Teaching Tomorrow

Dec 14 2011

In Brother I’m Dying, Edwidge Danticat delivers a memoir with poignant and candid writing. It was an excellent choice for the required freshman reading for Brooklyn College students. Although, most of our struggles cannot nearly compare to the author’s, themes such as immigration and family provided us with relatable material. In addition, I believe her message for action in the face of injustices was necessary for us to hear. As the future of America and college students, it was important for an older generation to remind us that there are certain things more important than the pursuit of our career.

During the most memorable part of Danticat’s visit to Brooklyn College she motherly echoed her sentiments through a series of Haitian proverbs. When I heard “proverbs” I expected cliché ideas. However, their origin in a culture I was unacquainted with made them far more interesting. “Those who care cannot sleep,” she told us. There are still far too many troubles in the world for those who want change to take rest. Another proverb, which obviously centered on her passion for writing, was “Words have wings, words have feet.” Although, I plan for my future to revolve around the sciences, specifically medicine, these words still resonated with me. Literature has always been an escape from the mundane for me. Furthermore, as imperfect as democracy in America may be, this proverb reminded me how lucky I am to live in a country which gives its citizens freedom of speech. To be as voiceless as Danticat’s uncle was in Haiti is something that I could not bear.

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