• I enjoyed reading your blog Shereece. When we first started reading this book, I remember as a class we discussed the characteristic of Redemption and how he was the total opposite of what the word “Redemption” means. We also discussed if we thought Redemption would be a bad influence on Elvis. I think it is ironic how Redemption gave Elvis the…[Read more]

  • Hey Emely, I enjoyed reading your blog post and it had me reflecting on how people deal with violence in general. I think it is all about the environment you live in. I lived in New York all my life and although I know violence occurs everyday, I never seen a violent act happen in front of me. Elvis can only base his opinion on another place by…[Read more]

  • Hey Damaris, I liked how you talked about the contrast between Redemdption and Caesar. I feel like Redemption is Elvis’s “bad angel” on one shoulder and Ceaser is his “good angel” on the other. While reading the book, Ceaser reminds me of a walking book full of life quotes. I believe the quote ( “When a car hits a dog, its puppy is never far…[Read more]

  • Most people who don’t live in America always wish to come here. Their main goal when coming here is to provide a better life for their family. My grandmother was born and raised in Jamaica. She got married to my […]

    • Anastazia, I really enjoyed reading your post. You made a lot of important points one of which the contrast in the characters’ names. I think abani did a great job in coming up with the contrast of names for the characters. Elvis is a character that I can understand and how he is struggling to have a job. I agree with you when you say, “these lyrics are parallel to the feelings that Elvis must be feeling based on his circumstances”. It’s so interesting how abani fits everything in place with the characters and their surroundings along with their emotions. I’m glad you pointed this out in your post.

      Great post Anastazia !!

    • I really liked your blog post! I love how you shared with us some personal things about your grandmother and she got through life and comparing it to Abani’s, Graceland.
      I found it funny while reading Graceland and after reading your description of the father’s name, Sunday, because when i think of Sunday i think of a happy relaxing day. I really liked how you compared the two with how Elvis’ father is the complete opposite, he’s always just troubled and an alcoholic. I didnt think of that while reading but i found it was something to think about after reading your blog post.

      “The American culture was also used to compare and contrast the people ( Elvis and Elvis Presley) and the place ( Lagos and Graceland) to show how people who have the same name and live in the “same place” can live a very different life.”

      The way you ended this blog was great because i totally agreed with it. true, that just cause someone lives in the same place or has a same name, doesnt mean they both live successfully or the same life. Everybody has a different living condition and environment.

      I also really liked the video, do i think the Lagos city project is okay? Yeah maybe, i just felt really bad for the people who are trying to make a living to sell products, were having their things destroyed. One part yeah it’s their fault because its against the law but i also understand it is hard for them so they are trying to do anything to get others to buy from their store. The video is definitely something i was into because i never saw anything from Lagos, and to see how they live and what they go through makes me even more thankful for living in America and having the things i have.

      Overall, great job!

    • Hello Anastazia,

      I like the video you added along with your blog, it paints a clearer picture of the realities of Lagos. I can absolutely relate to the people in Lagos. Many countries in the world, especially those that are new independent from being colonized are still struggling to stand on their economic feet. These countries are marginalized and talking openly about their controversial issues is stigmatized, especially because it exposes their oppressors. Like we see in the video there are miles of slums juxtaposed with newer communities and building projects, this sheds direct light on the class system and the economic gap. Places like Lagos clearly show the after-effects of colonization, where the middle class suffers the most and the Country is left with the poor and the selected few that hold all the power and wealth.

    • Hey Anastazia, I really enjoyed your post because you payed attention to such details. I really liked how you pointed out the Bob Marley song Elvis is listening to in the beginning. I think the lyrics represent exactly how Elvis and the rest of the civilians in Lagos feel. The place Elvis once knew is no longer and he feels trapped in a place of loss opportunities. Your attention to the novel’s title was also something I, too had wondered about. The fact that Graceland is a luxurious mansion is ironic because the village of Lagos is completely the opposite. I also found Redemtion to be an ironic name as well because he is the antagonist of the novel. While he strives to live a better life outside Lago, he chooses the wrong path such as becoming a criminal to achieve his goal of moving to the US. You state that Abani “purposely gave this character opposite characteristics of what his name means to show the realities of living in Lagos and how it shapes people.” I find this to be incredibly interesting that Abani would do that because it creates a more authentic preception of how the characters feel about their living circumstance. Providing names of characters that are the opposite of who they are also allows us, as readers to be able to truly and more deeply connect with each characters’ emotions.

