Final Reflection Explained

This is it. It’s the final days of this semester! And boy, it was one heck of a trip. Time really does fly by!  I can honestly say I’ve grown so much more this semester than any other in the past. With the help of some amazing professors and their classes , I was able to push my intellectual boundaries even further… and that’s what college is all about, right?

After blogging about the various American women writers, we were assigned to come up with a website for a particular one we were interested in. Without any hesitation, I joined the group for Zitkala-sa. Out of all the authors we read in class, she was the one I connected to most. She had such a different writing style and came from a background I was less familiar with, which stirred up my interest. When any professor mentions group work, I already know there would be eyes rolling around in classrooms. However, my group was such a pleasure to work with. Creating a website was no easy task!

It was my first time ever using the Wix platform and took a while to get familiar with it. I’m a techy kind of person and love trying to figure out the mechanics of sites, so the frustration was definitely a choice. Once I got the hang of it; adding pages choosing the theme, and all the general elements, putting the content together was easier.

Each section was split by the members of my group, and I was in charge of assembling most of the contents of the site. Besides site building, I was responsible for the sections: Zitkala-sa 101, Bright Feathers, and a scholarly work critique entitled A Fixation of the Native Identity, as well as a contributor in our quotes section. What surprised me most about this project was the amount of content we were all so eager to add. In doing our research for Zitkala-sa, we saw that she didn’t have a huge presence on the web. It was either small glimpses of her or only one section on a large-scale site. Our goal was to give Zitkala-sa her own home, where anything you can possibly know about Zitkala-sa was visible. We also wanted to leave our personalized touch with our quote analysis and scholarly critiques. This project helped me realize how important it is for our authors to have a presence to the public eye. Nowadays, everyone does their research on the internet, and the main purpose of it is to get instantaneous answers. It is important to let the audience know about the overall demographics of a writer, but to also enlighten them with ideas they cannot find on a simple “About Author” section.

I cannot take all the credit for this website. It was truly a group effort and I appreciate their cooperation and patience. We didn’t want to leave one person in charge of adding each content, so we tried to log in and add our own. However, we figured out that because there was more than one person logging on and saving… another member trying to save would have their content deleted. It was frustrating but we pulled through. Not one person’s section was any more important than the other. We saw how each tab was significant in knowing Zitkala-sa more. I think I speak for us all when I say we wanted to make the best website possible for Zitkala-sa. Adding the little extra artwork and transitions were time-consuming, but definitely worth it. I was very impressed with the work my group put in. They had thought-provoking content and completely poured their heart out on each section.

Writing for the public audience was scary. Just the simple fact that typing in Zitkala-sa’s name and having our site be one of the options they can click on sparks my adrenaline. It is a responsibility. Are we giving them what they are looking for? Is our content good enough? Are we giving Zitkala-sa justice? These are some of the questions that popped into my mind during this project. We needed to make sure our sources were credible. There must be more facts than mere opinion. At the end of the day, we are trying to shine light on the author and not only us. It was interesting to switch the mentality of research a bit. Was this something I would be looking for when conducting research? If the answer was yes to every section our group made, then our purpose was well served. I believe that our website is the best web presence out there for Zitkala-sa. That’s not because I am biased, but because I know that the work contributed by my fellow group-mates is noteworthy. All aspects of Zitkala-sa has been covered. Zitkala-sa was very passionate about preserving her traditions and ensuring the voice of her people be heard. We wanted to be the ones who allowed her voice to resonate. It was finally Zitkala-sa’s turn to be heard.

What I appreciate most about this American Women Writers course is how personal it was. My blog up to this point has been dedicated to the authors we’ve read and how influential each were to topics relevant today. We’ve read stories that revolve around identity, strength, and finding a voice. I don’t think I can capture how significant this class was to my life with a single post. But I think it’s safe to say that it did empower me. Hannah Crafts taught me about freedom. Harriet E. Wilson shared ideals about the role of men. Harriet Jacobs gave importance to my childhood. Zitkala-sa reestablished the power of education. Nella Larsen showed me the importance of identity. Zora Neale Hurston helps me cope with falling out of love. I’ve learned a lot about these authors, but I know I’ve learned even more about myself. In previous classes, I was consumed with getting good grades and writing papers that were all about the structure. For so long I’ve written things that were never to satisfy me, by my professors. Suddenly, I have lost my voice in the sea of reasearch papers, strict MLA citations, and thesis statements that I could care less about. Like the authors I’ve read this semester, I was stripped of the one thing I valued most: my voice. Blogging holds a very personal place in my heart. I’ve done it before it was a “trend,” or before sites like Tumblr had gotten famous. It was my outlet. To have the opportunity to blog again was so refreshing. I fell in love with writing all over again. I actually wanted to read the books that were assigned. I remembered why I became an English major in the first place. Dr. Travis, I know you are reading this and I want to say thank you! Thank you for introducing me to such amazing writers and allowing me to connect to them through blogging. Thank you for letting my mind roam free, yet staying grounded on the importance of content. If there is one thing I will walk away with from of this class, it is to be fearless. I have to take the strength and lessons expressed by these women and remember to never forget my self-worth.

