Atrocities Exposed in Amazing Grace

Atrocities Exposed in Amazing Grace

Length: 1049 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Atrocities Exposed in Amazing Grace       

god bless mommy. god bless nanny.
god, don't punish me because I'm black.

The above is an excerpt of a prayer taken from one of the saddest, most disheartening books I've ever read. Jonathon Kozol based this book on a neighborhood in the South Bronx, called Mott Haven. Mott Haven happens to be not only the poorest district in New York, but possibly in the whole United States. Of the 48,000 living in this broken down, rat-infested neighborhood, two thirds are hispanic, one third is black and thirty-five percent are children. Not only is Mott Haven one of the poorest places, it is also one of the most racially segregated.

The book itself is an on-going dialogue between Kozol and the neighborhoods residents, interjected every so often with thoughts from Kozol. He covers a spectrum of topics from AIDS, drug addiction, prostitution, crime, poorly run and funded schools, white flight from schools to over-crowded hospitals and the amazing faith in religion and God that many of these people have.

Kozol makes several trips to Mott Haven and speaks with a myriad of people, children and adults alike. For instance, Kozol develops a rapport with a twelve year old hispanic boy named Anthony. Anthony is clever and loves to write stories. Some day he hopes to become a novelist. He also has a great faith in God. He makes some very poignant remarks pertaining to his neighborhood and life in general. For example, one day Kozol and Anthony are discussing if anyone in the neighborhood is truly happy and Kozol pints out that some of the children seem cheerful playing in the school playgrounds. Anthony quickly points out that cheerful and happy are not the same. Then as they are walking, Anthony stops and waves his hand around him in the neighborhood. Then he asks, "Would you be happy if you had to live here?" The only answer can be, NO.

Kozol also speaks to many of the church leaders in the different communities of the South Bronx. In particular, he speaks often to Reverend Overall, known as Mother Martha to Anthony and the other children that attend her church. What is most amazing about Rev. Overall is the fact that she gave up a productive career as a lawyer to serve the people in the poorest community in America.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Atrocities Exposed in Amazing Grace." 11 Dec 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace Essay

- Today's world is filled with both great tragedy and abundant joy. In a densely populated metropolis like New York City, on a quick walk down a street you encounter homeless people walking among the most prosperous. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten the prosperous person will trudge straight past the one in need without a second thought. A serious problem arises when this happens continually. The problem worsens when you enter a different neighborhood and the well-to-do are far from sight. Many neighborhoods are inhabited only by the most hopeless of poverty - ridden people while others downtown or across the park do not care, or are glad to be separated from them....   [tags: Jonathan Kozol, Amazing Grace]

Research Papers
847 words (2.4 pages)

Free Essays - Amazing Grace

- Within the next few pages here I intend to address two issues. First I will try to give a personal review of what I saw this book to hold, and second I will try explain the revelence which this book has to the field of Public Administration. First try to picture children in a slum where the squalor in their homes is just as bad as that which is in the streets. Where prostitution is rampant, thievery a common place and murder and death a daily occurrence. Crack-cocaine and heroin are sold in corner markets, and the dead eyes of men and women wandering about aimlessly in the streets of Mott Haven are all to common., Their bodies riddled with disease, disease which seems to control the neighbor...   [tags: Amazing Grace Essays]

Free Essays
1065 words (3 pages)

Essay on Amazing Grace Book Review

- Amazing Grace Book Review My reaction to the book was very shocking. I like the book very much and thought it was very informative. It kept me at the edge of my seat wanting to read on and learn more. It was amazing to learn about how bad living conditions are in some neighborhoods. It was shocking to hear about some things that go on in neighborhoods like the Bronx and how people are treated....   [tags: Amazing Grace Book Report]

Free Essays
1130 words (3.2 pages)

Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace Essay

- Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace        While reading Amazing Grace, one is unable to escape the seemingly endless tales of hardship and pain. The setting behind this gripping story is the South Bronx of New York City, with the main focus on the Mott Haven housing project and its surrounding neighborhood. Here black and Hispanic families try to cope with the disparity that surrounds them. Mott Haven is a place where children must place in the hallways of the building, because playing outside is to much of a risk....   [tags: Amazing Grace Essays Jonathan Kozol Papers]

Research Papers
1565 words (4.5 pages)

Amazing Grace Essay

- Amazing Grace As part of the summer reading assignment this year, I read the book Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol.  In this documentary-style book, he told about the horrible yet completely realistic conditions of the most poor, rundown neighborhoods and districts in New York City.  Kozol wrote the book for the purpose of telling the stories of the children who lived in these parts of the city.  He dedicated his work to those children and it was his goal to inform readers that slums were in fact in existence and the children who resided there did not deserve to live in such a poverty-stricken area.  The question "Why should their childhood be different from others across t...   [tags: Amazing Grace Essays]

Free Essays
809 words (2.3 pages)

Amazing Grace Essay

- Using the themes we have examined in this course discuss the situation of the children in Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace. Who defines them as 'other'. How. What makes them feel like 'nobodies'. What makes them feel like 'somebodies'. What is the role of religion in this daily struggle for human dignity. Drugs, violence, prostitution, pollution, infestation, and sickness of all kinds are present in South Bronx, New York. Unfortunately, children are surrounded and involved in all these problems and more....   [tags: Race relations amazing grace report]

