Difficulty For People To Change In The “A Place To Stand By Jimmy Santiago Baca & Mark Twain’s Story “Two Ways Of Seeing A River”

April 28, 2022 by Essay Writer

It is difficult for one to do something for all their life and then one day change what they have been doing all that time. It is difficult for people to change and once one gets to a certain age, change becomes harder and harder. Change can be seen in some forms of literature as discussed in A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca and Mark Twain’s story Two Ways of Seeing a River. In the book, the reader gets a deeper understanding of Jimmy and his story because of the first-person point of view. People do not change, they use their memories from their experiences to understand what to do in certain situations in new environments.

The beginning of this book demonstrates and exemplifies the idea that people do not change their ways, they can merely change the way they act. Jimmy told himself he was a changed person, and that he would not go back to drugs. He was clean for a while, but then shortly after seeing his ex-girlfriend, he relapsed. This further proves the point that people do not change once they are stuck in their ways. In some circumstances, it could be possible for one to change a small habit or problem. When it comes down to it people cannot change the way they are programmed.

Jimmy expresses his relapse when he turns to drugs after losing his brother again, “… I’d run out and hook up with the old crew. He would get in a fight, steal something, get busted and end up in jail again” (Baca Page 36). Jimmy exhibits the same actions that the outcome lands him in jail, over and over again. He just cannot help himself, he may never change. It is also possible to change how one is while they are still young and their personality is not developed yet. While they are still experiencing new things and not everything is decided yet. As one grows up, the relationships, and friendships that develop can play a key role in a developing personality and the characteristics of a person.

Later, in life, the relationships one has can affect how one chooses to act and how one chooses to spend time. In the book, Jimmy is a drastically better person when he is not with Theresa. He is sober, he is not getting in fights, and he is not smoking or partying. So why does he go back to her? This is largely in part of both of their toxic personality flaws that compliment and sustain each other. The meeting with his mother that abandoned him many years prior in chapter three makes Jimmy go out to do bad things, “…We hadn’t ever been in a hurry to have sex… When we finished, she wept quietly into a pillow as my hunger still raged”, (Baca 44-45). This graphic scene made it clear that this was time for a change from Theresa and Albuquerque.

Jimmy knows in the back of his mind that Theresa is not good for him, but their relationship justifies his sins of drinking, smoking, fighting, and partying. In, chapter three Jimmy can be found repeatedly telling himself and other people that he is quitting the party and drug scene and is going to get a real job. The first time he was caught with marijuana, he went to jail for exporting marijuana, and he swore as soon as he got out he would quit, but later in the chapter, he said “ I reminded him that we were just doing lightweight dealing to get back on our feet”, (Baca). After leaving jail on drug charges Jimmy does not change, but he then does something worse, “ We’ll give you a trial run- a simple, okay fifty pounds tomorrow”, (Baca Page 88). Instead, of going to Arizona and getting a fresh start and doing lightweight, Jimmy is now working for drug cartels selling fifty pounds. This repetitiveness in Jimmy’s behavior further proves the point that people do not change. No matter how much Jimmy told himself and everyone around him that he would stop, time after time he went back to his addictions.

In the Story with Twain, the reader reads about a boy who grew up in the Mississippi. The boy grew up loving the river and playing in it. When the boy was older and would have to work in the water he had to see the river in a hasty way. In the short story, the author says “No, the romance and beauty were all gone from the river”, (Twain page 28). The river had made the boy changed, but he was still the same boy. He just grew up and got responsibilities and he used his experience with the river to help with his new job.

Going on the notion that people cannot change, Jimmy is the main character that proves this in the book and especially chapter three. He tells himself he will not go back to Theresa, but he does not move on for a long time. He used his experience with Theresa and does not change in his new relationship. Although Jimmy may be able to temporarily change some of his actions or use his memories from past experiences to understand what to do in certain situations, the bottom line is that people do not change. In the Twain story the boy does not change, he simply got older and works on the river. He still uses his past experiences to help him in his job and his new experiences.


Read more