Identity Loss Essay

Submitted By vanessaroberson95
Words: 1302
Pages: 6

Vanessa Roberson
Professor Glazier
English 110: College Writing I
October 4, 2013

Identity Loss

Sylvia and Dave are both static characters; their mindsets do not change throughout the stories. Insecurities, stubbornness, and wanting power— these are the qualities the characters go through in their stories and how it affects their lives. In the end, this moral problem will only lead them to failure in their selves, with Sylvia not absorbing the full knowledge she deserves, and no one being able to trust Dave. Neither Sylvia nor Dave came from rich backgrounds. Sylvia stated that she hated the way “The winos who cluttered up our parks and pissed on our handball walls and stank up our hallways and stairs” (Bambara 60). This quote indicates that she does not live in the cleanest neighborhood. Sylvia did not realize she was in poverty until Miss Moore “gets to the part about we all poor and live in the slums” (61). She does not say much more about her neighborhood because she is now ashamed of where she comes from. Dave brings a catalog home to which his mother suggests “we kin use it in the outhouse” (Wright 879). This shows that they are poor because they cannot afford to buy everyday items such as toilet paper, so they have to make do with what they have. “He scooped up peas and swallowed fat meat without chewing” (880). This is another example of how they are poor because they had to use their hands to eat. When Miss Moore takes the children to the FAO Schwarz toy store, Sylvia could not believe how much everything had cost. She did not even want to go inside. When her and Sugar got to the entrance “I kinda hang back...But what I got to be shamed about? Got as much right to go in as anybody” (Bambara 63). She felt out of place and angry, she did not have enough money to buy even one toy. However, she did not want to seem insecure about her financial disadvantages, so she acts bored. Dave has to work to help out his family. He wants to buy a gun for two dollars but his mother is worried he won’t have enough money for school clothes. Dave’s stubbornness comes out when he puts aside the fact that he is poor and still wants to buy the gun, even if that means he cannot pay for school clothes. Control is another battle they go through. Sylvia wants to feel like she is the leader and is better than everyone else. She addresses in the story that “Back in the days… me and Sugar were the only ones just right” (Bambara 60). Her and Sugar did not like Miss Moore, she clearly states that “we kinda hated her…” (60). She assumed that Miss Moore thought she was better and smarter than the children because she went to college. “I’m really hating this nappy-head bitch and her goddamn college degree” (60). In the beginning of the story, Dave appears to be running away from bullies. He gets upset and claims that “one of these days he was going to get a gun and practice shooting, then they couldn’t talk to him as though he were a little boy.” (Wright 878). He believes that with a gun he will gain more control and power. Whenever someone sounded like they were engaged in what Miss Moore was teaching, Sylvia would always have a negative comment. Just after Mercedes was talking about her stationary, Sylvia remarks “who wants to know about your smelly-ass stationary” (Bambara 62). If Sylvia didn’t want to learn anything, no one else could either. Towards the end of the lesson, Sugar announces “I don’t think all of us here put together eat in a year what that sailboat costs” (64). Sylvia was not pleased because her cousin speaks up and is interested in the lesson they’re learning. “I am disgusted with Sugar’s treachery” (65). It was also another reminder of how poor they were, which made here even more insecure. When Sylvia wants to ask a question she acts stubborn because “I wouldn’t give the bitch that satisfaction” (63). She does not want Miss Moore to think that she is uneducated and that she can’t think for herself. After talking