Amazing Grace Essay

2119 words - 8 pages

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.

Throughout this book, Kozol interviews many children so the reader gets the open and honest answers for the community. It is continuous dialogue between Kozol and many residents. Many of them speak about how they feel abandoned or forgot about by our nation. "I believe that what the rich have done to the poor people in this city is something that a preacher could call evil. Kozol wanted to get close to the individuals he got his information from because he wanted to get the true feeling for the environment he entered. He tried to uncover some reasons why people live these horrifying lifestyles or what could have lead them to this. The amount of drug users is extremely high; the dangerously large number of gangs, the poor and high unemployment rate and the most shocking is the number of people who have been infected with AIDS.

Kozol is an extraordinary interviewer that has such a special connection with these kids that he reveals another side to these kids from the ghettoes. He reaches deep inside and hears them crying out for help and hears their hurts and sorrows. Although when first meeting them they seem to be so cheerful but eventually they starve for attention and hope for a better life.

He book describes the horrible situations over and over again. The continuous heroine and cocaine addicts in the street that try to sell drugs to anyone that walks by, including children. Once a week the children watched as the health clinic gives out condoms and clean needles in the neighborhood park that was once pretty and dedicated to the children. The local stench that lingered throughout the air came from the waste incinerator which burned amputated body parts. Children and parents are drying from AIDS and cant even go to the local hospital because they're over crowded, unclean and short of help. A mother told of story of how rats bit her baby at night. These people that surround the streets are living each day as if it were their last, making death an option. The people here are treated different, unequal and nasty compared to the wealthy white race only miles away.

Kozol describes a few relationships in which he grew very close to. Anthony for example was a 12 year old Hispanic boy. He talks about how he loves to write and one day wants to become a novelist. Kozol talks to him one time about how the children sometimes look cheerful and happy and asks him if he...

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