It’s okay to write a preface in a book. It’s okay to have your work hidden for a while. It’s okay to lose yourself sometimes.

My work might be forgotten. Maybe not even be found.

But it’s still mine. It’s my story. It was explained by me.

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Falling Out of Love Explained

I wish I knew how to start this one. I wish I had some smart catchphrase or witty joke, but today, I can’t find the exact words. The topic at hand is something that I find pretty hard to tackle and that is probably because it’s all too familiar. It’s the art of falling out of love.

Now, this is for the broken-hearted. Not just those who are coming out of romantic relationships, but friendships as well. Because, let’s face it… love is a powerful component that makes any relationship what it is. So after all the great memories and loving each other until your heart feels like it will explode, you’re hit by an unexpected emotion that leaves you almost paralyzed. You look at the person you love and the unthinkable comes to mind: you don’t feel the same way as before. You don’t love them anymore. It’s like a solid snowball to the face during a snowball fight. It will hurt. It’s cold. You will feel numb. And for a good ten minutes, you just want to curl up in a warm corner and cry.

While reading Zora Neale Hurtson’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, I wanted to hug Janie and eat tubs of ice-cream with her (Vanilla ice-cream, to be specific. With loads of fudge and whipped cream) as Sam Smith plays in the background. She goes into these relationships thinking it would be for the best. In the beginning, it would always seem to feel right; and at a point I did see Janie love the men she was with. Maybe not the extravagant, “till death do us part” kind of love, but a love that was worth something. Even if the first two husbands were good-for-nothings in my book, Janie chose to stay for as long as she could. But then, she had that falling out of love phase, especially with her second husband Joe Starks. The man she married was not the same man who she fell for in the early stage of the relationship. The snowball had hit her pretty hard in the face.

Janie stood where he left her for unmeasured time and thought. She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. Then she went inside there to see what it was. It was her image of Jody tumbled down and shattered. But looking at it she saw that it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams. Just something she had grabbed up to drape her dreams over. In a way she turned her back upon the image where it lay and looked further. She had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be. She found that she had a host of thoughts she had never expressed to him, and numerous emotions she had never let Jody know about. Things packed up and put away in parts of her heart where he could never find them. She was saving up feelings for some man she had never seen. She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them. (Chapter 6)

How heartbreaking was it to read that? Now, imagine experiencing it.

We tend to put the people we love on a pedestal, well at least that’s what I and Janie did. There’s this picture-perfect image of them inside us that we are completely connected to, but then when the snowball comes flying towards you, expect that image to shatter. Whether it was something they said, something they did, or often times, something they didn’t do or say, your love for them shifts. You start to reevaluate the relationship, look for answers that are impossible to find, and try to trace back to the starting line that’s miles away.

But when you’re falling out of love, you don’t push the re-play button. It doesn’t exit. Instead you have to look past the shattered pieces and accept that the picture will never be the same. It wasn’t the photograph you envisioned. You realize the love you were experiencing was a one-way street. And relationships are never supposed to be a one-way street. You are supposed to grow, express yourself, and learn to accept another person as a part of you; not as a separate component.

When your ‘insides and outsides’ don’t mix, you fall out of love.

Sometimes, it just has to happen. It’s the only time you learn to fall in love with yourself and feel how great it is.

Once you’ve finished crying over the pain of a frozen snowball to the face, you’ll see that you’re still alive. You can pick up a patch of snow for yourself, form it into a ball with no one else’s help, and throw like a pro.

You learn a lot by being hurt, but grow by being smart enough to know that you have to dust off your skirt and move forward. Falling out of love sucks, but you can’t fall forever.

A Grandmother’s Love Explained

Family is everything to me.

