“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” -Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
I am quick to call myself a bibliophile, but I must say, before this course my reading was rather narrow in terms of ethnicity. At the beginning of this semester, I had a general knowledge of ethics, and where I stand when it comes to my personal philosophy. However, I had yet to apply that philosophy to issues such as slavery, social class division, and the current race issues dividing the United States.
The highlight of this semester, for me, was viewing 12 Years a Slave. One of my main struggles this semester was being able to envision the horrors African Americans have faced. By watching the screenplay of this narrative, I was more-so affected than I had been reading narratives, such as Frederick Douglass or Harriet Jacobs. This turning point is what prepared me to be heavily touched by the play, A Raisin in the Sun. Despite it being more modern than Northup’s story, the central struggles of characters in the play hit me harder because of where these characters may have come from.
Now, I know racism and slavery are wrong. I also know that the racial profiling that is ever present on American streets today is a disgrace. I am ethically sound in having these thoughts, but I am not ethically sound in the actions I have taken to combat these issues.
The actions I have taken do not exist. Besides advocating my own opinion that the racially-charged actions of other are wrong. I feel that this is not enough; I feel that I could, and should, be doing more.
As Zora Neale Hurston wrote, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer,” this semester has caused many questions to arise in me, but it has also given me answers. As have many, I am lost in trying to decide what path I would like to take through life. I often wonder where I will be in ten years, and if I will be truly happy with the profession I choose. In the midst of all these questions, I know my love of literature will not grow old.
As I continue studying and reading, I would like to see how literature is contributing in modern day society.I want to use literature as a prompt for discussion that can cause change. Over the course of this semester, I have grown more aware of the discussions that can be prompted through the controversy caused by literature.
For example, even though A Raisin in the Sun was written in 1951, Walter’s struggles can be applicable to modern day Americans. The root of Walter’s struggles is buried in his desire to have money. Many Americans struggle with this as they try to attain the so called “American Dream.” As Walter’s relationship with his family crumpled, and his desire for wealth grew, his life grew significantly worse. Americans attempting to have a picture perfect version of the American Dream can lose the good in their lives, as Walter did.
This semester has opened my eyes. As I continue studying, I hope to find a direction to move in that will help me decide what types of literature I most enjoy studying, as well as what forms of literature inspire me to make a change.