For Cisneros, the biggest takeaway I see is to never forget who you are. Esperanza had all the reasons to succumb to her surrounding environment but she didn’t let anyone choose her route for her. She could have ended up like Sally, marry young and never leave. She had one goal and one goal in mind since arriving to that sad red house….to leave Mango Street. What I will remember most about Esperanza is to never give up on your dreams and settle. Too many times people get complacent and never want to take the harder route.
Ishmael on the other hand had no choice but to forget who he was, for a brief time. It was either forget who you are or be killed. We learn that war and revenge are a terrible thing but as long as humans inhabit this earth this is what we’re stuck with. That’s the reality of it. Early on, Ishmael remembers the happy times before the attack by the rebels. Alone in the forest of Sierra Leone, he remembers the teachings from his grandfather about the medicines that surround him. Then we get to the parts when he was a boy soldier. The grueling details about some of his kills make you think, “can Ishmael ever be human again?” What sums up the life of Ishmael is a quote from his father when he was a young boy. “If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of the person, he or she will die.” (Beah, 54) My takeaway from this book is to not let your past define who you are.
The Hobart Shakespeareans was a great documentary. It made me think of a teacher I had in the 7th grade. Who was so passionate about teaching, that she got even the worst kids to break out of their shell and realize their true potential. It was great to see that the children understood what they were reading and felt the feeling behind every word. I really liked how they were able to travel across the country. To see that there is more to world than LA. In the documentary, Rafe says “Be the person you want the kids to be.” I see nothing truer than this statement. Not only in teaching but also in parenting we must try to be the person you want the kids or your kids to be.