My parents were my first teachers and my brother was my first best friend (besides my teddy bear named… Teddy). But my grandma was different. She’s my rock. I told myself that if ever she leaves our home, I was to move in with her. Can’t nobody take my grandmama away from me! I could go on forever about the sacrifices, love, and care that she has exerted throughout her life, but my words wouldn’t do her justice. If there is one thing you should know about my grandma, it’s that she takes so much pride in her grandchildren (all nine of us).  As her first granddaughter, she doesn’t shy away from talking about relationships and who she believes I should be with; especially now that I am older.

Here are some qualities my dear grandmother expects from my future husband:

  • He has to have a good job. Or as she likes to repeat, “Marry a doctor or a lawyer.” 
  • He has to come from a good family.
  • Loves me unconditionally.
  • He needs to be a man of faith.
  • He must be respectful.
  • HANDSOME (oh, grandma).

This list doesn’t even sound that bad. Actually, I like it. But to put a man through such a list can be a task, because it sounds pretty much perfect. And perfect just doesn’t exist. However, I ask myself why she is so worked up about me having this ideal man. Her answer to me once went a little something like this, “because my granddaughter is worth it.” Of course I wanted to flip my hair and smile in agreement… and I did. But thinking about it now causes my heart to break a little. My worth stands next to a man with a law degree, whose family name is on the Forbes 100, and has a body hot enough to kick Adam Levine off of the “Sexiest Man Alive” throne? My worth is reflected on a person other than myself? I don’t think so.

In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie’s grandmother (Nanny) has given her a similar list as mine. Nanny wants her granddaughter to marry quick, to a man who is of quality, but Jeanie was confused. She was still so young and saw marriage as a love-relationship, not something that is produced out of a mere list. So when Jeanie did marry she said this, “Husbands and wives always loved each other, and that was what marriage meant” (Chapter 3). Despite rushing into her relationship with Logan and doubting her feelings for him, she believed that a marriage built on love can be learned. Marriage ideals take the couple out of the situation and views it as only institutional, perhaps just necessity. It is often seen that women are expected to be housewives and mothers. That because they are given such roles, their companions must also be a certain way. I think that Nanny was aware that these gender roles are inescapable, but what could make it better is having a good partner. Then the goal of getting into a marriage is not for love, but a title.

However, let’s try not to criticize our grandmothers too much. I know they mean well.

My grandmother wants me to be my own person. She wants me to grow. She wants me to grab every opportunity thrown at me. She wants to see me succeed in life. She wants me to be happy. I think her main purpose in giving me her list of expectations is to teach me to aim high. It was never about the ideals, but the reason why we form them. As long as I don’t settle for someone who can pass as a good guy and be with someone who actually is, I know she can live with that. So, she won’t disown me if I marry a writer than a doctor. 

Grandmothers have this wisdom that us grandkids can’t always understand, but need to trust that it’s fruitful. Sometimes they go about expressing themselves to us wrongly, but it is all because they are one of the few people on this planet that have our best interest in mind. We are their successors, whether you feel like you are obligated or not. It’s a component in being family. My grandmother has taught me so many life lessons, that I am forever thankful. But the best gift she gave me is her love. It overflows. Like Nanny, her soul is strong. Because she has been through so much, she wants her grandchild to know that the world will give you choices. It’s about weeding out the bad and picking the one that suits you.

“No one is ever completely happy, or free, or safe” Explained.

If there is one quote from Nella Larsen’s Passing, that can easily touch on all the themes from the novel it would be:

“I’m beginning to believe,” she murmured, “that no one is ever completely happy, or free, or safe” (Larsen 121).

Take a minute and let that settle. Not much of an optimistic motivator, huh? I know. Humans are a unique species that’s able to take free will and run with it. But of course with all our decisions bring forth consequences: good and bad ones. Funny, when you think of it. If free will gives us no boundaries, then why are there consequences we must face afterwards? It should be a stream of actions and no limitations. Won’t our “free-will” or decision to do whatever we want to, be influenced one way or another? That’s why what we do, I would like to think, is for happiness. Because a bad consequence is something no one really aims for.