    • This was a great video to share with the class because in ” Graceland” the fictional Lagos and it’s characters are all trying to adapt to a city that is becoming more globalized and modern, which mirrors the Lagos that we see in this video with it’s paramilitary measures to shut down illegal businesses and criminal activity. It’s interesting when you say “Abani is using the story of Elvis and all the other characters, as a self memoir to reflect on the realities that he experienced living in Lagos, Nigeria and how life in Lagos was and still is going unnoticed.” I then think about the Lagos project and think while at the same time they are doing good for their communities, they cannot completely eliminate the problem by displacing it’s citizens and destroying their property. That just leads to a cyclical hatred of authority and breeds more criminality.

    • Hey Anastazia,
      I loved your blog, especially the part where you use your definition of “Sunday” and Chris Abani’s character Sunday to show the difference of both representations. I can agree with your definition of Sunday because that’s how I was taught to spend my Sundays. It’s always a happy day where you give thanks to god and sit down to have dinner with your family mostly after church. I didn’t notice that significant part where Elvis mom gives her definition of redemption however, I’m glad you pointed that out. Elvis is in a point in his life where he’s confused and wants to make something of himself but he has no idea how. He wants to be saved from his misery because he was once living a good life to now he’s living in poverty.

    • Hi Anastasia, great post!

      Telling us about the similarities between the story of your grandmother and Elvis was a great way to start your post. I like how you interpret the importance of the characters names and Elvis and the title Graceland and America in your post. I think it is very significant to understand this novel and the story Chris Abani has written for us. What stuck out most to me was the character traits of the characters in comparison to their names. Besides the characters you mentioned, Innocence and Comfort also caught my attention. Innocence is not very innocent, he is a schemer and Comfort who is Elvis’ stepmother is more like an evil stepmother. Due to Comfort not being maternal, Elvis finds difficulty in thinking of Comfort has his stepmother.

    • Hi Anastazia,
      I love the connection you drew in regards to the contrast of the unusual names of the characters and the actual meaning of the names. Like Shareece, my eye didn’t catch Elvis’ mom defining Redemption, so I appreciate that note. I think this obvious juxtaposition of the names, Elvis with the Elvis Presley, one growing up in the slums and one a famous man, specifically the King of Rock and Roll. And Graceland, Elvis Presley’s mansion home, an obvious distinction of the living conditions of the Graceland that is vividly described in the early section of the book; everything is old, rusty, molded, and wet. Great connection Anastazia, it is an important detail in the book, essentially in the first pages.

    • I like the connection that you made between your grandmother and the author. I would have liked to see your sentence, “in the book Graceland by Chris Abani Elvis is trying to get away from his life in Lagos, Nigeria of a poverty stricken environment”. Reading it this way could have helped to attract your connection in a more swift direction.
      “I think there is two-” I suggest trading ‘is’ with ‘are’.
      “I think Beatrice is trying to get Elvis to understand that there is always time to redeem who you are”. I understand how the novel ties into religion, but this response to the quote that you have raises question for me. What if Beatrice was trying to desensitize the situation of a person being murdered?

      Great blog post.

    • I don’t think I have anything in common with any of the characters. Although I can’t relate to them, I did enjoy your post! The one character you didn’t mention was Comfort, clearly she is not the kind of comfort one would expect. Comfort is this cruel woman, who makes life hard for Elvis.
      After watching the video I had mixed feelings. I understand that there are act people who wish to change Lagos, improve their city by, removing all the filth and unwanted crime. However, as this push for the ”ideal Lagos” is up and running, there are lives being affected. I am referring to those who live in the beach, to those who make their living in the streets, it is hard to survive Lagos with so little. As I said, mixed feelings about the project. I don’t think I can answer on what this project means to me, why? For starters I am not an indigenous of Lagos, I can’t assume I know what it must mean to the people of Lagos. Though I do sympathize with the people who are affected with the change.

