My biggest take away from A Long Way Gone is no matter how unpredictable life can get you need to have a strong mind and will to push through. Ishmael went from being a normal twelve year old who was naïve about the war to a stone cold killer at the age of fourteen. His childhood was stripped away from him and he had no way of stopping it. After being rehabilitated and finally becoming a "normal" person war struck again out of no where. It was during this spout of war he lost his uncle and was forced to flee the country for fear of being drug back in. One thing I will never forget about Ishmael is the fact that even when he lost everything and could've given up he didn't, he wanted to survive to tell his story so that his family could live on through him. Although The House On Mango Street was hard to connect to at first my biggest take away from it would have to be you can't change who you are or where you come from. Esperanza is a young girl that grew up on Mango Street which is in a not so nice neighborhood, where it's implied that people don't chase their dreams and just wind up living in the same area for the rest of their lives. But not Esperanza she has aspirations of being a writer and leaving the ghetto behind. Throughout the book she constantly fantasizes about what'd it be like to grow up as someone else who lived in a nice area and didn't have to bounce from place to place. But she is always faced with the brutal reality that Mango Street is apart of her. As Cisneros wrote "Like it or not you are Mango Street, and one day you'll come back too" (Cisneros 107). This stuck out to me because growing up I hated where I lived and I told myself I would stay away at all costs. But sometime I visit my old house and try to imagine how different I'd be if I never would've left.
The Hobart Shakespearians was a really interesting documentary. It really opened my eyes to how different the educational system is depending on where you live. It's a sad reality that in a big city the majority of teachers just care about students scoring well versus the students overall success. It's very easy for these teachers to give up and not believe in the students, but every once in a while you get a teacher like Rafe who genuinely does care about his students. He instills in everyone of his students that hard work and dedication will help them achieve any goal they have. Rafe even started a non profit in order to show his students that their hard work will pay off. At one point Rafe stated "You have to be the person you want the kids to be". This is a motto I believe everyone should live by because whether you realize it or not every decision you make can affect a child in some way.