In Larsen’s novel, Clare and Irene marry for some kind of happiness. Though Clare’s situation can be seen as her marrying to reserve her “white identity,” I can still see it as her choice to be happy. Or in the least, be content with her choice. As for Irene, it is pretty evident that she loves her family and will do just about anything to satisfy and keep them whole. However, in both cases, the women in the novel aren’t truly happy. The initial sense of happiness is just a front, a mask to distract whoever is looking outward in, that they are complete. Internally, they are broken. Clare has to suffer her husband’s racist comments and Irene is paranoid that she isn’t enough for her spouse. Which brings me to the next point: freedom. Because they are confined in a marriage, Clare and Irene cannot really escape their husbands’ highly opinionated personalities and must abide by certain rules. The notion of freedom is also closely related to identity. Both women are a mixed race of white and black, so the stereotype as well as their physical appearance hinder them from being self-expressive. They are looked at as what they are supposed to be, opposed to respected as who they want to be. Their identities are inescapable.

Trying to answer how one can be “safe” is very interesting in Larsen’s novel. There are many secrets, suspicions, and taboos explored in Passing, that the question of safety becomes relevant in the major scenes. Because Clare sneaks off to Harlem to be amongst her fellow black community, her secret to her husband is at risk. Mr. Bellew is oblivious to the fact that Clare is half black and if he finds out, he will be furious. The consequences of Clare’s other identity coming out will call for a very hostile response. Aside from identity and secrets, worldly issues become a problem in the Redfield household. Irene’s husband wants his little boy to know the issues and topics discussed in the real world, and not only what he learns in school. He wants to prepare his son to know the ins and outs of reality and ensure that this fantasy life of childhood is not the only world he knows. But as a mother, Irene’s instincts kick in, and shelter her boy from the harsh realities of the grown up world. Though, no matter how much a mother tries, her children will see the world they try so much to shelter them from. It is no longer “safe” because information reaches young ones unfiltered and their minds tend to wander into the unknown. A parent can only do so much in guiding their children, but they can never really control what is handed to them.

One of my professors told me that we need to have a sense that we are free. We are told we have freedom and can achieve anything we put our minds to. But it’s a system. We are told this because once we figure out that it isn’t true, there will be and uproar. People will just go insane. And it’s true. No matter what our decision are, they are never completely ours. Rational beings have to think, sometimes over-think, their actions. The simple fact that we think before we act proves that this freedom holds a kind of responsibility. And responsibility is binding. So how can we ever be truly happy, free, and safe, if we know we have to pay for it at the end? We won’t know, is the answer. But we can’t let that question bother us too much. So live like there’s no tomorrow? NO. Live like there is tomorrow, because you shouldn’t restrict yourself to just today.

Girls and Education Explained.

I sit here and think about how different my life would be if I hadn’t gone to school. Let’s face it, school is like that boyfriend that you love and hate at the same time. At one moment, he has your attention, the next, he just babbles about something you could care less about. Still, you, as the amazingly loving girlfriend, must put up with… everything. This boyfriend is a part of you. He pushes you to be better, teaches you things you’ve never known, and provides perspective on ideas that are other than your own. Education is the boyfriend any father wouldn’t mind you taking home (primarily because it really isn’t something you can make out with and most importantly, he wouldn’t need to worry about his little girl being with something useless). In Zitkala-sa’s American Indian Stories, we get a glimpse of a young American-Indian girl’s life. She sets out to do chores with her mother, spends time with her playmates, and learns the ways of her people. The one thing absent, is access to a proper education. She is obviously a curious child.  She likes to hear the stories about Legends and tries to figure out its meaning. She questions the role of the “palefaces” and their relationship to her people. When the missionaries came, she wanted to learn more of what they are saying. All this curiosity comes from a fire within her to want to be more than what she is. When she was given the opportunity to go East with the missionaries, her mother was hesitant. Letting her go will mean that her beloved daughter would have to face hardships on her own. But the mother knows how valuable education is.

“She will need an education when she is grown, for then there will be fewer real Dakotas, and many more palefaces. This tearing her away, so young, from her mother is necessary, if I would have her an educated woman. The palefaces, who owe us a large debt for stolen lands, have begun to pay a tardy justice in offering some education to our children. But I know my daughter must suffer keenly in this experiment. For her sake, I dread to tell you my reply to the missionaries. Go, tell them that they may take my little daughter, and that the Great Spirit shall not fail to reward them according to their hearts.”

Education provides us with a foundation. It gives us information that is connected to just about all corners of the Earth. But the biggest lesson I’ve learned, is that everything in the world is always changing. It’s proven in history books and reality. That is why the mother sends her daughter off because there will be “fewer real Dakotas, and many more palefaces.” Education will provide her with the knowledge and strength to both adapt to the changing world we live in, as well as allow her to trace back to the land that birthed her. Education is empowering. Girls were expected to follow the footsteps of their mother. They are taught domestic duties and are expected to abide by these “womanly roles.” As we see in the beginning of Zitkala-sa’s novel, women are seen as the home-bodies. But when education becomes accessible it shows that women are able to rise above this stereotype and prove they are capable to be so much better. Education is a human right. It should be provided for, no matter the gender or status of a person. And a woman’s education should go beyond the home setting. Let the world be her classroom.