  • Stop-and-Frisk is another way of allowing police officers to overuse their power and make it acceptable while doing so. When I was reading this section about Stop-and-Frisk, the first thing that came to mind is how young black or Latino men get stopped everyday in the train station because police are regard to do “random” bag checks. The police…[Read more]

  • Hey Dana, I really enjoyed reading your blog post and I understand how you feel about people questioning your ethnicity just because you have different physical features. I have a cousin who is Guyanese, Chinese and Jamaican. Her last name is Wong and people always say that she doesn’t look “Chinese” enough to have that last name. Some people…[Read more]

  • Hey , Sharmin. I enjoyed reading your blog post. The reference you made about the “you” is ver true. The “you” creates a universal few that anyone who is reading this story can relate to the events that are being discussed. To answer one of your discussion question , I think I would react very differently if I was the mother of the child. For the…[Read more]

  • According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Reparations means: “ something that is done or given as a way of correcting a mistake”. If I had to explain what is the meaning of reparations is to my 13 year old sis […]

    • There are many reparations that could be compensated for. Sometimes they are being mistreated because of stigma. They say learn from the past so that it won’t happen in the future. Being that stigma is not favored other chances become harder to achieve. The past is something we learn from and hope that we can progress from it. African- Americans weren’t treated fairly when slavery and sharecropping was taking place. Housing market issues might be a little different from when that was taken place. Having a home is great but taking care of that home is valued more because of the different ideas that come when you say I have this home and I’ve been having it for some time. It shows perseverance. “In Cold War America, home ownership was seen as a means of instilling patriotism, and as a civilizing and anti-radical force.” No I do not think the housing market issues African-Americans experienced is similar to the way they were feeling during slavery and being sharecroppers.

    • “ To celebrate freedom and democracy while forgetting America’s origins in a slavery economy is patriotism a la carte” … hands down probably one of the best ways I’ve seen to describe American patriotism in any of my classes this semester. It’s such an accurate portrayal of how people choose to think of American democracy, the ability to celebrate something without acknowledging its how it came to be or the people in which helped (if not totally) created it. I think you had a really cool approach to introducing this article by asking yourself if your 13-year-old sister wanted to know more about this topic how could you explain it, and using Rhianna was really clever. I like the fact that you were able to bring a comedic element to a topic so heavy, this made it easier to read and for someone who maybe hasn’t read the Coates piece easier to understand. Let’s not forget about the chicken nuggets, because seriously what’s any meal at McDonald’s without the fries? The fries are everything, literally. To answer your questions, I don’t think African Americans need to focus on or request reparations, it’s a mute topic. It will never happen, we can forget the 40 acres and mule it is so past due to the government couldn’t even afford to pay us with all the interest compounded over the years. I think what would be a type of reparation is giving African Americans fair and equal opportunities or implement programs that help disenfranchised or impoverished blacks the ability to own homes, get better jobs, free day care, health care and receive a free education (or bring back affirmative action) … you know, the basics. Also to address your second question, I don’t think there is any comparison to slavery … not the housing market, or sharecropping. Slavery is the most inhuman horrific thing that can be done to any person especially the kind of violence and suffering endured by black slaves. BUT yes, the feeling of the odds being stacked against you no matter how hard you try, how many jobs you work or what you do is never enough.

    • African Americans during both slavery and the civil rights movement NEVER had FREEDOM. The definition of FREEDOM is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” Furthermore I would like to answer your second question. I would say it’s the housing market issue is Same thing as being a slave. African Americans, past oppressors may have “Freed” them from lynching, beatings, rape, and the list goes on, however they would make new laws to keep black people oppressed. You’re a slave to a man that believes that because of your skin color he can take away what is rightfully yours, which is your home because of an illigitmate contract. You’re a slave to a system that has already deemed you unfit because of the color of your skin therefore you get No reparations just more injustice. As you said, (which I do agree) “To keep a slave based economy, you have to Find a way to control the oppressed.” By controlling the housing market for African Americans and making it hard to live, white contractors were controlling the lives of black People, once again. Slaves we’re controlled by masters. There was a restraint on what a Slave could do and say without the permission of their master. There is a similiar restraint with housing for African Americans because these white contractors had them under control.

    • While you can see a correlation between the housing market issue of redlining neighborhoods in chicago and illegitimate mortgage contracts and sharecropping for African Americans, I do not believe Africans Americans before and after slavery felt the same way. It was a hard battle for Clyde Ross and other African Americans to fight for justice in how they were wronged, at least they had the opportunity to fight for it. Slaves could not fight back against their owners. Their voices did not exist to express how they were being wronged. I do agree that both illegitimate mortgages contracts and sharecropping do have similarities in they way that they property did not really belong to African Americans and get be revoked at any moment in time. I really liked when you said, “By controlling the oppressed you create a land that that seems to be free on the outside but when you dissect it, it is being controlled to make the powerful people more powerful and the weaker people more weaker ( aka African-Americans)”. You can find the truth of with sharecropping, what occurred in Chicago, the poll tax, and much more.

