Saturday, February 12, 2011

Essay on Honky

Essay on "Honky"

"Honky", by Dalton Conley is a book about race, and is also a coming-of age story of a white boy and his family growing up in a neighborhood of predominantly African American and Latino housing projects on New York’s Lower East Side.

The first chapter Conley tells us about his mother and father, and what their professions are. His mother is a writer, and his father is a painter. Conley shows us how his mom and dad differ in their way of thinking of engaging his curiosity, especially when each of them try to make him understand the concept of a new sister.



His dad had him paint a picture of the baby, and he liked it so much he hung it on the wall. His mom made him verbally describe what his sister would look like, and what she was going to be like. I think this is an important part of Conley’s arguments, because in order to understand his situation, we need to understand why he is in them. His parents were not regular strict parents, but artists, and had a different perspective on life. Their low income and desire to break the societal molds everyone else followed led them to apply for housing in the then fairly new projects. Their thoughts and ideas seeped into his, and molded his thoughts and values to the present.

Another different argument that comes up is the interesting idea that a white boy can actually be a minority, and what that feels like. In the first chapter, Conley reminds us of the innocence of a child, and how his surroundings do not feel different, even if he is, just because they’re what he can remember since he was born. Conley (2000) states, “After all, a young child has not yet learned the determinants of skin color, much less the fact that in America, families are for the most part organized by skin color” (8).

An additional point that Conley makes is about the separatist black movement, and how it was a part of their neighborhood. The story of Conley as a young boy, stealing a baby in anticipation for his own little sister, and then finding out that the mother of the baby is involved in the separatist movement (5). “That morning my mother read in the paper that the separatist group had taken credit for a bomb planted at the Statue of Liberty the day before… She peeked out, and there, as if arriving on cue, were the investigators from the FBI, identified by the large yellow letters on the backs of their nylon jackets” (7).

Conley is living in a world full of people, in a time where they are routinely looked down upon by people of Conley’s color, yet at this age he cannot comprehend that their relationship could change, and will probably change at some point in time because of that.

I think Dalton Conley is trying to educate us about his life, and the key aspect of his book is the aspect of race and ethnicity. He concentrates on his aspect of the ways in which he will eventually gain his gradual awareness of class and ethnic privilege in American society.

“Moreover, in the projects people seemed to come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, and I was not yet aware which were the important ones that divided up the world. At that age, the fact that my parents were much bigger than me was of greater consequence than the fact that most of the other kids my size had darker skin” (8).

This seems to be the main theme he is trying to portray, yet I am sure that there will be many other themes and conclusions that will be made along the way of this interesting journey of a boys life into adolescence and adulthood.

Warning!!! All free online essays, sample essays and essay examples on Honky topics are plagiarized and cannot be completely used in your school, college or university education.

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