The Message and the Medium in John Lewis’s “March”
The significance of March lies entirely in the recorded facts, in the story it tells. This is not solely because they have happened, but because of what it meant when people were inspired to engage in the collective actions that can be described as the Civil Rights Movement. This memoir is representative of one of the many forms used to spark change; by giving perspectives of an experience or story, people are given a chance to analyze what has happened and why–in a society that could severely benefit from reform. There has been changing, but the world has not moved far enough on the spectrum of societal behavior sufficient to drop tools, stop thinking and declare a complete job. There will not soon be an instance when speaking up is not necessary–the world still is made up of troubling affairs, and it must keep climbing out of the hole it has largely dug itself into, no matter if the issue has been addressed or not. Unfortunately, when there is potential for change, the world has often required much pressure to begin. The themes mentioned in March are some of the most valuable weapons for presenting, and speaking on behalf of, groups of people everywhere who can be equipped to devise and enforce blueprints for improvement.
When oppressed people wish to express their views freely, the opportunity has been largely belittled before minds have started thinking – and they may, in turn, be pointed in the direction of internal expression; wishing and dreaming, which are the down payment for a changed world. Wishing, in its general definition, is the act of desiring, and the reasons for this can range in benefit of an unimportant and selfish cause to a group of people. Concerning the topic of human rights, wishing and dreaming are essential, because, for a part of the population, happiness can be a precious rarity. For many people, disagreement with the way things are and a grave concern with them are nonexistent, but the world must acknowledge and be concerned with the faults in the world, big and small, and not ignore them simply because it’s not a relatable issue to the entire population. For people that are comfortable with their life’s path to pry open their box of concerns and welcome the world’s many issues, their hearts and minds must be convinced to change their way of thinking almost entirely. For instance, John Lewis’s experience in New York shifted his whole perspective of life and the country’s stance to open eyes standing before injustice, “After that trip, home never felt the same, and neither did I” (47). Storytelling is one of the many options and tools this world has put to use to present the fact that this world is not yet done changing and injustice cannot be declared dead.
Education and wealth, among other things, have for many years, and in many places, been ideal attributes that allow society to be distinct from person to person–an understandable and mostly innate tendency. For instance, John Lewis’s love of school was what opened his mind to opportunities in helping the course of history before he even realized it, until later when he looked back and realized his decisions, and the people that came into his life were all parts of his developing beliefs in justice (50). One problem that the world has fallen prey to when there is a tendency to distinct people revolves around the concepts of fairness and rights, and the world—since the beginnings of history—has failed in massive proportions to stay far from this type of evil. Fortunately, a benefit to this problem can be that once there has been a distinction made, fairness, rights, and ideas alike are much easier to analyze–consequently, the world is given a chance to spread these concepts to more groups of people and at a greater magnitude. When Lewis realizes there are injustice and unfairness, he has realized there is an opportunity for change–he subtly remarks that change has happened and will keep happening–“Looking back, it must’ve been the spirit of history taking hold of my life” (73). Lewis was able to speak on behalf of civil rights and the problems that occurred across the country because not only was he in the middle of all the affairs, and witnessed them, but he understood a need for change and wanted to be a part of it. The spirit of history describes the potential for a better world–every day there are opportunities that arise, for a bigger heart and a better mind, for the soul of the world as a whole and everyone has the power to be a part of steering history–and Lewis realized this along with everyone that acknowledged part of their purpose was to be inspired by the spirit of history.
Understanding the minds of those who push for and stand against reform are hard to unravel, in the same manner as any mind or mystery can prove to be, but analyzing events that include both groups are incredibly important to the world’s chances. How to change the minds of those on pedestals in the world has become an easier task over time as people wish more, dream more and become inspired by the spirit of history in greater amounts. It is extremely easy to fall in the hands of conformity, whether it be out of fear, lack of knowledge, or physical obstacles—using imagination, and shooting stars is matchlessly the beginning of protecting hearts and minds from losing their invaluable potential. Giving detailed explanations of one’s struggles helps those who don’t have the ability to understand they do not have to stand on the side, biding their own time and usefulness to inject themselves one way or another into fighting for the oppressed. March gives a chance for younger readers to realize that historical oppression can be told in different forms, with less words and more images, and that the spirit of history will often interfere in anybody’s unnecessary misery. The book can also open the doors for an older audience who may believe that historical experiences cannot be told with images, but with meticulousness and 12-point font. The authors of March acknowledged the importance of wishes, dreams and the spirit of history and applied them multiple times when portraying the story that John Lewis had to proclaim, letting readers recognize these too are effective weapons the world can recognize and adopt.
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