Picking Cotton

A Study of the Theme of Profiling in Jennifer Thompson Cannino, Erin Torneo and Ronald Cotton’s Memoir Picking Cotton

June 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

As humans our minds tend to form thoughts based on different aspects towards people without having facts to back them up. It is purely a human tendency sometimes even uncontrollable. This is also known as profiling. Profiling can be based off many things, some for example are age, culture, gender, and race. Almost anything that can set one apart from another sets up the perfect stage for profiling. Profiling or any type of personal judgement in the mind is pure human performance, but said aloud or can cause much harm towards others. Profiling is extremely harmful outside the personal boundaries. Picking Cotton, is a great example of profiling. Its a meaningful story that shows profiling through different aspects. Though sometimes profiling others can simply lead to an argument or fight, this story leads to almost ruining someone’s life. Profiling has negative side effects for all involved, Picking Cotton clearly shows how profiling Ronald Cotton had a major impact on himself, his family, and even the women profiling him, Jennifer Thompson and Mary Reynolds. (As evident by the tragedy of Ronald Cotton’s story, it is imperative that society understands the harmful consequences of profiling a human being based on —, to avoid wrongfully punishing or stereotyping innocent people.) (jennifer and ronald) (Cannino et. al 33).

Profiling is simply a term defined as the recording and analysis of a person’s psychological and behavioral characteristics, sometimes this is done individually or by placing people in invisible groups. Picking Cotton is most definitely a novel written based off profiling. There is only one road that profiling can be used in good manners. That is purely using good judgement in your mind to profile certain people to test if they are either true friends or people you really want. When in situations where you meet new people and you have to make quick judgements on if they are safe to be around or spend time with; that is when profiling skills come into excellent use. Other than that path, profiling is extremely harmful to all who are involved. Media plays a major role influencing many young adults who take part in watching and listening to profile races and gender among other invisible categories. (because they should not be there in the first place) Growing up under two people’s influence for 18 years plays a huge part in the way you profile invisible groups. For example if you were to grow up under parents who were racists, that alone would hugely impact your view towards other races. Some homes force their children to believe what they themselves believe, while others let the children have the freedom to choose for themselves. Either way, the world you grow up in as a child leaves much residue on how your beliefs are formed as you start your adult life. Ronald Cotton was labeled as an African America male in his community due to his negative reputation he built himself growing up.

Personally I have profiled others and I have been profiled. It is hurtful judgement that no one should ever have to deal with. Coming from an overseas perspective straight to an American perspective was a huge transition for me. I tried to be the “American” that I saw all around me, but inside I was the African I grew up as. Many people profiled me as a poor African girl. To make things worse, my parents are missionaries so that only added goody goody two shoes to my list. Yes, I did grow up in Africa and yes I am the daughter of missionaries, but that does not give you the right to profile me as a Christian, poor, African girl. I want people to look at the real me, not just automatically make assumptions due to invisible categories made. When I first moved back, I went in the direction of not telling anyone about where I was from or the family I grew u in, just to see what would happen. People tend to be more intrigued when I let them know where I am from. When they were blind to the fact that I am from Africa they were not as easily intrigued with befriending me, once their eyes were opened they automatically clung to me. It was almost sad to realize that being from Africa helped with the amount of friends I had. When people put me in the goody two shoes category I turned to a rebellion stage just to prove I would not be what they categorized me as. Once they categorized me as a wild child, I again turned back to the goody two shoes. People also profiled me as poor, due to the fact that I attended a name brand school, but instead I wore used or passed down clothing. When I was labeled poor, I automatically jumped to wanting to be the opposite. Realizing that I did not come from a rich enough family to afford name brand I switched to finding used name brand clothing. I was all over the place when I moved here back in 7th grade. Thankfully with those experiences this time around I am a much more grounded and independent person.

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How Rape, Its Impact And Forgiveness Is Portrayed And Remission In Jennifer Thompson-Canino’s, Ronald Cotton And Erin Torneo Memoir Picking Cotton

June 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

It seems to me, that stories of rape, or kidnapping, or anythign else that may involve someone being hurt were quite interesting. I would say that “Picking Cotton” was the same. One of my greatest fears involves me getting kidnapped, or held against my will and forced to do something I ordinarrily would not. In “Picking Cotton” I was not expecting the main character, Jennifer to not have been hurt, first off; and second to be a college student. When i found out that Jennifer, not only was woken up to a strange man, and raped; but she was a college student, I was not all that excited to be living out on my own. It’s not the best thing to read about when it’s just about to be your first year away from home. Welcome to College everyone, this sort of stuff does happen! It was a big wake up call, for me, to be more aware of dangers of being away from a sheltered life, back at home.

Jennifer Thompson wrote “Picking Cotton” in a different sort of way. She first told the story, in the eyes on Jennifer. How things looked on her point of view, exactly how things happened on the night of her rape. The next chapter was told in the view of Ronald Cotton, the suspect. Writing this book in this pattern gave each character a turn to show their side of the story. I enjoyed being able to see both how Jennifer whent through the rape and questioning; and being able to see what actually happened with Cotton. This gave both, Jennifer and Cotton, a turn to tell their story. That way we couldn’t veiw our opinions strictly to one or the other. Jennifer and Ron were able to tell thier individual point of view of the story. They were able to share each of their stories differently, yet completely together.

