don’t get a handle on it. I receive numerous emails stating that I have been awarded money due to some settlement, or that some banker wants me to help them or go into business with them. I think the biggest ways to safeguard against these threats is to monitor your children’s usage on social media sites, ensure you install up to date security software and don’t answer emails from people who you don’t know. * What are the advantages and disadvantages of synchronous and asynchronous learning in an online class with students from different professions living all over the United States – just like Ashford? I believe that there are advantages and disadvantages in both synchronous and asynchronous learning in online classes. In a synchronous learning, the biggest advantages I feel is being able to......

Words: 600 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Reflection

...Portfolio of Evidence: Reflection Paper This is your final reflection, a summative reflection and self-evaluation of your entire senior project experience. As such, this reflection should be very detailed. Use your Journal Log to guide your writing. This paper needs to be: • 500 words • Typed • Double Spaced Paragraph 1 : Introductory • Briefly describe your senior project (include you overall topic, mentor, fieldwork, and your product.) Include the dates when you started and completed your product, the estimated number of hours you spent creating the product, the total number of mentor hours, the names of any people who provided assistance when you were making the product, why you chose this project topic. Paragraph 2 : How has this project changed/impacted you? • Explain how completing the product has prepared you for next year as well as for future years. • Describe a key moment when your understanding of the project changed. • Very specifically describe how the project has stretched you emotionally, intellectually and/or physically. Paragraph 3 : What changes would you make? What problems did you encounter? • If given the opportunity to re-do your project, what changes/additions/subtractions would you make? • Describe what problems you encountered in completing the project and how you solved them. • Did you product turn out the way you planned? If not, why? If yes, elaborate on the specific factors that led to the success of your product. Paragraph 4 :......

Words: 301 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Reflection

...experience of learning from reflection on giving intramuscular (IM) injections, using Gibbs's (1988) reflective model. I demonstrate how practice anxiety, as a student nurse, can be dealt with through effective mentoring. I chose the seminal theory of Gibbs reflection on practice, as it illustrates six significant stages; description, feelings, evaluation, analysis of the incident, conclusion and an action plan Ghaye and Lillyman (1997). Gibbs cycle is used throughout the process of reflecting on the incident to help me make sense of my practice and understand what l could do differently to enhance good practice. I use my experience from a placement simulation as I could not be on actual placement due to unforeseen circumstances. Reflection is a process through which healthcare practitioners and students can learn from experience and use the knowledge to inform and improve practice Schon, (1983). The ability to reflect on one's actions is particularly imperative in clinical practice and discourse. As Jarvis (1992) asserted, there is no consensus on the definition of reflection as it is a broad concept. Reid (1993, p305.) define reflection as; “a course of action reviewing an occurrence of practice to describe, analyse, evaluate and so inform learning about practice” Schon (1983) identified two types of reflection which are; reflection in action, which takes place during the event where the practitioner may not be aware that it is happening and reflection on action, which......

Words: 1108 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Reflection

...Reflection BCOM/275 Reflection Based on the career plan building activities that I have done throughout this course, I am heading in the right path. My ultimate goal is to become a manager or supervisor in the near future either in nutrition or information technology department. To be able to apply to any of those positions, I must acquire a bachelor’s degree or currently attending an accredited school. The results from the reasoning exercise, I can set an example for others at what I do best, which are delivering results, adapting to change, following instructions, organizing, and leading (University of Phoenix, 2011). Areas where I can expand and hone in on are persuading, networking, presenting, writing, researching, innovating, and applying expertise (University of Phoenix, 2011). The career interests profiler and competencies practice has shown me areas in which my skills will prevail. Being able to work and help others is what I love to do. It has always been centered on customer service. The process of breaking things down to where it is understandable and to apply critical thinking skills will create a better work environment. The work culture exercise has helped me define the career roles that I am more likely suited for. In one of the readings during this class mentioned, “homophily may cause leaders to focus on a few cues when making key decisions and to discount dissenting opinions. Without an incentive to challenge one another, the company’s top leaders......

