Henry Ossawa Tanner
Henry Ossawa Tarner was an American painter who lived between the years 1859 and 1937. His early paintings were associated with African Americans. In one of his most popular paintings, ‘The Banjo Lesson’, he depicts an older man training a boy on how to play the banjo.
This painting was created in 1893 when he was calling on his family in Philadelphia. He created another great painting in the year that followed. This painting was known as ‘The thankful poor.’ He became a successful painter in the 19th century and gained admiration from both Americans and Europeans. It was in this century that he created another famous painting known as ‘Nicodemus Visiting Jesus’. This was an oil painting which had a biblical theme and led Tarner to win the Lippincott prize of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Even with the change of focus in his painting to biblical and religious themes, he was still a celebrated painter who was showered with praise and honor. In this essay, I will compare and contrast the use of color in his paintings, ‘The Banjo Lesson’, ‘The Young Sabot Maker’ and ‘The Two Disciples at the Tomb’.
The Banjo Lesson is one of the most famous paintings of Henry Ossawa Tarner. In the painting, a boy is being shown how to play the banjo by an older man. The surrounding is a log cabin and there seems to be a glow from the right corner of the painting which represents a source of light. The boy uses both of his hands to hold the banjo as he gazes downwards which a reflection of his complete concentration on the instructions is being given by the older man. The man helps in supporting the banjo by gently holding it with his left hand so that the boy is not overwhelmed by its weight.
The staging of the painting depicts the idea that the man wants the boy to learn to play the instrument and reap the rewards of this through hardwork.
The Banjo Lesson, Henry Ossawa Tarner. Oil painting. The Hampton University Museum in Virginia.
Tanner uses a narrow palette in this painting. The painting is almost fully monochromatic. Earth tones are prominent in the painting and are seen in the floor planks, the wall and cabinet in the back, the chair and the coat that rests limply on it, the man’s clothes and the boy’s pants and shirt. The earth tones are also seen in the man’s complexion and the brown color of his pupil. The break away from this uniformity is brought about by the background with its blue shadows and yellow cloth. The earth tones suggest humility and plainness. The furniture in the painting appears rough and unfinished. There are only a few bright colors which represent the light from the fire. The only decorated items in the painting are the two pictures on the wall at the back. These are, however, small and not clearly defined. This brings forth the concept of simplicity and poverty. The match between the clothes of the man and boy and the setting suggests the attachment of these two people to the setting.
The cabin appears to be a structure of restriction and the grey and brown hues suggest a lot about those in the painting. They are poverty stricken and lack elegance. The concept of inexactness is also brought forth by the intricacy and finite range of the earth tones and the complexion difference between the man and boy. The boy is similar to the man but does not match him exactly. Similarly, the hues of the clothing and setting match but not exactly. This shows that the people are attached to the cabin but cannot be reduced to its roughness. The brushwork in the painting compliments the color. He uses broad strokes for the light parts of the painting to represent the background and show quality of items. On the other hand, he uses careful strokes to represent the figures. This echoes the concept of inexactness with the setting.
Similar to The Banjo Lesson, the Young Sabot Maker depicts a student learning from his master. In the painting, the older man watches the boy as he carves out a sabot using a sawhorse. The two are in a sabot maker’s shop with wood shavings
- 1 The Young Sabot Maker, Henry Ossawa Tarner. Oil painting. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
- 2 The Two Disciples at the Tomb, Henry Ossawa Tarner. Oil painting. Art Institute of Chicago
- 2.1 References
The Young Sabot Maker, Henry Ossawa Tarner. Oil painting. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Scatterings all over the floor. Although in this painting the young sabot maker is white, the final painting portrays the young sabot maker as African-American rather than French given that at the time of creating this painting, Tarner was living in France and sabots were commonly worn in this country. This painting is very similar to The Banjo Lesson as there is a prominence of earth tones in the painting which can be seen in the wood shavings on the floor, the sabot being carved by the boy, the older man’s complexion and coat, the crossbar handle of the sawhorse, the walls of the shop, the table at the back, the sabots and logs of wood that have been set aside and the door. The contrast from this uniformity is brought about by the clothes of the boy which are blue in color and his complexion. The earth tones in this painting are a representation of humility and poverty. Sabot makers were people of a humble income. They were mostly deemed the kind and poor class in society. The painting also has no items of decoration apart from the two candles on the wall which are difficult to make out. The items present in the painting are simple such as the walls with no paintings, the sabots being carved and those already made. The color of the clothing of the man is similar to those of the setting which gives the idea of the ownership of the sabot shop. The boy has different colors on his clothes that contrast with those of the setting and of the man and this is a representation of unfamiliarity. The boy is trying something that he is not used to doing and this is further emphasized by the fact that the man seems to be watching the boy despite working on his own sabots.
The boy is in blue, a color that represents loyalty and faith. This points to the idea that the boy will likely work under the man as he further learns how to make sabots and the color is an expression of the loyalty of the boy to the man. The room is painted with dark hues of the earthy tones and light hues are only present in the right corner of the painting as was the case in The Banjo Lesson. Also, the painting utilizes rough and broad brushstrokes on items in the shop but they are more careful on the man and boy. This is a representation of the inexactness between the people in the painting and the setting. The painting also makes use of organic shapes in the sabots, items hanging next to the door and the wood on which the sabot is being carved. These irregular shapes emphasize nature and therefore further emphasize the simplicity of the figures as they obtain their raw materials from nature. The only difference in this painting is the race of the figures who appear to be white. However, as already mentioned, in the final painting the young boy is African-American.