This story was quite descriptive when it came to what actually happened, both during the rape and what happened after the rape. I believe Jennifer wanted to give us a strong sense of what exactly happened to her. Knowing what had happened in such a detailed point of view gave the reader an opportunity to truely understand how Jennifer felt during the frightful event. How dirty, scared, and helpless she felt; and gave us the opportunity to feel what the way she did. Even though Jennifer felt scared, and feared her perpetrator; she remained strong and fairly calm while trying to get the rapist on her good side. Seeing how her distracting of him kept her safe and alive is quite inspiring. In that position I know it would be very difficult to remain calm and not scream my head off while kicking or trying to “fight” my attacker. Jennifer has given me a better example on how i could better handle a situation like hers.

In “Picking Cotton” Ronald Cotton; after 11 years in prison, came to forgive Jennifer after that one polive line-up that forever would change his life. This story’s ability to show one man’s complete forgiveness is quite inspiring. It would be hard for me to completely understand how after 11 years of your life taken from you, you can simply let go so easily. I am a big grudge holder, and I know it would take some time to forgive someone, who had taken a huge chunk of my life away from me; especially if i did not deserve the punishment. Overall, this story was suspensful, emotional, and very inspiring. It is a story I could really take a lesson on, although you may never forget, forgiveness is the better road to take. You could build more friendships, and live a happier life of you simply forgave ohers for mistakes made. Ronald Cotton forgave, and gained a life long friend. It’s up to you to decide if you want to live a life full anger and grudges, or learn to let go and live without that burden, you decide.

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Picking Cotton’s Book Report: Jennifer Thompson-cannino, Erin Torneo and Ronald Cotton

June 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the prologue of Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, Jennifer was at her daughters’ soccer game while her husband and son was out bonding. While she was at the game, Ronald and his daughter Raven showed up to watch Brittany’s game and to hang out with Jennifer.

In chapter one, Jennifer and Paul, her boyfriend at the time, had just got back from Pauls’ friends’ party where Jennifer started getting a headache behind her eyes. Since she wasn’t feeling well, Paul got her a glass of water and some aspirin and rubbed her back until she fell asleep. Paul slipped out while Jennifer was sleeping. A few hours after he left Jennifer woke up to the sound of feet shuffling. She looked around and didn’t see anything so she went back to sleep. Afterwards, she felt something gaze her arm. She covered her head then looked over next to her night stand and seen the top of someone’s head. She asked who was there. A man then sprung up and sat on her legs and held a knife to her neck. She was then raped at knifepoint.

In chapter two Jennifer left her apartment in Burlington and went to stay with her mom in Grandfather Mountain for a while. It was three days after her rape when the Burlington police called to have Jennifer come look at some pictures. Detective Gauldin layed down six photos of black males. “The pictures were dealt like card: six on top and six on the bottom.” Jennifer was told to take her time and study each picture carefully. She was able to pick which one she was positive was her rapist. Eleven days after her assault, Jennifer was called in to do a line up. There were seven guys lined up in front of her. She was told that her rapist may or may not be one of them. They went through the process of identification, then she was able to identify number five as her rapist. Afterwards Detective Gauldin told her that it was the same guy she has picked from the photos.

Through the process I was wandering why she just laid there when her rapist was sitting on her. Why didn’t she fight back? Why didn’t she leave to get help sooner? I also don’t understand why Paul asked her if she liked being raped. Why would anyone like being raped? It’s all just a terrifying process. I don’t know how she could remain so calm. I would be terrified if this had happened to me.

So far I really like this book. It’s interesting and it makes you want to read more when you put it down. I also came to the conclusion that Paul is a dick. He’s rude and conniving.

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Depiction Of Poverty In Eugenia Collier’s Marigolds And Thomas Hart Benton’s Cotton Pickers

June 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

The short story ‘Marigolds’ by Eugenia Collier, explores the impact of poverty from the Great Depression not only in the lives of the adult, but also in the children. The confusion of hopelessness and fear of there future is explored throughout the story. During the Great Depression much artwork and literature reflected these concerns of the working class. One piece that stands out is ‘Cotton Pickers,’ by Thomas Hart Benton. The oil painting depicts a similar setting to that of the short story with its depiction of a poverty stricken area, and the feelings both works emit.

When the narrator, Lizabeth, recalls her childhood she remembers her lack of understanding the poverty that surrounded her. The narrator describes her town’s living and financial situation as being, ‘just as hungry and ill-clad as we were’ (Collier). This shows the wide extent in which their poverty stretched and their lack of communication with people from another place. Benton’s painting also touches on the poverty of African-Americans during the time of the Great Depression. The artist shows a young child sleeping under a makeshift tent as, most likely, his mother works throughout the day. The artist does this to show how, during this time, families had to work long and hard hours to give for their children. The vast area of farmland Benton depicts, reflects the idea that Lizabeth conveys when she says that poverty was all she knew. The similar settings of improvershipment in both works allow for a better understanding of th lives of the African-Americans during th Great Depression.

The short story also touches on the struggles Lizabeth’s family endured to keep up income and give for their family. Her mother ‘works well into the evening’ (Collier), and her father struggles to find a job. Although the artwork depicts people with a job, Benton does well in showing the excruciating conditions they work in. This painting gives insight into what Lizabeth’s mother could have had to deal with on a daily basis to give for her family. The huge plantations they had to pick from in the heat with only the help of a few horses to carry large loads of cotton back to the owner, were everyday struggles these African-American workers had to deal with. Both pieces show the struggles workers had to go through to stay alive during the Great Depression. The author of ‘Marigolds’ and the artist of the ‘Cotton Pickers’ both show the realities if African-Americans during the Great Depression. While Collier concentrated on the inner struggle of Lizabeth, Benton shows the outer struggles of the workers. Despite this contrast, both depict the strength the poor working class maintained in the mentally tiring state of the Great Depression.

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