The thought of not having the education I am so thankfully provided with, hits pretty hard. I was always eager to learn. I was the bookworm. I was the one who looked forward to journal entries. I’m part of the few who actually really like school. But liking school was not the first thing that came to my mind. I went for my friends and the whole social aspect of it. Had I not been taught to sit in a chair and actually pay attention, I wouldn’t have done so. If my teachers never introduced me to certain books, I wouldn’t have picked them up to read. Education goes far beyond textbooks and lectures. It really does prepare you for life. However, the lessons outside of a classroom is what tests you on how strong you use your education. Let this Education Boyfriend be your companion in life, but never forget to follow your own voice. Use his lessons about basketball stats and playbook rules, and apply them to your own situation. Also, be brave enough to create rules of your own.

Relationships Explained.

As a girl in her 20s, I’ve probably had more phone calls and conversations about relationships than those actually hired to give any “professional” advice get. Can you believe that? People are paid to give relationship/love advice. I do it for free! Hm, maybe that’s why they come running to me. But if there’s a job for it, then it must be a real issue. Oh humans and their emotions. 

After collecting my mental archive of advice and recalling the situations expressed to me by my “clients” there is one thing that I believe is a major issue: none of them really understand what a relationship demands. This would make sense, because there are more whys, what does it mean, and how can I change it questions than there are answers. There are more times trying to make it work, than it actually working out. There are more doubts then there is trust. There is more intellect than there are feelings. And if there is anything you should take away from this post, it’s this: A relationship will not work if your mind is the only one calling the shots. No, I’m not telling you to let your heart take the wheel in a relationship, but I am telling you to allow it to be the compass; because your mind will know what to do. They are a team, as are you and your partner. So, when I say don’t let your mind call the shots, I mean you have to be unselfish and let your partner in on things.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to be emotionally invested in a relationship. It is not a business deal! You absolutely cannot go into it thinking that the outcome will be exactly as you mapped it out to be. It definitely is a learning process, somewhat contractual, risky, rewarding, and overall crazy, but if your heart isn’t in it… then why are you even there?

Let’s take relationships in Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl for example. Dr. Flint tries to bribe Linda for her affection. Now, Dr. Flint is in no ways a real man. He is abusive and unfaithful. Despite having this “fondness” for Linda, he constantly reminds her that she is nothing but his slave. It is obvious that Dr. Flint wants Linda to be another one of his women, but this also proves that he wants to own her completely, not only physically but emotionally as well. He promises to take care of her and even starts to build a home where she will stay. However, Linda already loves someone else and cannot ever imagine being with a brute like Dr. Flint. Let us again note, this guy is married! Remember when I said you need to be unselfish? Yeah, there is no way Dr. Flint understands that idea. The courtship between Dr. Flint and Linda (if you even call it that) is all a mental game. Seeing it that way messes up the real meaning of a relationship. It’s not about a power-trip or how can you buy one’s affection, it is about unity. Because Dr. Flint lacks a real sense of affection for Linda, she does not even entertain the thought of being with him.

As for Dr. Flint’s wife, emotion is the only thing that controls her. She knows her husband is being unfaithful to her, but still she brushes it aside. Marriage is the most important relationship you can choose. Vows made by you and your partner are not just any promises, but real affirmations of love… an eternal agreement. Because Mrs. Flint cannot allow her mind to make the decision to leave him, she is further consumed with jealousy and no longer love. She will always doubt her husband, feel insecure, and paranoid of what Dr. Flint will do next. I can honestly say, I feel bad for her. She knows that the bond of marriage seals her and Dr. Flint together, but that doesn’t guarantee his fidelity.

Relationships themselves can be seen as a form of submission. It’s just another way to be bound to something, someone. But the most liberating thing about relationships is the freedom to really express how you feel to the person you are with. It shouldn’t feel like an obligation. In the context of the novel, slavery proves to be the evil seed that grows to rip not only individuals, but families apart. Relationships, specifically romantic ones, are rooted in love. This love is not solely an emotion but an action to willing do what is best for another. Slavery rejects this, because it, in no ways, works for the betterment of another. It entraps everyone into misery.