The Two Disciples at the Tomb, Henry Ossawa Tarner. Oil painting. Art Institute of Chicago
The Two Disciples at the Tomb is thematically different from the other two paintings. It has a biblical theme and which Tarner adopted later on in France. The painting depicts Peter and John, as is in the gospel of saint John, at the tomb of Jesus but find no one in it. Peter gazes down grimly while John is rapt and his face is covered in white light which serves to represent the spirit of Christ in the tomb. Despite the difference in theme, there are several concepts such as contrast and color that still remain the same in this painting as with Tarner’s two other paintings. There is the use of dark colors in this painting such that the left portion of the painting is dark and the right portion is light owing to the source of light emanating from Christ’s spirit. The contrast in this case serves to represent a miracle. The contrast in color also sets the mood in the painting. Earth tones are also present as seen in the tomb, complexion of Peter, the background and John’s robe. This represents the disciples’ humble status. The right side of the painting has darker colors that can be seen in the surrounding and in the clothing of the disciples. This sets a gloomy and dark mood as the disciples did not find Jesus in the tomb. The left side of the painting is light which represents a joyous mood. This joy is derived from the glory of the spirit of Christ. The lines in the painting complement the color as they are vertical hence create a feeling of spirituality as vertical lines’ perpendicularity to the earth leads upwards to the sky.
Henry Ossawa Tarner was a great American painter with several famous works of art. He commonly represented African Americans in his art as is seen in The Banjo Lesson and final copy of The Young Sabot Maker which is different from the one shown. He also commonly represented poverty and simplicity in his paintings through the use of earth tones as is seen in all the paintings above. However, the theme of his paintings changed after he feared racism in his country and moved to France where he created paintings of a biblical theme.
Khalid, F. (2016). Henry Ossawa Tarner, The Banjo Lesson. Smarthistory. Accessed December 4, 2017. https://baroquepotion.com/2008/01/evidence-in-art-tanners-the-banjo-lesson/
Luce Foundation Center. (2016) Study for the Young Sabot Maker. SAAM. Accessed December 4, 2017.
“Unbowed: A Memoir” by Wangari Maathai
Unbowed is a compelling and inspiring memoir of the first environmentalist African woman to have earned the honor of being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Wangari Maathai takes the reader through from her childhood until she becomes a professor. Through her scientific abilities, she identifies environmental degradation and sets on a movement to bring solutions to the problems.
- 1 The Environmental
- 1.1 Conclusion
- 1.2 Works cited
Maathai recognizes the problems of corruption, mismanagement of the environment through deforestation, and oppression. She becomes aware that advocating for a democracy alone would not bring a solution to the deforestation problems. In the due process, she fears for her own life and that of the family (Maathai 67).
Maathai establishes the Green Belt Movement to counter the environmental problem on her land. She sensitized on the issue of government officials owning public lands. She also emphasizes on the protection of biodiversity based on the numerous benefits that biodiversity has on the environment. Biodiversity, for instance, helps to establish a balance in the population as prey animals feed on others. Maathai also participated in the National Council of Woman to motivate women to produce seedlings in a move to protect the forests. This was primarily done to renew the Kenya and the earth as a whole. She appreciated the role of trees that will help make a difference in the world as a whole which is the reason she earned a peace prize.
The author identifies the relationship between the government regime and the environmental degradation. She argues that poor policies are subject to deforestation and other malpractices affecting the environment. The result heavily relies on the innocent citizens. Trees provide the solution for some issues. First, they help the women in the society prepare nutritious dishes. Also, they offer wood for fencing. Trees also assist in binding the soil as well as protection of the watersheds. Most prominent is the fact that trees would help to attract the birds which contribute to enriching biodiversity (Maathai 68). Perhaps the reason that Maathai emphasized on rehabilitating the environment owes to the fact that trees help to establish an environment that nurtures all life.
In this book, Maathai identifies many issues with the environment. She explains that deforestation is the main problem affecting the environment as a whole. As a result, the effects are felt in the whole biological system. For instance, cutting of trees destroys homes for animals which results in driving them out. The result is that some species are missing and continue being at risk if deforestation is not sensitized. But even though, there are other critical components of the government policies. They have equally contributed to the degradation of the environment using the concept of land privatization.
Unbowed: A Memoir is quite an informative book addressing an important issue of environmental degradation. Maathai explains the problems with land policies and practices which creates a ground for more controversy and speculation. Her argument is based on democracy and how it would help improve the environment. However, she cannot find the answers to more complex issues on the general biological systems especially since it has effects on people’s livelihood. Although she sensitizes on the conservation of trees, she has to explain a lot more than democracy for efficiency in conserving the environment.
MAATHAI, ALSO BY WANGARI. “Unbowed: A Memoir.”
A Personal Story
A person’s story or who they are is based on experiences they’ve faced throughout their lives. People are largely influenced by an abundant amount of external factors that help determine in which ways an individual is socialized. This socialization arises from the moment we are born, allowing us to become continuously shaped by external factors.
We are mainly shaped by family, friends, and most importantly, society as a whole. After paying close attention to who I am over the past few years, I now know that my life has been shaped by my family, society, and the experiences that I’ve been through. These three factors have shaped the way I view others, as well in which ways they’ve influenced me.
From July 1, 2001, the day I was born, I was given an ascribed status of a Muslim American, which I knew would be a very important role to play in my life as I got older. I come from a big family, with my mother, father, four sisters, and brother. I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, but both of my parents are from Afghanistan, a country with a strong cultural heritage. Because of this, they have seen and still see things differently than I do. Based on my gender, my mother and father have made their own decisions on which ways they were going to raise me, including the ways I dress, the way I act, and what is to be expected of not only me, but my sisters as well. Primarily, my parents knew how to raise me from experiences they’ve had in Afghanistan and America, causing them to treat me a certain way based on society’s standards. My family has had a great impact on my life, as they’ve taught me many things.
My mother and father, along with my older brother and sister have all had an impact of my outlook in life. Since all of them were born in Afghanistan, they’ve taught me that the meaning connected to the word family’ is different there than it is here in America. This led me to believing in strong family ties and togetherness, no matter how tough times get. A Family’s reputation is an essential part of the Afghan culture, where the actions of one family member affect an entire family’s reputation. For this reason, most families in Afghanistan are very cautious of their children’s upbringing since society will judge them based on the presentation of their kids, especially their daughters. They also helped me understand why values and beliefs are so important in life. Since I was little, I’ve been given an understanding of the cultural aspect of family values and norms. This allows me to understand that the person I’ve become is based on the values I acquired from watching my parents behaviors and their social interactions with others.