Research Papers
799 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Amazing Grace

- To craft a well structured and universally appealing narrative, the author must consider the relationship between the speaker and the audience it is directly addressing. The creation of a good speaker/audience relationship is greatly dependent on the openness and accessibility of the main character to its readers. This two-way communication is constructed through a first person narrative. In the narrative titled, “Amazing Grace,” by Abdel Nasser Ould Yessa, the speaker not only creates an intimate relationship with its readers, but also directs its message to a specific audience....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Abdel Nasser]

Research Papers
1159 words (3.3 pages)

Amazing Grace Essay

- Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace is a book about the trials and tribulations of everyday life for a group of children who live in the poorest congressional district of the United States, the South Bronx. Their lives may seem extraordinary to us, but to them, they are just as normal as everyone else. What is normal. For the children of the South Bronx, living with the pollution, the sickness, the drugs, and the violence is the only way of life many of them have ever known. In this book, the children speak openly and honestly about feeling 'abandoned', 'hidden' or 'forgotten' by our nation, one that is blind to their problems....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
1782 words (5.1 pages)

Amazing Grace Essay

- Amazing Grace is not a good movie, it is a great movie. Films on History can be lengthy and tedious, but that sure is not the case in this fascinating movie about the famous abolitionist William Wilberforce, who was responsible for steering anti-slave trade legislation through the British parliament. Contrary to what its title suggests, “Amazing Grace” isn’t really about the inauguration of the Christian hymn. Set in the 18th century England, it focuses on William’s political career to abolish the slave trade by arguing against it on the floor of the House of Commons, which placed him at odds with some of the most powerful men of the time....   [tags: Film, Movie, William Wilberforce]

Research Papers
1296 words (3.7 pages)

Amazing Grace Essay

- Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace is a book that describes the everyday horrors and struggles for survival, for a group of elementary girls and boys who are growing up in the South Bronx, the poorest congressional district in the United States. "When you enter the train, you are in the seventh richest congressional district in the nation. When you leave, you are in the poorest." This unimaginable way of life seems normal to these children because they really don't know any better. Normal to them is sickness, drug abuse, pollution, death, welfare and violence....   [tags: Sociology]

Research Papers
1434 words (4.1 pages)

Related Searches

She provides solace to those who seek it, feeds many of the children in the neighborhood, and will take anyone to the hospital that needs to go.

Mrs. Washington knows far to well about the hospitals for the poor. Kozol speaks to this middle-aged woman more than anyone. Mrs. Washington contracted AIDS from a husband that she thought was faithful. She is quite sick and has to go to the hospital often, but according to the State of New York she is not yet sick enough to collect Social Security Insurance. She explains that sometimes you must sit in the waiting room of the hospital for three days or so before you are even seen or given a bed. When a room is available the nurses are usually so busy that Mrs. Washington ends up changing her own bedding. Often times the bed's previous occupant has left the sheets soiled or blood-soaked.

Fortunately, Mrs. Washington has a son and a daughter that stand beside her and provides her with strength. Her daughter, Charlayne is in her last year at a two-year college and is holding down a part-time office job. She also has a five year old son and a six year old adopted daughter. The little girl is the biological child of a crack-addicted woman that Charlayne was once friends with. The prayer in the beginning is a prayer that these two young children say every night.

Mrs. Washington's son, David has taken care of his mother and makes sure she eats and tries to keep her healthy. He also has been accepted to City University with total financial aid. He hopes to be a prison officer.

So, when I hear about the breakdown of the family and how the poor are lazy, I think of this family and wonder how the white middle class can make such judgments without really looking into the situation. Throughout the book some very good points are made about the "breakdown" of the family in these neighborhoods. When everything breaks down in a neighborhood, how is a family or children supposed to proper? When the pipes and electricity don't work, and asthma runs rampant because of an incinerator strategically placed in the poorest and weakest of places, how does the spirit survive?

What is one of the saddest aspects of this book is that these children constantly are surrounded by death, sickness and drugs. Many of them live with grandmothers or other family members because their own parents are dead, in prison or too drug-addicted to care for them. When drug dealers are the only ones with some money in the neighborhood, who else do these children have to look up to, even if they know it is wrong?

For many race is a constant reminder of why they are so stigmatized. The simple fact that white students flee public schools when black students start to attend throws up a red flag to the black students that they are not thought of as "good enough".

Many feel that they are in jail or "hidden". As if, America doesn't have room for them. One young girl even explained that she thought if the people in New York were to wake up and find that they were all gone, that they would be relieved. She thinks that the people of New York and America look at them as obstacles to moving forward.

There are so many aspects to this book, but Kozol provides no solutions. He only gives us the side of the poor that many of us never see. The media and the politicians are usually too busy describing "bad" welfare mothers and criminal crack heads. They don't take into consideration that these people are living on top of each other in sub-standard housing. I think Kozol's purpose with this book was to represent the poor and to awaken America, especially white America, to the atrocities in our society.
Return to