In both cases we see that the relationships lack this sense of love. It’s anything but love that binds these people together. With the story of Linda and Mrs. Flint, I can feel like they are desperate for love. The relationship is so one-sided and all about it being a title, that the most beautiful thing about having one is absent. As the saying goes, “It takes two to tango.” However, for a tango to be convincing, we need to feel the spark. The partners need to work as one to make the dance complete.

Slavery and Childhood Explained.

When I think back on my childhood, I remember putting a quarter into the little horse ride in front of our local shoe shop; begging for another turn. I remember Arts & Crafts and Story-time in Mrs. Frances’ class. I remember my brother and I running around in our backyard and falling off my bike. I remember holiday parties with family and receiving more gifts than my little arms could hold.  I remember the first time ever crushing on a boy, all because he made me a card using green construction paper and lots of glitter. I’d like to think he knew me pretty well. But the most invigorating thing about childhood was my freedom and belief that I was truly free… because I was.

And that’s what childhood should look like: a picture of freedom and happiness. But the sad reality is some are not as fortunate as I was growing up.

In Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, we can see how slavery strips one of their childhood. Linda Brent was cared for and sheltered by her parents since the age of six, able to live a pretty normal life, free of being identified as a slave. However, when they died, the shadow of her slave identity creeped in faster than she could blink. Under Dr. Flint’s household, Linda was subjected to the same mistreatment we read about in previous novels. She was ordered, abused, and deprived of her basic human rights. Let us remember, she is still a young girl. Can you imagine? Growing up feeling privileged and having some sense of self-worth because you had parents that nurtured you, then being forced under such brutality by Dr. Flint?

This caused Linda to grow up quicker than most. She needed to learn her duties, express respect for those who hurt her, and endure the pain and agony of slavery. Linda was not seen as a child by her owners. She was a slave, a piece of property, and nothing else. Jacobs’ novel show readers that in slavery, a child’s innocence is taken from them. That at their young age, their life is predetermined to be subjected to their masters, unable to dream or live as they pleased without suffering consequences. Linda’s story of two young sisters captured the effects of slavery on children and their childhood:

I once saw two beautiful children playing together. One was a fair white child; the other was her slave, and also her sister. When I saw them embracing each other, and heard their joyous laughter, I turned sadly away from the lovely sight. I foresaw the inevitable blight that would fall on the little slave’s heart. I knew how soon her laughter would be changed to sighs. The fair child grew up to be a still fairer woman. From childhood to womanhood her pathway was blooming with flowers, and overarched by a sunny sky. Scarcely one day of her life had been clouded when the sun rose on her happy bridal morning.

How had those years dealt with her slave sister, the little playmate of her childhood? She, also, was very beautiful; but the flowers and sunshine of love were not for her. She drank the cup of sin, and shame, and misery, whereof her persecuted race are compelled to drink. (Chapter 5)

Both children are seen as innocent, full of laughter and happiness. They are oblivious to the fact that they come from different worlds and one of them will suffer. However, as readers, and like Linda, we know that this happiness will not last forever. The white sister will have a better fate than that of her slave sister because their skin-tone is different. The white child will be privileged and continue to experience the joys of her childhood; whereas the slave girl will be deprived of such happiness. As well as in adulthood, their fates are on opposite ends. Even though both girls are of kin and beautiful, their potential is pushed in two different directions because of slavery. And the fate of the slave girl is not full of sunshine and flowers. There is no sign of love. There is only “sin and shame, and misery.”

After reading that, how can we believe in happy endings? As a child, I’ve lived off of fairy-tales. I’ve been told stories of princesses, happy families, and adventures. My parents told me that the world was mine for the taking and with hard work and determination anything was possible. Even in my adulthood, I believe in all of that… just in different contexts. But those stories, the endless possibilities they hold, were what got me by. I saw love in my parents, loyalty in my friends, and empowerment in my education. For Linda it was the complete opposite. She saw the world differently because the convention of slavery taught her to see it that way. Growing up, my view on the world and how things work are definitely different. But to imagine myself stripped of possibilities, forced into labor, separated from family, abused, and reminded I am nothing but property every day of my life? I don’t know if I could ever live. And as Linda expressed, she didn’t want to either.

Every child should have the right to dream. They have a right to happiness. They have a right to exercise what it means to be free. However slavery deflates the air of that happy balloon and one just watches it spin-off to a far away place. Children should roam wild and free, and if they want to fly, then they should be told it’s possible. If they want to be happy, show them its real.