The Learning Tree

Length: 3 Pages 707 Words

The Learning Tree The oppressed African American world felt possibly, it’s deepest persecution in the Southern States of America. These people were both pressured and denied rights as human beings. They were told that they would amount to nothing. That they would end up in the lowest form of work, such as cooks, waiters, janitors, or perhaps bellhops. Some of these people had the most brilliant minds of the time, but were not allowed to exercise their ability as people and free thinkers because their skin happened to be of a “dirty” color. The book The Learning Tree, by Gordon Parks perfectly displays the emotions of a young, black boy, working his way through a world that tyrannized him because he was not white. His education is suppressed, and his young mind, which is obviously displayed as brilliant in the story, is not going to get him anywhere because during this time, nothing got you anywhere but the color of your skin. When Marcus, an obviously troubled young man, helps the boys steal peaches, he takes things a little too Continue...

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The parents see their young children, brilliant and good students, be persecuted because they were simply born the wrong color. The boys of course, were forced by Newt's mother, Sarah, to apologize to the farmer that was hurt. This detention facility only makes things worse on Marcus, who "has it in for Newt because Newt told the truth to save himself and the other three boys who stole peaches. It is blamed on the town drunk, who is a good man despite his drunkenness and stupor. He is frightened though, of Marcus and what he could do to him so he keeps his mouth shut. far when he turns around and beats the farmer, coming very close to killing him. Unfortunately, it is the screaming mob of racists that drives Marcus's father to run, and eventually be killed. Without even a moment's notice he is sent to a detention facility where he is again chastised for being black. The issue of race is a hard one to encounter. Even though the school system in The Learning Tree presents a lot of segregation, there is the matter of the death of the Peach farmer. It isn't until Newt starts high school that you see it again when Newt's advisor tells him that he will amount to nothing but a low-income job like a Janitor or Waiter. Newt takes care of the matter when the principal explains to him that it was wrong of his advisor to say that, but it is so ingrained in her brain that that's how the world works, that it really isn't her fault. Gordon Parks has presented the issue of race in a story that is both interesting and frightening. It is in the school system that you see the most segregation within the book. It is only in his guilt that Newt tells his story, and Marcus's father is displayed as the real killer.


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