They introduced me to the social aspects of kindness, respect and good behavior when connecting with diverse people in the social structure. By teaching me everything they’ve acquired throughout their lives so far, they definitely influenced my life significantly. As I previously said, being a muslim from Afghanistan plays a very important role in my life. This has had another significant impact on my life. Because this makes me different from some others, I’ve been judged many times during my life by people in ways that I feel nobody should have to go through. Due to the terrible disaster that took place on September 11, I faced the awful side of religious discrimination. Although I was only two months old when this tragedy occured, it caused stereotyping views against Muslims, and led us to being seen as enemies of America, even until today.
Over the years, I’ve come across many incidents such as getting weird stares for wearing a headscarf, being called a terrorist, and hearing that I don’t belong in America and need to go back to where I came from. Not only did this make me feel left out, but it also made me feel different compared to those around me in a negative way. Based on my personal experiences, I have come to an understanding that people in a society are deviant, meaning they make social judgements, such as deciding what someone is like based on what they look like from the outside, not even knowing what they’re truly like. From the elementary through high school, I’ve attended a private school for muslims. Although there were students from a different country and/or race, I was never given the proper opportunity to meet or speak with anyone from a different religion. Going from a private school to a more public environment has been a very big transformation for me. I was afraid of going somewhere different than the school I attended because I had the idea that some people would not be comfortable around me because of where I’m from.
Now that I attend a very diverse community college, I’m able to meet others whose religion is different from mine. Despite this difference, I learned that not everyone in a society is so quick to judge, and that they are in fact understanding of who I am and are able to accept it. As a result, this has made me more confident in who I am. Throughout my first semester of college, I have made strong social ties with new friends, causing my social network to increase.
Because social interactions are essential for adaptability to a different culture and social structure, It’s important for me to maintain these relationships as they allow me to connect with people from various ethnic backgrounds and be included in a diverse population. As I spend my time in community college figuring out what I want to do in the future, I will continue to grow and learn more about myself. Being a Muslim from Afghanistan and living in America for my whole life has supplied me with a variety of mental and physical sociological changes. I have embraced a different social structure by living in America, but am still aware of my original social structure by being from Afghanistan.
I’ve learned to incorporate what I know about both of these countries and use that knowledge throughout my everyday life. Although being a muslim has put me through some ups and downs, I am and will always be proud of the person that I am, the person that my parents raised me to be. Living as a Muslim female has enabled me to learn how the history of my race has affected my life, and how it’s turned me into the independent woman that I am.
Genome the Autobiography of a Species
This semester, I have read a good number of books about biology and different biological processes. This book out of all the books I have read was the worst in terms of entertainment value. However, I learned more from this book than I have from all the other books I have read this semester.
The writing was dry, but the information was full and informative. I’ve probably erased and re-written this paper 3 or 4 times because there is so much information to cover. The genome is a wonderful thing and can really make a difference once we understand what it is and how it works. The minor variances between all human DNA can predict our futures and how we will be years from now.
The first chapter I am going to touch on is the chapter talking about genetic disease. This chapter was interesting for me to read because of my own personal genome. Many years ago, I took place in a study about skin cancer and was told I have the P16 gene which increases the chance I have for skin cancer. Later in life, my chances for pancreatic cancer will also increase. The chapter on genetic disease talks about ABO blood typing to discuss disease. Specifically, people with O blood type are more susceptible to Cholera but they are still around today because their O blood type makes them more resistant to many other strains of disease. While O blood type isn’t a disease, it does indicate that our genome can affect our overall health for good or bad. Throughout this chapter the author does talk about how our genome affects us but does not seem to discuss how we can affect our genome. It almost seems to be from the author’s point of view that if you have certain genetic coding there isn’t anything you can do to change that.
I personally challenge this idea to an extent. While you can’t change your genetic coding, you can affect the outcomes of your coding to an extent. Take for example my genome. I know that I have increased risk for cancer. If I took the outlook of the author, I’d do nothing about it and just accept my fate. But we know that healthy living can significantly decrease the risks for cancer. By me choosing to live healthy, I can absolutely affect my genes and decrease my chances for cancer. I think that the author misses this point but does make other great points when discussing how a genome can affect our health.
The next chapter that really challenge my viewpoints was the chapter on personality. The author shares a story about how 3 generations of a family of were all criminals. Upon further analysis it was discovered that all 3 men shared the same gene which gave them unusual Serotonin levels. While the author states this isn’t a crime gene, it does indicate how our personality will be affected by our brain chemistry. This challenged my idea of personality because I have personal experience with changing personality.
My natural personality is one of quiet and introverted behavior. In high school, I was very unpopular and only had one close friend which was hard on me. I realized that to be successful or get anywhere in life I had to change my personality and be more friendly and outgoing. Since the years of high school, I have become very outgoing, friendly, and have made many more friends than I had in my first 18 years of life combined. I understand that the author also agrees with the belief that our genes do not make up everything that we are or will be. However, there were several instances of the author indicating that people were more likely to believe their genome over everything else. I think this is a big caution that genetic analyzation should take. If we tell someone you have a gene that will make you a criminal they are more likely to think that’s just the way it is rather than do something so they aren’t a criminal.
For this book, my major critical analysis and thought is that our genome affects us to a great degree, but we shouldn’t let our genome dictate or control us. After reading this book, the author does touch on this briefly in some chapters, but skims over it in others. This indicates to me that the author believes there are certain things that can be controlled by our actions, and others that cannot. I’ve never been a fan of the idea that you are helpless to your genome. Everyone has a say no matter how small in who they are, what happens to them, and the types of things they must deal with. It’s just a matter of making the right choices to mitigate the impact your genome may have on you.
To someone on the outside, my life looked as bland and normal as a plain sheet of printer paper. I had two loving parents, a house far too large for the three of us, several well trained golden retrievers, and three Audi A4’s parked in the driveway. Little did they know my father was the biggest pothead ever, I occasionally stole hundreds of dollars worth of underwear from Victoria’s Secret, and my mother was dealing with the consequences of a seven-year-long family feud.