  • Hey Dana, I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I especially liked the video you picked and thought it was pretty funny because I make those same mistakes sometimes when I sing some of those songs. I also liked your analysis on the word veil. When you stated that ” writing within a veil means writing what you choose to write about but you still…[Read more]

  • Hey Jasmina, I enjoyed reading your blog post. Having a play televised back in 2004 was a new and innovated idea. The person who played Walter Lee in this adoptation was a known rapper in the 1990s and the early 2000’s. Sean Combs playing Walter Lee shows the barriers that he broke for black men who didn’t have any background in acting. He also…[Read more]

  • The article I choose to annotate is a newspaper article called “ in case you forgot, ‘ Raisin’ will remind you: Life ain’t easy” by Thomas Mulloy from Call & Post, in Cleveland, Ohio. The production of the play th […]

    • I like the connection you made between Thomas Mulloy’s phrase, “Dream larger” and Barack Obama’s campaign slogan, “Yes we can”. You captured the essence of the historical moment by stating that the Younger family can be viewed as a representation for Americans living then and now, for we all face hardships in our time.

  • Anastazia commented on the post, A STAND, on the site The Arts of Dissent 6 months, 3 weeks ago

    Hey Resha, I really liked the way your blog post flowed together. I think the song you picked and the poem you wrote really captures what Robin Kelley was expressing in his book. For example, when I listened to the song by Pharrell, one particular line stuck out to me. In the song he says ” when man recognizes”. My interpretation of this line is…[Read more]

  • Hey Nakia, I agree with the statement that Mrs Johnson doesn’t fit under Mama and Benetha. I think Mrs. Johnson would fit under the same category as George. While in this scene, Mama and Benetha could be under the same category because they both stand against assimilationists. For instance, when George was talking to Benetha, you can notice the…[Read more]

  • Anastazia commented on the post, Act 2: Scene 1, on the site The Arts of Dissent 7 months ago

    Hey Julia, I loved how you discussed the cultural difference between the characters. I feel like the idea of assimilation is what America is all about Back in those times being black wasn’t something that was considered to be “cool” so people had to find ways to fit in by oppressing there own culture. That’s why being black and wealthy during…[Read more]

  • In my opinion, I think everyone has had dreams or goals they wanted to achieve but continued to put it off for many reasons. Sometimes I put off goals that I want to achieve because I talk myself out of being able to accomplish it. ( Mind of matter! )

    But in regards to the play, Bennie is one character that i just roll my eyes every time I see…[Read more]

  • Hey Christian, you mentiond a lot of great points that occurred in this last two acts. You made a statement about Prospero giving Ariel and Caliban their freedom at the end of the play. Yes, I agree that he gave Ariel his freedom but from my interpretation of the play, what happen to Caliban was that he got left on the island because Prospero knew…[Read more]

  • First off let me say, that I loved your poem. I am taking a creative writing class and I been writing my own poetry and learning to appreciate poetry more. . but let’s get back to the Tempest. .

    I found it interesting how you brought up the importance of the music. When I read this play previously, it was a article ( not sure who by or the…[Read more]

  • I found the relationship between Prospero and Caliban, and Prospero and Ariel to be interesting as well. One of your discussions questions made me really thing about Caliban being a moral character. In my opinion, I feel like Caliban is a moral character because his character traits illustrates a person who became like this because of his…[Read more]

  • I love your analysis of Prospero’s intentions in act 1 and act 2. I feel like Prospero uses Ariel’s “art” to control Caliban but uses promises to control Ariel. It’s unfortunate that Ariel doesn’t see that he is the one with the absolute power and Prospero is the one controlling him.

    To briefly answer your discussion question about trusting…[Read more]

  • Hey Cassandra ! First off let me say that I actually went back a read your first few words in Obama’s voice but I thought it was pretty cool that we have the goal of being be a principal in common. So I guess we both dream big. I think the photo you picked to describe ” the arts of Dissent” describes this phrase perfectly. Being a women I think…[Read more]

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