Words: 334 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Reflection

...Reflection Paper AB 104 Personal Financial Management Dana Gitzlaff October 7, 2014 Reflection Paper The first key element we learned about was setting specific goals about what we want to do with our life and our money. In both our professional lives as well as our personal lives, finances have a profound effect on achieving those goals. Setting a goal to travel in retirement years affects how we will plan our finances. Setting a goal for early retirement depends on how well we handle our finances in the present time. Home ownership, providing for the grandchildren’s college education, moving or changing careers will all be affected by how our finances are managed. Goals should then be prioritized in the order you want to achieve them with the exception of long-term goals like retirement which should be constantly maintained while working on the others. Setting goals will do little good unless a plan is formulated. Controlling your budget should be the first part of your plan and the second part should be how to get out of debt. After these two things are accomplished, decide what you want to do with your money to reach your goals. Creating a budget allows you to create a spending plan so you can direct your money in a way that will help you to reach your goals. Once you have formulated your plans and have paid off debt, you are ready to begin investing and should speak to a financial planner to help you make your investment decisions. Preparing in advance......

Words: 381 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Reflection

...Ethics Reflection Paper Ethics Reflection Paper Ethics and social responsibility are important concepts that play a significant role into implementing a strategic plan. Ethics and social responsibility will benefit an organization into having a successful strategy plan and reduce and any potential negative impact of a operation. The subjects to address in this paper are the following, the role of ethics and social responsibility in developing a strategic plan considering stakeholder needs and how my ethical perceptive has evolved throughout the program. Ethics is an important concept as well as the fundamental principles of right individuals conduct. “Business ethics seek to proscribe behavior that businesses, firm managers, and workers should not engage in. Ethics is a source of guidance beyond enforceable law. It is clear and uncontroversial that firms and their workers should not engage in unlawful acts, such as selling harmful or defective products, and ignorance of the law cannot be used as a justification for unlawful actions. Business and management ethics goes beyond the law lo provide guidelines as to what is acceptable behavior in business transactions” (Haq, 2011, p.1). The way a company could successfully establish a mission, vision, or objective for its organization is through adhering ethics. The company must develop values that interest stakeholders. The values should include direction and expectation of the organization. The values......

Words: 590 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Reflection

...REFLECTION ESSAY: Doug Strickland Reflection Essay: Doug Strickland Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Com/156 Sherri J. Johnson Robyn McMaster 2 RELECTION ESSAY: Doug Strickland Table of Contents Introduction and Thesis…………………………………………………………………………………..3 Influences…………………………………………………………………………………………………..3 Business Education………………………………………………………………………………………..4 Culinary Education………………………………………………………………………………………..4 Work History………………………………………………………………………………………………5 Avoiding Failure…….…………………………………………………………………………………….6 Winning At Success ……………………………………………………………………………………..7 Groups and Associations………………………………………………………………………………….7 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………………….7 References………………………………………………………………………………………………….8 3 REFLECTION ESSAY: Doug Strickland Reflection Essay: Doug Strickland Doug Strickland is an importer and broker of Integrity Wines which specialize in fine natural wines. He has been affiliated with the Restaurant and Winery business for over 25 years. Strickland is an all-around entrepreneur in the culinary division of fine foods and wines. His love for food and wine started when he was a teenage and carried on into his college life. Strickland put his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur on the backburner to hold other titles and positions right after college. After holding many other job titles he was determined to turn his million dollar ideas into a reality with the support...

Words: 1592 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Reflection

...This piece of reflection will focus on my future development within making high levels of decisions, in relation to becoming a qualified Community Specialist Practioner (CSP) after completing a SWOT analysis. Throughout this reflection I will be using the Gibbs (1998) model of reflection, the Gibbs cycle helps the reflective process. It is also structured, helps individuals to look at the situation and evaluate for future learning. Moon (2013). According to Adair (2013) decision-making and problem solving strategies will help individuals confidently make the right decisions within the role as a leader. In addition I will also discuss how I reflected, after completing my SWOT analysis to devise an action plan and goals, to reach my final target. A SWOT analysis is to identify an individual’s; Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A SWOT is a structured plan that helps identify strategies to help with positive and negative factors (internally and externally). It also helps to improve personal and professional development, identify areas to develop on and set goals. Pearce (2007). As part of my personal and professional development I needed to complete a SWOT analysis so that I could identify areas to develop, which would contribute to me becoming an effective CSP. I therefore felt to become an effective decision-maker within a team I needed to reflect on my weakness that could be holding me back slightly. During my first couple of weeks as a CSP within my......