I will admit, other than the above deviations from the social norm, my life was pretty on the straight and narrow in high school. This is what I’d like to think separates my delinquent shoplifting experiences from life course-persistent offenders. According to our lecture on Control Bonding Theory, these offenders are those who take their delinquent actions and behaviors beyond high school and college into their adult life (Hoffman, Slide ?…–). I fit in with the category of those who are considered to be adolescent-limited delinquents. They commit illegal acts to defy authority, experiment how far they can take their actions, and are around the ages of 12-17 (Hoffman, Slide ?…–). In order to understand why I shoplifted in high school, I must go into greater detail about the Differential Association Theory. Thinking back, I can now apply the Control Bonding Theory to my decision to stop shoplifting once I got into college.
I would say I’ve shoplifted about five times in my life. All of the offences took place throughout high school. I can’t remember specifically who showed me the ultimate way to smuggle underwear, but I do know I picked up the routine from a friend (a now three-times removed acquaintance). My friends and I were at the Tanger Outlets one weekend during Sophomore year. We went into Victoria’s Secret, that we called VS back then, and started to shop around. I noticed my friend picking up several pairs of underwear and putting them under the other items that she had put into her cart.
We went into a dressing room where she proceeded to take off her pants and start layering the underwear from her cart on top of her own. She pulled her pants back up, and walked out of the store with about $175 worth of underwear. Want to know a secret? VS underwear don’t have sensors on them. I asked her why she stole them and her reasonings made sense in my mind: They sell underwear for $15 when in reality they are probably worth $2.50. It’s a complete ripoff, so I rip them off. I agreed with her, thus starting my short-lived shoplifting habit.
I saw my friend successfully steal items that I wanted, so I followed in her footsteps, a classic example of Edwin Sutherland and Donald Cressey’s Differential Association Theory. The base of the theory is that criminal behavior is a learned trait (Differential). In other words, according to the theory, a person doesn’t start committing crimes on their own. They have to observe/interact with primary group members in order to pick up criminal behaviors (Differential). The primary group, meaning friends, parents, peers, and close relatives, has the most effect on the offender because when growing up, that group has influence over the offenders behaviors and ideals (Differential).
The Differential Association Theory acknowledges the fact that from the moment we are born, we are being shaped by society: [Individuals] learn gender roles through their interactions with their parents and observations of gender specific characteristics. Interaction and observations are the same methods of communication through which criminals learn their deviance (Differential). Throughout high school, I felt this pressure to be very feminine.
It’s not like I wasn’t feminine, but my primary concerns weren’t makeup and the latest Abercrombie and Fitch trends. I played every sport you could possibly play, including softball, which was referred to as dyke ball. Personally, I’m straight, but several of my teammates were apart of the LGBT community. I felt as though I was seen as being a part of that group, and back then I wanted to separate myself from that assumption.
I always have had more guy friends than girlfriends, but in middle/high school I was never romantically involved with anyone. That on top of my mother’s constant that’s not very ladylike of you pep talks, made me want to up the feminine ante. My thought process back then was maybe if I buy this sexy underwear, I’ll get a guy. The girl who taught me how to steal underwear had no trouble finding a new relationship every other day of the week. In order for me to fit in with the social norms that surrounded me, I felt the need to change my dynamic, which caused me to engage in criminal behavior.
There was a certain thrill that came with shoplifting. It’s like I was single handedly pulling off this big scheme against a corporate giant. When I got away with it once, every single time I shoplifted after I never thought about the possibility of being caught. I have never been caught, but the odds were never in my favor. Shoplifting is riskey; when caught there is a 50/50 chance you’ll be handed off to the police (Shoplifting). However, according to statistics compiled by the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, shoplifters are caught once every 48 times they shoplift (Shoplifting).
At the time, the benefit of stealing VS underwear outweighed the possibility that I could be caught. The Rational Choice Theory is based on the fact that people commit crimes because of the benefits (Clarke, 23). It also assumes that crimes are committed consciously, and not randomly (Clarke, 24). In my case, I didn’t just happen to throw on numerous pairs of underwear and walk out of VS, I deliberately stole them. The decision I made to shoplift also follows an important sequence the theory revolves around. I became involved with shoplifting, continued to do it, then halted after five shoplifting experiences. This pattern follows the initiation, habituation, and distancing stages of the theory (Clarke, 24).
There were several reasons why I stopped shoplifting. For one, my dad passed away and that meant I didn’t have an automatic lawyer to get me out of trouble. He had the tendency to take knick knacks from restaurants and similar establishments to keep as momentos. I was never really interested in how many travel size shampoo and conditioner bottles I could take from the housekeepers cart on my way out of the hotel. Thus I don’t consider him the reason why I started shoplifting.
He would have been mad for a second, then we would have laughed it off. Now that it’s just my mom and I, I know for a fact that me getting in trouble would kill her. She already has to work three jobs to get me through college, so paying a fine or to get me out of jail is not something she could afford to do. Several elements of the Control Bonding Theory explain why I chose to halt my deviant behavior.
Rather than looking at why people commit crimes, the Control Bonding Theory attempts to explain why individuals don’t get involved with criminal activities. According to Travis Hirshi, author of A Control Theory of Delinquency, …possessing strong social bonds gives the individual a “stake in conformity”; engaging in delinquency or crime involves the risk of losing those things that the individual deems valu?able, such as love and respect from parents or time and effort expended in school to obtain a good job (Hirshi, 272). There are four bonds associated with the theory: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief (Hirshi, 272). In the instance of my family, the theory contributes me stopping due to the attachment bond because of the fear of losing my mom in consequence of committing criminal acts (Hirshi, 272-273).
On a college application it asks the applicant if they’ve ever committed a crime. College was never not an option for me. My parents, like many others, have drilled it into me that without college, opportunities out in the real world are very limited. I’ve never seen a job application that didn’t have a blank for what college you went to. My parents were so proud when I got into every single college I applied to. I couldn’t go out to dinner without my dad telling somebody that I one-upped him by getting into all of my colleges. Too many times I’ve seen intelligent kids do something stupid and not be able to go to college. I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t let that be me. The commitment bond made me walk away from crime because there was too much at stake to lose and not go to college. I was committed to going to college, and halted a possible obstacle that could have destroyed that commitment.
