It was a blank canvas, the beginning of my new life. A new school. I’ve never been the most outspoken kid at school but I never had to be I used to go to school with the same people for 9 years. This was all new to me like an alien in a new planet. The immediate whispers of confusion between friends,
“Yo who’s the new guy?”
“I don’t know but he has nice shoes.”
Walking down the new hallways I look at my feet. These aren’t that nice. My trusty mesh grey Nike Roshes. Were they being sarcastic? Are they not cool? Should I not of worn these today? The tornado in my stomach started to pick up speed. Wanted to go home. My actual home. I missed my friends. These were the first minutes of even entering the building, I still had yet to meet my class. My younger sister and I quickly met with the principal, he went on to explain how great the school was but I couldn’t help but feel he could be slightly bias.
Now it was the moment of truth, I walked up the stairs, every step making me more anxious. Time to meet the others in my grade and my new teacher. The principal who escorted me to classed showed me the math class which held 2 classes, easily over 50 new faces. I could feel the stares coming from the strangers, with a deep breath entered the class.
“ Hello There! What’s your name?”
There were 2 teachers, your average everyday teacher and next to her, the buffest teacher I’d ever seen. I had been assigned to the average teacher. I tried to ignore the gun show and put on a fake smile to hide my nervous face.
“Uh, Hi my names Xavier.”
“ Nice to meet you! Take a seat where ever you’d like.”
I had only a few seconds to choose where I sat. 3 seconds. Do I go with the table of girls? Too soon. 2 seconds. The kids in the front? too smart. 1 second. I plopped my butt in a chair. I look around and I see a familiar color, brown. I sat with the group of the schools Filipinos.
In quieter voice.
“Yo you Filipino?”
“Yeah half Filipino, quarter Dutch, and quarter Indonesian. What about you?”
“Oh cool and yeah. Full.”
His face told a different story like he was unsatisfied with my answer. I dismissed it and looked a the board. Algebra. It was math, my best subject, and I already covered this unit and my old school and I was prepared to answer the question.
“Can anyone share with the class how to solve this question?”
I raised my hand with little to no confidence, I knew what I was doing but in the chance I’d mess up would be the last thing I’d want. To be known as a dumb new kid that would be the end of me. I took a breath and I answered the question. The buff teacher smiled.
“It’s not too late to hand him over to my class.”
My teacher just laughed. I looked others were surprised I got it right. Maybe today wouldn’t be too bad.
Math was finished, on the way to my next class everyone either introduced me to themselves or asking for an Instagram follow. Next subject was English and the same guy from math asked me to pass his binder, it was covered in Nike shoes and basketball players, lucky for me these are 2 of my favorite things to talk about. The Air Jordan cherry 12’s. A gem in the sneaker community. Rushing through my head were every known fact I had on the shoes. Released in 1997. 5th championship shoe. Jordan had his historic “Flu game,” in these shoes. The guy was impressed. The next picture Kobe Bryant, Lakers legend. Didn’t have to like him but you had to respect him. He argued about the age old debate: LeBron or Kobe but as the argument became more heated the connect between friends started to grow and with the loss of the tornado in my stomach came a new friend, Gabriel.
The day went by quickly, filled with greetings from friendly faces and constant questions along the lines of;
“How do you like Pitt River?”
But out of all the question one stood out to me and of course it was from Gabe,
“Yo you wanna go to a basketball drop in later?”
Instantly my schedule of being sad for myself, missing my friends, and being a grumpy everyday teenager turned into excitement. It couldn’t come soon enough, I planned out what basketball shoes and attire I was going to wear. I didn’t want to be too flashy or look like I didn’t know what I was doing, but I decided I’d worry about that when the time came.
The bell rang on my way home with my sister and we were accompanied by everyone who made an effort to make conversation, they insisted on walking me home but before they left I ran upstairs and brought them popsicles. I thought ice cream may consummate my new found friendships.
