Saturday, September 27, 2014
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Jonathan Kozol's "Amazing Grace" article goes in depth to show the struggle of the hundreds, if not thousands of men, women and children who live in the South Bronx area of New York, and more specifically, the area of Mott Haven. Kozol refers to Time Magazine on page five, who identifies the area around Mott Haven as "the deadliest blocks in the deadliest precinct of the city." Kozol states "If there is a deadlier place in the United States, I don't know where it is." The author goes deeper into this, explaining some of the back history behind just why these neighborhoods and areas have deteriorated as much as they have. On page four, Kozol mentions that two thirds of the homes in these areas are owned by the City of New York. They are looked upon as a residence for people who are poor, on welfare, or cannot support themselves or their families. Kozol also mentions on that same page about the severe drug addiction that plagues the area, and how many of these drug users are also stricken with HIV. Kozol's main focus in this article seems to be on the children, and the deplorable living conditions they are placed in. For some time, Kozol focuses on a boy named Cliffie, a seven year old chipper lad who happily takes the role as his tour guide through the streets of Mott Haven. Cliffie makes it to Cypress Avenue with Kozol where he then says: "Do you want to go down there?...they're burning bodies down there!" Kozol then goes on to say that "the place Cliffie is referring to [is] a waste incinerator [that burns] 'red bag' products, such as amputated limbs and fetal tissue..." It is remarkable that this seven year old boy seems unaffected by this thought of bodies being burned, but it shows that these kids have been through and have seen much worse. Connecting to Kozol's choice of the title, this idea of amazing grace seems to stem from the deep belief in God and the effect that religion has on the residents of Mott Haven, and the affirmed believe that there is a higher plan for their lives that God has yet to show. This can be seen on numerous pages, but surely on page eight as well, where Kozol states: "Unlike many children I have met in recent years, he has an absolutely literal religious faith." These people, especially the children, are taught to take religion seriously, as this is their saving or amazing grace, to believe in something you cannot see. Being a Roman Catholic, I can relate. Many people attempt to contest Catholicism with scientific evidence and what they believe to be factual, but religion is all about believing in what you cannot see, but imagining that you can, and that some day you will. I think with this article, Kozol attempts to tie all of this together, and tries to show that religion is held on a prestigious pedestal, even in the poorest of places. (The picture shows modern day Mott Haven.)
Hi everyone! My name is Branden, and this is my first time blogging. Right now, I am in my second year at Rhode Island College, and am majoring in Music Education. I have loved music since I was in kindergarten. Once a week our music teacher would come into our class with a keyboard or trumpet and have us sing along or even play sometimes. When I was given the opportunity to play an instrument starting in 5th Grade, I just couldn't turn it down. I started playing the saxophone, and I loved it! I would go home after school, whip it out, and make my parents endure this horrible noise when I was just starting out. Needless to say, I continued with it through middle and high school, and now am looking at a career in music! It's a dream to be a high school band director, and that is the goal I am hoping to achieve! I took this class, not just because it was a requirement, but because it seemed genuinely interesting, seeing how schooling in our society is today versus the 20th Century. Outside of class and RIC, if I am not working, I am spending time with my family and friends, and just enjoying life!