I feel the major takeaway from both books is never forgetting where you came from. In Cisneros, no matter how ashamed Esperanza was of her home, her name, her situation she had to realize these experiences would stay with her. This could be a positive change or negative, but only she could decide. There was no forgetting it all. Despite everything that happened those experiences would give her plenty of insight she could then put to paper. It is so important that it is even written twice in the book. Cisneros writes, "We didn't always live on Mango Street. Before that we lived on Loomis on the third floor, and before that we lived on Keeler.. Before Keeler it was Paulina, and before that I can't remember." (Cisneros, 3). Never forget where you came from.
Ishmael Beah. He still needed to remember his experiences to help make sure it didn't happen to others. His life has been a terror ride of one bad experience to another in such a way that even memories he's had that were happy were not good in the least. The story ends abruptly without a conclusion because there is no conclusion. Life still moves on. The war still continues. There is no end. To conclude the book would be to wash his hands of it and he is nowhere near done advocating for his homeland. I'll remember both Cisneros and Beah for their experiences despite wanting to forget everything I know about Beah. It would be easy to just block out everything he has done or is about, but he did not brave what he did to have anyone do this. It would be morally wrong to just try and ignore what is happening while enjoying peace he'll never have.
Hobart Shakespeareans: The Luckiest Kids Alive
I hated this film. I hated the message it tried to convey. I really hated the teacher featured. It isn't cynicism, but I saw right through his Mr Rogers nonsense. We'll start with the school. Sure these are "at-risk" kids, but mostly they are just put in this situation by society. These are ESL students that live in poverty and don't get many chances to excel. The teacher, Rafe Esquith, states "Who would have thought in the midst of all the chaos at school we have these unpolished jewels and when you discover one that's the beauty of teaching." (Stuart, The Hobart Shakespeareans). This does less to shine light on the few good teachers and more about the problem with teachers in general. The film discusses bad experiences kids have with other teachers and even the ongoing coldness towards the student when they succeed. Why do these teachers still have a job? Even the principal is on the film talking about these teachers.
The film's main point about equal opportunities gets shattered by the sheer amount of money poured into this one class. It proves that any child can succeed with enough resources. I would fight those children in the hunger games to acquire a spot in a class like that. However, teachers like Esquith just never seem to exist without some ulterior motive. That is just the kind of world we live in. Through out the film we are shown how these kids are taken into his home, having sleepovers. This is already weird enough, but I could already tell this man was closer to his students than many would like to think about. A quick search of the web confirmed my fears. I really want to focus on the good he's done, the way teaching should be, the scientific paper on the correlation of resources to success. I can't. The man had his own reasons for being like this and it destroys everything we all hoped he was trying to achieve.