Sunday, February 7, 2016

Amazing Grace - By Jonathan Kozol


1. "Only seven of 800 children do not qualify for free school lunches, Five of those seven get reduced lunches because they are classified as only poor not destitute. The schools and houses surrounding St. Ann's more than justify the Grimness ...[of the area]"
This quote, which was said by the school principal for an elementary school in the south Bronx describes the extreme poverty that the neighborhood is stricken with. At the center of Mott Haven, where the school lies is a world in which the reputation is that of "ghetto" and unfortunate acts. In this particular quote the meaning behind it is much more than a school lunch but that of desperateness. Children are growing up in this community with no food except when they are supported through their school and the background in the streets where there school lies is that of Heroin and diseases such as HIV/AIDS. The community in this particular area is filled with relentlessness doom where children have to worry constantly about death of loved ones or possibly even themselves from disease or losing a loved one to a drug overdose. This quote also depicts the anxiety in which families encounter each day, some being whether they are going to eat, be able to keep warm, or maybe even a loved one being killed. Relating to the text this quote brings about the main idea and point of sullenness, despair, and one of "the deadlier places." The relevance it has to the text is that of showing the extreme hardships of just being able to live and wake up each and every day in the area of Mott Haven. This place is where people are getting killed through their own home windows and the uncertainty of waking up the next day. It is this place that is "one of the deadliest" not just in terms of disease and murder but lack of a improving life.    
2. "Clumping so many people, all with the same symptoms and problems, in one crowded place with nothin' they can grow on? Our children start to mourn themselves before their time."
Ultimately, this quote describes the lack of prosperity and growth. Clumps of people in one area who's social class is that of the very bottom as well as a slim to no chance to rise in society. A revelation such as this one exemplifies that these people have little or no movement from their current status. They are constantly being held down by the lack of opportunity as most families and parents of families don't even have a steady job and rely solely on support from the government with food stamps. Growing into this the children are realizing that their chances of making it out past the violence, diseases, drugs and other matters are bleak. This gives the children a sort of false hope to the point where positivity is pointless. The relevance this quote has to the text is the depiction of vast majority of people in the area who will make it nowhere. All in all it is a place where parks are called "drug parks" and people such as prostitutes and drug addicts are being supplied to support their unlawful habits just to protect them and the people around them from further deterioration. The big picture is to show that making it out of this area instead of being eaten by it is slim.  
3. Mrs. Washington referring to the hospital bed says "either you wait for hours until someone cleans the room or else you clean the room yourself."
In this case the quote describes a scene in which Mrs. Washington arrives at the hospital without any room to go into. She has the choice and knows that if she doesn't clean the room herself she would have to wait many hours just to be called in. This quote perfectly describes the environment in which these destitute people live in. They are having to clean their own hospital beds so they can get admitted and treated as well as deal with understaffed hospitals which means treatment could take further time. These are breeding grounds for further diseases without proper cleaning and the fear in which Mrs. Washington later presents is that of picking up an extra illness if she goes to the hospital. Interestingly enough Mrs. Washington is already dealing with health issues and that's how this quote ties to the article. Health issues, being a major concern in this article are important to understand and work your way through them but if constant exposure to harmful infections will lead to greater health concerns what is the point of trying to help the other to only later worsen. Central to the story is how the area is dealing with a very bad string of deaths due to diseases such as HIV/AIDs and this problem will only get worse if the continuation of poor habits persists.

Connection: This article closely connects to Nicholas Kristof's article Land of Limitations where impoverishment and lack of opportunity creates a realistic truth of doom. In this case an area that is ridden with drugs, no employment, prostitution and disease the chances of not being taken or consumed by one of these is unlikely. Little to no opportunities are presented to the youth as they have often come to accept their own fate such as Cliffie and hold on for the worst which is most likely yet to come.  

Point to share/discussion: I felt this article depicted that of an area that is under immense violence and crime and that gives youth children little to work with. The path for success is not present and the worrying of other factors within the city such as spread of disease or murder is of concern. What I find interesting is that in the article it talks about the same poverty but in rural Mississippi. It would be interesting to know even if life is similar is it as harsh as the city or quieter and not as much violence even though poor families exist? Is there a better opportunity to make life better and lead a more successful path in the same destitute class but just in a rural area?


  1. Good quote selection of the Kozol article which really shows the environment in which he observed. Great analysis of the quotes and connecting them to the true problems that certain areas around the world have.

  2. I really liked the quotes you chose from the article. They were great examples of the main point and you explained them very well. The connection to Kristof's article was very relevant. These children were born into a bad environment and they aren't given the same opportunities as children born in better neighborhoods.

  3. The first quote that you decided to write about was a real eye-opener. It's crazy to think that in a place with so much poverty, only 7 out of 800 children get free or reduced lunch. I completely agree with your points to share piece about how areas like that give the youth very little to work with.

  4. You did a great job of explaining the quotes and relating them back to Kristof's article. I like that you made that connection about how children barely have anything to work with to accomplish their dreams.

  5. I not only enjoyed the quotes you used for this post but I enjoyed the questions you asked as well regarding the rural area. I would be interested to see how greatly violence and poverty differs from city to city. Good job!

  6. I didn't read this article so I decided to look over some of the bloggers who had and you set this so nicely beginning with a statistical quote I was engaged right off of the bat. Not only did you go on to use really relevant quotes but you then broke them down and explained them very clearly. Thank You!

  7. The first quote that you pointed out is crazy because this still goes on in places like this. It is weird thinking that New York is a place full of fashion and money that the state can not even help out these communities. But overall you made awesome points! Really enjoyed reading this post. Great job!