My name is Catharine Fleming. I’ve lived in the Hamptons almost all my life, my four bedroom, 4 ?? bathroom, three story house now only holds two people, everybody in my town knows my golden retriever by his first name, and I have committed criminal acts. Given my fortunate life, there was no reason for me to steal. I could have bought the underwear without it affecting if I had a next meal or not. My birthmom used to steal in order to make sure my half sister had at least two meals a day. Economic factors, oppression, desperation, genetics and so on are all reasons for why people commit crimes; None of which I have been exposed to. There is not just one form of ?criminal’, nor will there ever be. I do not define myself as criminal, but as an experimental delinquent who has now grown up only to study the exact behavior that I exhibited as a youth.
My name starts with the most recognized flower in the nation and the most common name of people, however, I am original. My name is Jasmine Alexander. The dream I have holds the most emotional and special moment in my life.
In childhood, that’s when I discovered I had the desire to dance. From that point on, that was all I ever wanted. This narrative will discuss the history of dance and how it relates to me, the hardship I had in finding a sound dance school, and how my patience led its way to find a dance school with a different outcome than others. The passion I have for ballet is not summarized, however, I had never worked with an instructor before also I had never danced before. The reality of this crippled the imagination of my dream of ever being onstage.
My parents and my two older brothers encouraged me, they also told me the pros and cons of being a ballerina. The things I had to sacrifice and gain in return, they were all stressful to me. Reaching my goals with obstacles in the mix was hard and still is mental. The best advocator I have is my mother and with her prior experience in ballet, it was even better. Whenever my mother would train me, she always told me to show her the five positions also show her my pointers. This has a connection with its history. Long before this era, ballet originated within the 15th century around the renaissance era.
This type of dance started in Florence, France, that was adored by many noblemen. When ballerinas danced on their toes, in France, it was called Romantic Ballet according to Christopher Muscato, it states The origins of ballet can be traced back to 15th century Italy, when the peninsula was in the height of its period of artistic, cultural, and scientific growth known as the Renaissance. It was in the tradition of early 19th century Romantic ballet that dancing on the toes, or en pointe, first became a standard part of the performance, reserved for female dancers. After a family discussion on matters dealing with money supply and proper attire, Mom and I went school hunting. The first school we came upon was local to our area. The school was small, and the inside had an office at the front and classrooms in the back where ballerinas practiced. My mother started communicating with the head instructor of the place, where she started to tell her all about my dream to dance.
The head instructor told my mother her requirements and standards for her class. My mother and the instructor made a deal where she paid her every month to teach me the basics. When I first started, my mother was dropping me off for dance class, I was running a little late, however, as soon as we arrived, we had to wait a whole hour for the instructor. Right then, my mother and I saw everything we needed to see. The ballerinas weren’t wearing proper attire, they were all chatting outside the classroom instead of going to their next class, everything the instructor said they were doing they wasn’t. The experience was more like high school than a dance school. For those reasons, my mother and I quit, we resulted back into finding another dance school.
Years later, I began to lose hope in finding a sound school and I began to believe it was more like a fantasy than reality. That is when mom came across a different school that was apart of a gym and another class, that was all in one building. The inside had old scuffed walls and an office in front. The ballet class was across from the office to the left. Once again, we waited for the instructor and once she came, we started to talk. The instructor started to ask me what my name and age is. I told her my name is Jasmine Alexander and I am 15 years old. The instructor then said, okay, you’re fifteen, so you’ll be learning with others around your age. My mother then jumped to the point and asked what her requirements and standards for her class are.
The instructor enlightened my mother on everything, however, something out of the conversation stuck out to my mother and me. The instructor did not care about what size the ballerinas were and she didn’t mind if they come as they are. This went against everything she said she stood for, also, this went against the morals of a sound prestige school, we were looking for. The experience I had out of this one was not productive or sound. Months went by, discouraged is what I felt at the time. I thought I was never going to find a proper dance school, at least, that’s what I thought. My mother took me to another school a few minutes up the street from our house. The school was in a neighborhood called Providence. The school was small.
However, in the inside it was huge studios, one after the other, it was truly amazing. We talked to the instructor and gotten a different attitude about how she feels about dance. The instructor educated me on the determination it will take. The instructor also educated me on everything I had to do in her class and what classes I need to get to the pre-professionals stage, where most ballerinas my age was. I enlightened the instructor about my passion for dance and it thrilled her to know such passion of mine. The instructor allowed me to have a free lesson of ballet to see how I adjust. With this, we were able to sit in other classes to see how things work. After this experience, my mother and I both said, this is it.
What I learned from this experience is you must put in the effort. My goal is to learn how to dance, as I said previously, ever since childhood I loved everything about dance and the making of it. Whenever a ballerina performed on stage, I knew that would be me. The hardship I had in finding a sound school that could teach me, was one of the obstacles in my way of success. However, I learned that patience and good deeds go a long way since we couldn’t find a proper school at first, it didn’t mean we failed. As others say, little progress is better than none. At many attempts I felt failure, however, I did not lose hope.
When I founded the school I was looking for, everything I have done paid off, going through the trouble of finding the school of my dream was worth it. The effort my family and me put into this goal made every move risky and challenging, but it proved after all tribulations were over, that anything is possible, only if you keep going forward and learn from mistakes, that is when success is truly accessible.
- Christopher Muscato, https://study.com/academy/lesson/history-of-ballet-timeline-facts.html Prentice Hall, P.H. (2012).
- Prentice Hall Literature, Common Core Edition, Grade 11. Retrieved from: https://courses.jmhs.com/d2l/le/content/7390/fullscreen/13586/View
My name is Lane Kidd, and I was born January 19, 1978, in Shreveport, Louisiana. I have two sisters, which are 11 months apart, and 7-8 years older than myself. I am the youngest.
For those whom I would say know me personally, or at work, would probably say I am an average guy who works hard and because of some of my life’s experiences, perceive that I play hard. Truth is, I don’t play enough. There is always something that can be getting done. Growing up as a child, the slogan “Don’t put off tomorrow for what you can do today”, was embedded in me and at times, I can honestly say that I take that literally.