After looking back on my day I realized that making friends isn’t that bad, or maybe I’m just a cool guy but After a couple licks and laughs they left my mom found me in my room,
“Hey Honey! How was your day?”
“Hey Mom, eh it was okay.”
People may go through such hard times that bring them down, so how is it that one can find courage and fight against it? [What is courage?] The movie, The Help, written by Kathryn Stockett and directed by Tate Taylor. “To Kill A Mockingbird” was written by author Harper Lee. The Help, takes place in the town of Jackson, Mississippi, during the 1950’s which happen to be the end of the Jim Crow laws while Mockingbird takes place in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama during the 30’s during the Jim Crow laws at its worst. Compared to The Help, the novel “To Kill A Mockingbird”, takes different approach to courage during the times of the Jim Crow Laws. However, The Help shows courage by having the maids with no voice to stand together where as in “To Kill A Mockingbird”, shows courage through a respected man standing up for those treated less equal. Ultimately although the methods are different the outcome showed similarities.
Although the protagonist of The Help, Skeeter, was the author of the book, “The Help”, the characters that demonstrated the most courage were those known as “The help”, because around these times, Jim Crow Laws were still in effect. Therefore, if the white citizens, or upper class found out that the maids was sharing their stories, the help would have had grave consequences. Understandably the help did not find the idea of writing this book ideal but because of Skeeter’s strong relationship with the maid from her childhood she insisted having the help tell their stories; “I wanna show her perspective so people might understand what it’s like from your side.” (Taylor, The Help), Skeeter feels as if the less fortunate deserve a voice just as much as her and all the other upper class citizens. The most courageous act within the whole movie is no doubt the scene when Minny approaches Ms. Hilly at her home with a pie and Minny surprises Ms. Hilly with her “special” pie. Although Minny’s actions seem extreme, it did seem that she earned the respect of certain characters such as Ms. Hilly’s mother who’s mention the pie to her daughter as a strong insult; “There are two things I can’t seem to forget, that my own daughter put me into a nursing home, and that she ate Minny’s shit.” (Taylor, The Help) Ms. Hilly’s mother acknowledges Minny’s actions and is just a small step towards the end of the racism in Jackson.
Throughout the novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” courage is often demonstrated through various acts of breaking Maycomb’s unwritten stereotypes done by characters such as Atticus and Scout. Atticus shows courage and tries to defeat the stereotype that white is the superior race by defending Tom Robinson, a black man who is accused of raping a white woman. Before the trial has even started Atticus is heckled at some points for defending someone like Tom, yet Atticus sticks to his morals and does what he sees fit to doing the right thing even if its going against what his town believes in; “I do my best to love everybody… I’m hard put, sometimes- baby, its never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name, it just shows you how poor that person is”, (Lee, page 107) Atticus discusses his opinion on how he sees others thoughts and actions towards those less fortunate during these times, in this case the black people. Scout acts courageous by dismissing the idea that a woman has to wear a dress to actually be a woman. Scout only feels comfortable in her trusty overalls because she feels like a dress is “pink prison”, and is uncomfortable physically and mentally. Other women, even Ms. Maudie do not understand Scout’s attachment to her overalls even in inappropriate times to wear them, “What are you doing in overalls? You should be in a dress and camisole, young lady!”, this gives somewhat of an outline of how women were portrayed in the 50’s and in Maycomb but Scout proves she does not feel the need to be included in the stereotypes.
To conclude, Harper Lee and Tate Taylor both take their own swing on courage throughout the past although with different attempt they both ultimately hope to achieve the same goal of gaining equality for the black people of their town. As The Help, brings together the voices of all the help and “To Kill A Mockingbird”, has a respected voice stand up for a single person, and also tries to break gender and racial stereotypes, they each respectively giving a helping hand to those who need and deserve one. Courage is something not easily achievable but based on the novel and movie any small act of courage can spark change for the better for individuals and others.
two things I could improve on are:
1. finding evidence that back up my thesis
2 proof reading and correcting my grammar
two things I did well were:
1. following the guide lines of the outline
2. writing a conclusion