Accepting One's Self: "Black Hair" Essay

Accepting One's Self: "Black Hair" Essay

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Life is a learning lesson that we all have to experience. In the story "Black Hair" by Gary Soto, the main character learns more than he bargained for. The theme of the story is not completely clear until a deeper look is given. It is easy to understand the story, but the words and symbols play a major role in making this short story have a deep meaning. There are many different ways that one can perceive this story's theme, but it all depends on how one can relate with it. The central theme is how society classifies people into categories in relation to their work. One sub-theme that is apparent, but not obvious, is that one cannot change who they are, and should accept themselves. Also, Soto touches on how the past reflects the future. There are some symbols that relate to the theme of how the main character learns to accept himself, and how he relates back to the past.

The main character goes out, unconsciously, to search for the "American dream." He wants a loving family that does not fight with one another. One evening he walks down a suburban street and watches families interact and desires that love and bond. He remembers his mother crying and his stepfather yelling and believes them to be cruel. "They're cruel, I thought, and warned myself that I should never forgive them. How could they do this to me"(91). He realizes through the arguing family he is staying with, that maybe there is no such thing as the "American dream", and that all families have problems.

When he looks through the Van Deusens daughter's stuff, he begins to have some

sort of obsession with her. He dreams that she falls in love with him. In reality he does not have feelings for her at all; he wants to be like her. He loves the idea of her and ...


... middle of paper ...


... job. He realizes that his past was not as difficult as current place in life.

The story "Black Hair," touches upon many issues, and the main character learns a lot about himself. He learns how to accept himself and accept his past. He learns that the "American dream" is falsified and has yet to find a person actually living it. He gains

knowledge about hard work and how, for some, it never pays off. He learns that he can not "rub away" his past, and accepts it. He also learns that his past life was not as bad as he thought, compared to working at the factory. In our lives, we always strive for more. It never seems like we have enough. But by reading this short story, we too can learn the same lesson as the main character did; our lives are not that bad, and things could get worse.

Works Cited

Soto, Gary. "Black Hair." No other information provided.

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