My parents worked extremely hard and rarely did I ever see them take days off. The days my mother did take vacation from her job, mostly was for, as she called it, “The Clean Sweep!” This was never good for my sisters, nor my father because the clean sweep meant if it were laying out on the floor or not put up in its proper place, it was probably going in the trash. As I think back, it was always close to trash day pick up. The same went for my father. He never exercised his vacation rights either. The times he did, it was to tend to the animals he raised, whether it was for repairs or for the slaughter, there was always work being done. My life growing up consisted of productivity, but most importantly, the culture I grew up in evolved around hard working, African American men and women. I too, am an African American male, and I am forty years old.
I was unaware of how many people from diverse countries can’t differentiate black men from African men. America is my nationality. I am an African American, or Black male. It was never difficult for me to differentiate between the two because I didn’t grow up around any Africans; therefore, I didn’t know or wouldn’t have known the difference myself. The predicament for me began as a child when my father made certain that I knew that there was a difference in this world between blacks and whites, and by no means would we (his kids) be what white folk perceived blacks to be by what they had seen on television, and whether I liked it or not, it was something I’d better accept. There were reasons the men in our community worked hard and all the time.
We didn’t grow up in an underprivilege community, nor did we attend underprivilege schools. Majority, if not all the men in our community were educated and successful in their career. Growing up, there was a sense of self identification and most importantly, having the will to succeed; whatever success meant to you. As the years move forward, I noticed that around high school, there was a huge difference between whites and blacks socially. For example, it is learned quickly that most of the kids that grew up playing sports together and having sleepovers, were no longer allowed to participate in other races’ functions. The high school I attended had three student parking lots: whites, blacks, and everybody else. As a mid to late teen is when I began realizing that being an African American or Black male is different from being white. It was weird that I couldn’t socialize with certain white friends that I had much of my life.
As time moved forward, I began to accept the fact that there were just some people, due to the color of my skin, did not accept me as their equal, and whether I had known them as kids or not, seemingly, it simply wasn’t acceptable to associate with blacks as white people with certain social and/or economic status. In the United States, there is a tendency that whites live amongst whites, while blacks live amongst the blacks. This isn’t the case for every community, but many of them. The difference in seasons brings out the differences in races of people. In the summer time, majority of white people gather up their boats and life preservers, and head for the lakes. However, black people, on the other hand, mostly choose to gather in parks and barbeque, even though it’s already 100 degrees.
When you compare the cultures between blacks and whites, there are some similarities, but there are several differences. Even though we grow up in the same country and learn from the same or similar institutions, the way we eat, dress, socialize, and even our religious practices are different. For example, most African Americans eat unhealthily until they reach an age where they learn that our habits are not fit for a healthy lifestyle. This is mainly because during slavery, African Americans fed and cooked for white families. The blacks didn’t earn enough wages to provide much food for theirs, so they had to make do with the scraps they were given. Mostly, this was the left over from the pig or whatever they could get their hands on. African Americans cook food in grease and butter, which are unhealthy. As a child, it seemed as that the only animals that the black men did raise were pigs and cattle; two animals where the bulk of our meat comes from. With days of work on the job and coming home to provide for their families, there was little to no time for exercising.
It was a culture shock in some ways because in the white communities, you would always see someone walking or running down the street, exercising. This was a rare occasion in my community. In my neighborhood, the resources for health and fitness isn’t accessible. There are no 24-hour gyms and the fitness centers we did have were across town in the white communities, with a membership needed. Truth be told, majority of blacks in my community made excuses for not working out, whether it was too tired, or the convenient old age rebuttal. There were those that did exercise, and they were willing to drive the distance to utilize the fitness facilities. Again, the issue wasn’t limited to transportation, finances played a major role.
As African Americans, even though successful, didn’t condone to paying for or creating bills that wasn’t considered a need. Although fitness is extremely important, in black communities then, it was not considered a necessity. The culture I was raised in, the work that had to be done around the house or the farm was about as much exercise as one could get; and it was saving money so to speak. As I got older and moved to the city, in a white community, I must admit that I wasn’t used to the amenities that came with living in a predominantly white area. Although health and fitness are dissimilar, both cultures rely heavily on religion. It may be difficult to notice by watching the interactions between the black churches and white churches, but they do have their similarities. While they both teach from the same bible, the teachings and worships services are different.
The ministry is heavy on my father’s side of the family, but both of my parents come from strict religious backgrounds. When my parents were growing up, religion was a part of daily life for blacks. It is where majority of congregating and festivities took place; food, games, etc. It was a time when families came together to really get to know one another because each other was all they had, and everyone took care of everyone and their children. The saying went, “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.” This is how blacks lived, while celebrating and soaking in as much wisdom from the elderly. For in those times, it was nothing for the neighbors to get together and have a feast for the new family that recently moved into the community.
This was the culture of African Americans and religion. As I have gotten older, I sit with my mom and question her on how things were then when she was a child versus how things are now as I raise mine; simply to gain a bit more knowledge on the culture of yesterday to today. Listening to some of her stories makes it difficult for me at times to imagine raising my kids in her time. She would explain how they would go to church every day. I can’t imagine going every single day, but listening to her, this was the thing to do. This was the road to success so to speak. She explained how it strengthens the community and kept the trail blazing for those coming behind them.
The more I learned about my culture, the more I realized that religion played a vital role in our upbringing. It is still the same today, but my generation does share its differences. Religion is still heavy in African American communities, but we don’t attend service every day of the week, and most importantly, the services are much shorter. Also, there are a lot less festivities going on due to majority of black churches now are comprised of many people who worship together but go about their own separate lives afterwards. In my opinion, I have learned that religion is a culture within its own, and both white and blacks maneuver in the culture by how they were raised and the religion that they were surrounded by, ie: Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, etc.
While both black and white people read and teach from the same bible, the atmosphere and culture of religion is different. In the white culture, church service is quiet and absolutely no one is yelling to the top of their lungs begging for a witness. In my culture, on the other hand, after 3 prayers, 4 scripture readings, and an A & B selection from the choir, it’s already been a couple hours and the preacher hasn’t come close to the sermon. Each culture has its positive and negative. The African American culture in religion requires plenty of patience and discipline because church wasn’t ending anytime soon. I can say it taught me both. There were consequences for not learning both, and in the black culture, any parent, other than your own had full rights to see to it that you did learn those two qualities and quickly.
