Paper 2 Conley2

Submitted By Wroys1U2
Words: 1348
Pages: 6

Throughout the book, Honky, the variety of institutions and social structures he faced, help shape Dalton Conley’s “commute” through life. These institutions and social structures include: family, religion, profession as well as community. Each of these, to me, seem to be sub categories to the main social structure this book seems to focus on which is class. Although the beginning of the book, where Conley is enrolled in his first school as well as the title of the book even, imply that “race” is the main theme, “class” seems to be the underlining subject matter that that guides Conley’s “commute” throughout life. In contrast to Anne Moody’s book, which focused mainly on the concept of race, Conley is of a different generation where one’s class, for the most part determines their position in life. Because of this, he comes to observe and realize, much like Moody with race, that the social structure of class is what governs society during that time period. The first social construct that had an impact on Conley’s journey through life was his family. He was born into a family of two middle class parents along with a younger sister. Amidst this institution of family, the social constructs of religion and profession ties in with family in the sense that they each build on the family’s “middle class” motif. Conley’s mom was a Jewish writer and his dad was an Irish painter; both occupations categorized their family as “middle class.” But out of everyone in the family, in my opinion, the person who seemed to have the largest influence on Conley, especially as a child, was his mother. It seemed as though every time he were to get into any type of trouble, it was his mother who was the one reprimanding him or dealing with the situation. For example, there was one instance where Conley was playing a popular game back then with his friends called “manhunt,” when he was supposed to be cleaning his room (pg. 57). When his mother finally found him, Conley states that “my mother immediately grabbed me by the ear and dragged me alongside her” (pg. 59). Another example is when his mother found out he stole candy from their luncheonette (pg. 94). In the time leading up to this event, Conley’s mom could tell he had been eating candy without him even admitting to it. He described his mom as having “powers of maternal ESP” in which she was able to interrogate and figure out the condition of her son on her own. Not long after that, she found he stole the candy from their luncheonette and took him there herself to apologize and pay for what he took. (pg. 94). Both of these examples brought me to the conclusion that Conley’s mom understood what class they were; middle class. Therefore she raised and disciplined him as most other middle class parents probably would their children. That being said, I would like to propose two different perspectives on this situation. One where Conley’s family could have been rich and part of the upper class, or poor and considered part of the lower class. If Conley came from a family that was rich, the thought of even stealing candy and the comic book from the store most likely would have not even come to mind because his parents would have probably made sure he always had enough money for spending. On the other hand, if he came from a family that was dirt poor, the act of stealing could have very well been a means of survival; steal what you need to survive. Ergo his mom most likely would not have had a problem with him committing the crime. But because they were considered a “middle class” family, the notion that not everything comes easy in life, (as it may for a upper class family) and you have to work and pay for what you want or need (perhaps different from what a lower class family think), was their family’s mentality. The other main social structure that had an impact on the way Conley commuted through life was community; the community in terms of the area he lived in, as well as his different school…