Literary Perspectives on American Racial Inequality

An issue that consistently escapes my understanding is the complexity of racial disparity in the United States. The knowledge that the life expectancy in some low-income African American communities is lesser than parts of rural Algeria is a bit irreconcilable with my image of the U.S. as the world’s most powerful and free nation (questionable … Continue reading Literary Perspectives on American Racial Inequality

Unpacking East of Eden by John Steinbeck

"The Salinas Valley is in Northern California. It is a long narrow swale between two ranges of mountains, and the Salinas River winds and twists up the center until it falls at last into Monterey Bay. I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer—and what trees and seasons smelled like—how people looked and walked and smelled even. The memory of odors is very rich."

What I Learned from “Beautiful Boy” by David Sheff

When you live in a well-off community, it’s all too easy to ignore the reality of drug addiction. We look at the two thousand homeless addicts in Vancouver with contempt or with pity, but very rarely with understanding. Some vote for politicians who advocate harsh minimum sentencing for nonviolent drug offenders. Some comment that drug … Continue reading What I Learned from “Beautiful Boy” by David Sheff