Saturday, August 28, 2004

dreams deferred

It was a beautiful day. During first period had one of those inspired class conversations that can never be planned but that just spontaneously erupts, this time after a reading of Zora Neale Hurtson's story, "John Redding Goes To Sea," and then Langston Hughes's poem, "What happens to a dream deferred?" We wrote in our journals. Four of us read aloud. The story that inspired us was about hungry young John Redding, dying to travel, to take the river to the end of the world, but his mother wouldn't ever approve, even cursed him and said if he leaves he should never come back, even to her grave. I wrote:

"S. made the connection by saying his father was like John Redding's mother, that he kept him back from life, and when his father did that, S. started being bad. Those were his words. How smart of him. I remember being 18 years old and leaving home. I remember standing in my driveway and I felt a breeze, I remember it, and the sun was bright, welcoming, inviting. I remember it. And mother was standing by the front door, and I was about to get in my car and drive away to my new apartment, free at last, and in her weeping she said, 'Why?' and I said because I have to live. And it was exactly like John Redding. I was like a stagnant pool, dead or dying. What blows my mind is that I knew to get out. I was not like John. I went anyway, even with my mother's curse on me. John could have, too. Should have. Why didn't he? Maybe a mother's curse on her son is worse than on a daughter. But still, what's the real power of a curse? and also, John said he didn't want to hurt his mother's feelings. But that's not his responsibility in this world, to protect his mother's feelings. He needs to run his own life."

Second and third periods weren't as turned on, which is okay. They wrote on looseleaf about dreams and how they often get deferred, and what we can do to protect them.
This year's theme that's emerging is about the American dream. It occurs to me that the natives of this land had their lives and dreams taken from them as did the Africans who became slaves. All so there could be an American dream.

Disposed of: an electric fryer and all its accessories

Melanie Plesh

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