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Reaction Paper

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Lisa Hunt

Ms. Capple

Literature 215

29 January 2006

Reaction Paper

In the two non-fiction stories, “Graduation.” By Maya Angelou and “Talk of the

Town. September 11, 2001.” By John Updike, my reaction to both of these stories is that

at some point in my like , I could relate to both.

In the story “Graduation”, I felt a since of relations because I am an African American

woman. Even though I did not grow up during this time, I still believe that the concept

the author was trying to convey, is still an active thought in some people’s minds. This

non-fiction literary work portrays what it is like being a young adult about to make their

step into the world of adulthood. Surprisingly, these young adults are the minority in a

country that believes blacks are only good for manual labor and farming. Personally I

believe that times have changed considerably from the time when this story was based

on. However we as the minority will always have the short end of the stick. Do I feel

that I have to work harder and prove myself in order to succeed? Yes to a certain degree.

There are laws in place to protect minorities from being mistreated, but that does not

erase what people still think. To be full of dreams and hopes is something that all people

have at some point in their lives, but to have reality take it away from you is another

thing. As an African American woman, I feel that I have two strikes against me, one

are my race and the other being my sex. It has been proven that women have to work

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twice as hard in the same job a man does, to prove herself worthy of the same treatment

and pay. In the military, we still have individuals that feel that women should not be in,

and if they are, they should work in “women related areas”.

Racial divide is something that will never be totally absolved. To prepare yourself for

something that you have worked so hard for, only to be let down is depressing. In this

story, the graduating class was so glad that they had made it to this level, and dreamed of

progressing further only to be mentally shut down by the guest speaker at their

graduation. But at some point, there is something that gives you strength to rise above

what is holding you back. In this particular story, the “Negro National Anthem” is what

gave this graduating class the strength to rise above what society wanted them to be.

This particular song presents a feeling in me that allow me to think that I can accomplish

anything. It also instills me to be proud of my heritage. As with the author, I too felt at

an early age that this song had nothing to do with me. As Maya Angelou stated “And

now I heard, really for the first time:

We have come over a way that with tears have been watered,

We have come, treading our path through blood of the slaughtered. (pg 886)

The words to this song give hope to a race that has been slighted for many years. I think

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