Most people, like myself, grow up in one culture; only being exposed to views that is being presented to them. While enrolled in the military, that experience afforded me the opportunity to view other cultures up close other than on television. What I learned was that each culture has its own opinions and views on how the society should operate. Not being multicultural like many people in foreign countries, has raised a certain awareness in myself of how different other cultures can be. I represent the African American culture and that is the only culture I can knowingly converse on. Having the opportunity to travel to other countries allowed me to explore other cultures and their languages. Unfortunately, I speak only one language; which is English.
Acquiring the life skills I received from the US Navy, I am grateful for the valuable lessons I obtained along the way. Throughout these experiences, I have been able to practice different cultures, increase valued knowledge on different religions, and have learned, in some form to communicate in different languages with others. These experiences can’t be purchased. I am grateful for having the opportunity to enhance my knowledge on not only other cultures, but myself as well.
To start off the personal narrative about my life, my full name is Suzanna Joy Fia. My life began in Lamour, CA, where I was born on December 15, 1999. I am the youngest of 4 sisters, we grew up in many different places due to my father serving in the military.
My Dad retired in 2010 after 31 years of service, whereas my Mom moved on to become a Special Ed. teacher with a Masters in that field. My family and I moved to Alaska shortly after my dad’s retirement where he continued working as a bus driver and my Mom, a teacher at Reddington High School in Settlers Bay. I spent most of Elementary school in Texas and the rest of my academic career in Alaska.
The best memories I have from high school began with Fridays. Friday at my school wasn’t bad at all. Very rarely did we have homework to be done over the weekends. Classes were much more relaxed and often consisted of work days. Fridays were special because for each week that went by, the closer and closer you got to freedom. A big motivation for me to go to school were my friends. We worked hard together to get good grades while having fun. All of my current best friends are people I met in high school. When you’re going through the same kind of life problems, it’s nice to have a group of friends to help you along the way.
Although there were good times, high school consisted some of the worst. Something that goes hand in hand with friend groups is drama. Highschool can be very dramatic and can find yourself in the middle of it. I learned that sometimes it’s best to just ignore it and keep your thoughts to yourself. One memory I will never forget was going to gym, being surrounded by much fitter students and challenging obstacles. The dreaded mile run was one of the most difficult things I had to do in high school. For the life of me I could not get my time under ten minutes. Being the last person to finish your run with the longest time was one of the worst feelings and still haunts me to this day.
Growing up I had a love for art and creativity. I have been drawing since I was a little child.
I usually drew animals and landscapes with vibrant colors that were hung up in my room, taking up every inch of the walls. Painting quickly became my new obsession in middle school. I would spend days working on a piece for my own personal getaway from life. I have a secret respect a devotion for animals. I adore dogs more than any other animal, considering I’ve got 4 of my own at home. I have worked in a vet clinic and taken vet assisting classes, increasing my love. Volunteering at the local shelter is a hobby I will never let go of. Giving the animals a little bit a joy and seeing it in their eyes, makes every visit worth my time.
Attending college has always been a life goal starting in high school. People who graduate from college make more money and open up more opportunities and choices for jobs/careers. I decided to go to college because I am a strong believer in that education opens new doors of opportunity. I’m also finding new friends that can help me along the way to graduating. I hope I can start a tradition in the family line to attend college and move up in the world. To find a career that I love and will support me in life and give me the chance to grow as a person would be a dream come true.
Currently my life consists of school, family, and lots of napping. In order to keep everything on track, I must follow a strict schedule. Having my planner will help me finish projects in a timely manner, manage my time, and make sure my classes are in order. My goal is keeping a heathy balance between school and my social life. I hope by the end of this semester I will be more active and organized with my life choices. After a couple more years at Matsu College I plan on moving out of Alaska and pursue the career I’ve chosen.
College was definitely a step out of my comfort zone. The fear of change took over my life after graduating high school. I was scared of making new friends and having a professor instead of a teacher. Then the stage of loneliness started to set in as my time slowly began to consist of studying. I find it hard to get out of the acutance zone with people in class. There are so many different people with different backgrounds its difficult to find the right friends that fit me. The dreaded “What if?” haunts me every time I’m heading to class, thinking of the worst that can happen. Thinking like this gets my heart pumping at the chance of embarrassing myself in class, keeping me from new opportunities.
I started my first semester at Middle college with no friend’s, severe depression, and anxiety. I was in a slow decline of unhealthy self-care and kept many mental health problems to myself. I was only 17 and unprepared for a big academic step such as college and independent responsibility. I was scared to ask for help and communicate what was going on in my life with the counselor, principal, even my family. I pushed myself towards poor mental health, resulting in hospitalization. I have found the chemical imbalance causing my mental problems and am taking the necessary medications to keep my depression and anxiety stable. I have developed healthy coping skills such as exercise, mindfulness, the importance of asking for help and having many different support outlets. I am able to continue my coursework and improve my academic progress.
Story about my Family
I think being born into a large family, nine brothers and seven sisters, has many advantages. I always had someone to play with as a child. My older brothers and sisters were always there to protect me; therefore, I never got teased or bullied. My support group was big which helped build my confidence, self-esteem, and resilience. I am not afraid to try anything new because I know my family will always be there to help me out if things don’t turn out as planned.
I went away to college the fall after graduating from high school. I did well academically and loved expanding my knowledge. However, I had no connection to my family. Land lines were the only telephones at that time and long distance phone calls were expensive. No one came to visit; either they didn’t have the time or transportation. I never returned after that first year. I got a job and figured I would go back to college once I bought a car so that I could go home once in a while to avoid getting so homesick. That plan didn’t work out either. I ended up having a child and getting married. Three years later I had my second child, but never gave up the idea of going back to college.
Eleven years later, I decided it was time for me to return to college. I got an associate’s degree in medical imaging. I worked a total of two weeks as an x-ray technician before I admitted that I disliked the job and didn’t want to work another minute in that field. I had no idea what type of job I wanted to do, but knew I wanted to do more than factory work. At my husband’s suggestion, I went back to school and got an associate’s degree in environmental, health and safety. I found a job immediately even though it was the beginning of the recession and many people were getting laid-off. I really enjoyed this line of work but found it difficult to be taken seriously in this positon since I am a petite woman.
