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Frank Conroy’s Memoir: Life Experiments Essay

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Updated: Jul 8th, 2019

The life events and situations which can be discussed by some persons as minor or insignificant often influence the people’s life more obviously than any other important and serious event because minor details can provoke people’s thinking of their life, personality, intentions, goals, and visions of the world.

Frank Conroy’s memoir Stop-Time (1967) includes a lot of descriptions of events and situations which influenced the process of Conroy’s growing and development as an individual. The author focuses on definite stops in describing the time of his childhood and adolescence.

To emphasize the stop and to draw the readers’ attention to it, Conroy uses the present tense, and the readers become involved in the situation because of observing it through the eyes of a boy whose considerations and emotions are presented and described in detail.

In spite of the fact that there are many significant events and incidents presented in the memoir, it is important to refer to the minor events which are preserved in the author’s memory because of their impact on the writer’s personality.

From this point, the chapter “A Yo-Yo Going Down, a Mad Squirrel Coming Up” provides a description of an important stop when Conroy perceives the principles of life and his role in the world and society focusing on yo-yoing.

Conroy uses the whole chapter to describe his experience in relation to yo-yoing and observed tricks with yo-yo. Thus, this situation can be discussed as minor and insignificant by many persons, but the boy at the age of thirteen can notice the significant principles of the life in the world with references to yo-yoing, and this knowledge can change his cognition and vision of the world and his own personality.

While noticing two yo-yo tricksters, the boy “stared open-mouthed as a yo-yo was thrown down and stayed down” (Conroy 112-113). As a result, the boy decided to perform yo-yo tricks which could be lovely and rather difficult because Conroy was sure in relation to his success.

Although all the yo-yos are the same, Conroy states, “My yo-yo … was a perfectly balanced construction of hard wood, slightly weighted, flat, with only a sixteenth of an inch between the halves” (Conroy 113). Using such a perfect yo-yo, the boy focuses only on the success while performing some tricks.

Following the boy’s considerations and thoughts on yo-yoing, it is possible to state that the successes of Conroy in yo-yoing as well as his observations of yo-yo’s movements made the boy think about the rules of the world and people’s reactions to the world strings.

Conroy explains the importance of this stop in memory claiming, “the yo-yo represented my first organized attempt to control the outside world” (Conroy 115). Thus, such important things were learnt by the writer not through the dramatic experiences of his childhood, but because of playing with the yo-yo.

Referring to the example of Conroy’s use of stops in life, I can rely on such a stop as the moment of understanding the impact of the people’s opinion on the other persons’ life and the role of envy in this process. Conroy’s attempts to perform yo-yo tricks can be discussed as a kind of envy in relation to the other boys’ skills while performing different yo-yo tricks because this fact is associated with the rule in the situation.

The similar situation occurred when I was at the age of twelve. The desire to prove the fact that I could be better than the other children in the classroom made me agree to participate in a lot of extracurricular activities and orient to the best results.

I can make the stop in my memory and recollect my emotions in relation to the situation when my classmate told me that he could achieve the best results in the swimming competition than I could achieve.

Today, I understand that those words were rather provocative and demonstrated the classmate’s envy. Furthermore, I could not predict the results of the competition. However, I remember that during the conversation I decided to win in spite of any barriers because I was sure in my successes and skills.

The importance of that experience is stop in my life in the fact that I can return to that stop every time when I feel helpless in a difficult situation. Recollecting the situation of being a consistent child with the strong will and desire to win, I can focus on achieving the higher goals today and in the future.

The importance of such stops is in opportunities to refer to the intrinsic motivation and true desires hidden under the mask of everyday considerations.

The above-mentioned experience and the example of Conroy’s stop are also important in the context of my culture and aspects of the social development because the concentration on the inner power is highly valued in our society.

The ability to focus on stops in the life time is necessary to evaluate the results and investigate the particular features of the personal psyche. Thus, stops made by Conroy are important to look at the author from the new perspective.

Works Cited

Conroy, Frank. Stop-Time: A Memoir. USA: Viking Press, 1967. Print.

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