Toni Morrison tells a story of coming home. Her protagonist and his sister have to make a long trip to their home as well as to their selves. Frank had loads of terrifying experiences during the war and in his postwar life. His sister, Cee, almost died, and this experience also made her reconsider her views.
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These experiences change a person. Howa ever, Frank and Cee also had to endure moments of shame and remorse that made them more determined to find themselves and come home.
It is possible to note that Morrison’s characters had to go through moments of shame and remorse too, finally, understand who they are, and their experience (whatever short or insignificant they might seem) may help me become a better person who can stand up to certain and change the world for better.
Frank and Cee
Frank had to live through a lot of horrible moments but a moment associated with the little Korean girl made a very strong impression on him. Frank saw that “barefoot escapee” when he was on duty, and he had quit mixed feelings (Morrison 11). There was a pity (as the wretched child was miserable) and some degree of disgust (as she was scavenging garbage).
It is noteworthy that he was unsure as to how to react. However, when another soldier killed the poor girl, Frank was bewildered. He did not try to save her. Clearly, in this episode, Frank was not responsible for the girl’s death as he did not kill her. Nevertheless, he felt severe remorse since he did not prevent the murder.
This short episode had a profound effect on Frank and made him come back home and find himself. Frank never forgot the murder of the girl and his inability to act. He went on living “beat up with shame” (Morrison 77). Notably, this shame made him start his quest and save another little girl, his sister (as he was attached to this young woman who was always a little girl for him). He started thinking about his life and the sense of it.
Frank turned back the shameful memory and, eventually, he understood that “maybe his life had been preserved for Cee” (Morrison 34). The shame became a potent force that made the man be bold and find his sister, his home and his self. It is necessary to add that Cee was the link between him and his home as well as his real self.
Cee and Her Experience
Cee also experienced some shameful moments but one of the most painful ones was the end of her relationship with Prince who betrayed her hopes. Cee strived for “a shiny life in the city” (Morrison 49). She thought she had anything she ever wanted as she was with the man she loved and he took her to her dream life. She thought the city life was best for her. However, the man betrayed her and she was left alone.
This shame also made the young woman understand that she could not be home in the city as she did not belong there. The undeserving man abandoned her, and this is a shame any woman tries to avoid and/or escape. The end of the relationship and events that followed were Cee’s first steps on her path to her real self and her home. Of course, her brother helped her and she, finally, managed to feel she was home.
I also had a shameful experience that was quite short and could pass unnoticed. I have to note that I am not very attentive and rarely paid attention to what is going on around me. In my childhood, I was even less attentive. I was going in a subway car at rush hour. I had my backpack in my hands as I could not possible have it on my back. As usual, I was thinking about something pleasant.
My brother was not far from me. Suddenly, I looked down and noticed a hand reaching a woman’s handbag. I was astonished and quite shocked, but intuitively I tried to lift my backpack. The woman who stood beside me also lifted her bag. Luckily, there was a stop, and the hand did not manage to reach the bag. I was really ashamed as I had always thought I was a very brave person. However, in the moment of danger, I turned out to be a coward.
My Shameful Episode
Reading Morrison’s book made me reconsider my childhood experience. I think Frank’s and my experiences are quite similar. Of course, I did not witness a murder but I almost witnessed a theft that is also a crime. More importantly, I (just as Frank) could have prevented the crime, but I did not do it. Of course, I also felt shame and remorse. I tried to forget this unpleasant experience.
When I read about Frank’s determination, I understood that my unpleasant experience and remorse could also make me a more committed person. I used to think that there was nothing special and I had to forget about it as the theft never happened. Now I understand that it is my duty to be more cautious and try to prevent wrongful actions. I believe that the world can become better if each person is more attentive and responsible.
Frank’s experience and his choices affected my life in a certain way. Frank found his self when he changed his attitude towards his deed. I also changed my opinion as I used to see that episode as a source of remorse and shame, but now I understand that it was a valuable experience.
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This experience made me think of a job that could contribute to the development of society or my community. I have not decided yet on the profession I will choose. However, I will make this world better.
On balance, it is possible to note that Toni Morrison created two lively characters who teach valuable lessons through their experiences. Thus, I learned that even the shortest and seemingly unimportant episode in a human’s life could have a significant impact on his/her life.
My shameful experience was slight pain and caused some remorse, but the book or rather the story of the young man made me understand that my episode was my first step to my real self. At present, I think I can become more responsible and determined. Perhaps, this determination will save somebody’s property or life and will make the world better.
Morrison, Toni. Home. New York, NY: Vintage, 2013. Print.