I am a firm believer that something good can come out of most situations. I had to attend monthly safety council meetings and it was during one of these meetings that I met a nurse who worked at a factory. This was my introduction to the occupational health nurse position. After researching the job duties and possible career advancements, I knew this was the job I had been seeking all along. I knew my former education and experiences would help not only with nursing school, but also working as an occupational health nurse.
I couldn’t convince my nursing instructors that my experience as a safety director in a factory would help me get a job as an occupational health nurse immediately after graduating as a nurse. I was informed that many positions require at least two years of experience in the emergency department or acute care. After researching many job openings listed during my time in nursing school, I discovered they were right. However, I wasn’t about to let that stop me. I knew the only people I had to convince I was qualified for the position were those on the hiring panel when I went for an interview. My persistence and persuasion paid off. One year after passing the state boards and getting my nursing license, I took a positon as an occupational health nurse.
I have been an occupational health nurse in a factory for one year. I knew this was my calling before I even worked in this field. During my interview, I revealed my intentions of taking online courses to get my Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree and then sitting for the boards to become a Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist (COHN-S). I am in the process of taking online courses to complete the RN to BSN degree. Once I have achieved this goal, I will begin to prepare for the COHN-S examination. I give my family partial credit for what I have accomplished. My diligence and determination was instilled in me during my childhood which wouldn’t have been possible if my family didn’t support me as I was growing up which has made me the strong person that I am today.
My musical story begins in the hills and countryside of Kentucky, where my family has lived since the early 1700’s. Bluegrass music was created in Kentucky, originally emerging from English and Scottish folk music. The Bluegrass State has almost entirely influenced my musical preferences. Listening to the bluegrass of my Papaw’s youth and the 70’s country my mom loves attracted me to country music. My heritage has played a major role in my musical influences.
Papaw was born in 1934 in Buckner, Kentucky. His father was a sharecropper, and as a result of his alcoholism, the family of fourteen had to migrate from farm to farm. His rural upbringing influenced his musical tastes, and he treasures bluegrass music to this day. He vacations in his camper to bluegrass festivals as far as West Virginia. Mamaw was born in 1930 in Webster, Kentucky. She grew up in a family shattered by an abusive father, amidst vicious arguments between the Catholics and Baptists. When her mother died in 1937, her father sent her and her siblings to live in an orphanage in Louisville as opposed to ceding the children to the Baptist relatives. Living among her peers, she gravitated to the music of her time, including Frank Sinatra and Conway Twitty.
My mother was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1968. Her family lived there for a short time while Papaw worked in a printing factory. He moved her and her six sisters back to Kentucky when my mom was four. My mom’s musical preferences derive from her rural upbringing. She appreciates old country, such as Waylon Jennings and Charlie Pride, as well as modern favorites with simple beats, including Ed Sheeran and Phillip Phillips. My father was born in Santa Ana, California, in 1965. He grew up in an instrument playing family; however, my dad’s hobbies differed. As a child, he enjoyed playing sports instead of instruments. Today, he listens to the music from his youth, including classic rock. His move to Kentucky in 1995 introduced him to country music. I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2000. Throughout my childhood, I established consistent musical preferences.
I listened to modern country music in my dad’s car and old country and gospel in my mom’s. I still listen to country music in the car because of these early influences. Also, my best friend, Emma Topp, and I spent our weekends together all through elementary school indulging Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Selena Gomez. I gained formal music experience through studying the violin from age 4 to 14. I played a conglomeration of Catholic hymns and fiddle music. While I didn’t relish listening to hymns while sitting in church, I enjoyed playing them; however, fiddle music was my favorite because I could play fast. I played hundreds of bluegrass songs for my Papaw. For Christmas when I was 9, my Uncle Don in California gave me a guitar.
I exhausted hours learning to play, but I never perfected it. Because my Uncle Don was so far away, I didn’t have the guidance to refine my playing, so I would still consider myself a beginner. Additionally, from a young age, I reveled in watching American Idol. This contributed to my taste in music because one of the runners up, Crystal Bowersox, is one of my favorite singers to this day. Her songs are soulful country, and this remains one of my favored categories of country music.
My musical influences also include my peers. From attending homecoming and prom, to cruising around town, I developed a taste for rap. Rap music ties our generation together with its catchy rhythms and sounds. My favorite rappers include Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and Post Malone. I also like pop music; however this genre is overplayed and I tire of it easily. As much as I adore rap, country music will always hold an exclusive place in my heart. Old country is soothing to me, especially when I am overwhelmed. Also, in my agriculture classes in high school, we played country music on the speakers as we worked. Country music epitomizes jubilant memories in my life. My favorite country singers are Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, and Carrie Underwood.
However, my current favorite song is Kentucky Bred by David Tucker. Several of the references in the song reflect who I am and where I come from, such as riding in a truck bed, going to church on Sundays, and Ale 8, which is a ginger ale drink only made in Kentucky. Kentucky culture has always been emulated in the types of music in which I listen. My papaw loves to take our family to bluegrass festivals, and bluegrass is always fiddling in his house. If my childhood was summarized into one song, it would be Rocky Top, by the Osborne Brothers. It is a song that is treasured among several generations. In addition, every year on the Kentucky Derby, we celebrate with a Derby party at our house, and all of our extended family and friends are in attendance. We all gather in our basement and sing My Old Kentucky Home simultaneously with the rest of the Bluegrass State.
Music is always playing in my life. While driving, in the shower, studying, or even doing laundry. Music motivates me, and I follow its rhythms and melodies as I work. Even when I listen to music for entertainment, my roommate, our friend, and I enjoy imagining fun dances to our favorite songs, especially with the Latin rhythms of Shakira. Childhood influences almost every aspect of a person’s life: their food preferences, good or bad habits, and of course, musical tastes. I was never exposed to electronic or heavy metal as a child, so I find these genres annoying today. I’ve listened to rap since middle school, and I cherish it to this day. However, country music was the sounds of my childhood, and it will always be my favorite as it represents my culture, my lifestyle, and ultimately who I am.