Words: 593 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Reflection

...BNEW 113 Reflection # 1 "Is speaking in tongues evidence for having the Holy Spirit?" There are three occasions in the book of Acts where speaking in tongues happens when you receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2: 4; 10: 44-46; 19:6). However, these three occasions are the only times in the Bible, where speaking in tongues is an evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit. We are told that every believer in Christ has the Holy Spirit (Romans 8: 9), but not all believers spoke in tongues (1 Corinthians 12: 29-31). So, why was speaking in tongues, the evidence of the Holy Spirit in those three passages in the book of Acts? Acts Chapter 2 records the apostles were baptized in the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him to proclaim the Gospel. God enabled the Gentiles to speak in tongues to demonstrate that they had received the same Holy Spirit who received the apostles. Acts 10: 44-46 describes this, "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” I think in those passages the apostles were enabled to speak in other languages, in order to share the truth with people in their own language. It was very hard for Jews to accept Gentiles, they considered them as unclean and unrighteous. Therefore, by speaking in tongue they would realized that even......

Words: 328 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Reflection

...After reading Chapters 1–6 in the McCullough text, answer the reflection questions below. Type directly in the boxes; they will expand as you type. Use complete sentences. Chapter 1 | Q: In your own words, define “godly character” and explain why it is important for a Christian educator to display such.A: Godly character is being like Christ in everyway. This does not mean that you have to be perfect, but strive to think, act and talk like Him. If we do this in all areas of our life we will have Godly character. It is important for a Christian educator to display Godly character, because this will teach the students they are teaching to do the same. If we show students that we love and are willing to help everyone no matter their background, then they will to learn to do the same. This also helps them trust us as teachers and lets them know we have their best interest at heart. We have to gain their trust and having Godly character helps. | Chapter 2 | Q: Respond to question 3 on pg. 32.A: I believe and hope my foundation for my personal life and work life are the same. Sometimes it is hard for me to talk about at work, because I work at a state hospital and there is a lot of diversity. Even though it is hard to talk about I try to let my actions show people what and how I believe. So, if sometimes people do not believe the same way I do, at least they can see something is different and know that it is Christ. | Q: Respond to question 4 on pg. 32.A: I do not think their......

Words: 375 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Reflection

...This essay will be a reflective account of an incident from practice based on Gibbs’ Reflective cycle; I will critically analyse the nature of the incident based on the best available evidence. This reflection will help to identify new skills and knowledge learnt as a result of the incident and the implications for my future nursing practice. Although I am aware many reflective models exist, I have chosen to use Gibbs’s reflective framework as it is a cycle and encourages me to think about what I would do differently next time. This clearly shows Gibbs’ awareness that a nurse will have a similar experience again. This reflection method supports Schon’s (1991 cited Issitt 2003) opinion that reflecting on practice after the event is the most effective way to maintain an improvement as a development can be made. As part of the UKCC Project 2000 pre registration nurses are expected to be able to reflect on practice experiences and reflection can help create holistic and flexible practitioners (Andrews et al 1998). For the purpose of the assignment I will use a pseudonym to protect the client’s identity in accordance with the law as stated by the Department of Health (2003), there is also an obligation stated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC 2008) to protect client confidentiality. This pseudonym is Sue. The first stage of Gibbs’ model is a description of what happened; whilst on a surgical ward I was caring for a lady post operatively who had a bilateral total......

Words: 3109 - Pages: 13

Communication in Teamwork - 1283 Words | Villeroy Boch Wildrose 3 Teebecher Mit Unterteller Handbemalt | Anusorn Dachapanya