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White Resistance to Somewhere in the Darkness

White Resistance to Somewhere in the Darkness

I feel compelled to revisit the one novel we have read that created the most resistance in me and would quite possibly do so in a significant population of white readers: Walter Dean Myers’ Somewhere in the Darkness. That the book is well written or valuable to readers is irrelevant here — I enthusiastically grant both. Of greater concern in this discussion is the notion of resistance to the book that could easily be encountered with a particular population of suburban, white readers, namely those who would seem to have the most in common with Jimmy and who, paradoxically, would most likely resist the book.

The readers who comprise this group have much in common with Jimmy. They are largely lower-middle class and come from either fatherless homes, what might easily be considered dysfunctional two-parent homes, and/or live with extended families in lieu of their natural parents. In any case, the parent(s) are possibly absent from the home a great deal of the time, involved in a variety of dating practices and sexual promiscuity, caught up in illegal activity and often incarcerated or have been, oppressed by substance abuse of some type, and/or often living in an environment of either subtle or overt racism. I have made no effort to quantitatively justify the particulars of this description though such a study would undoubtedly prove enlightening. Rather, I assert this general description based on 12 years of experience of living in a white, lower middle-class suburb. In some ways, we could easily view these readers as insiders in that they share with Jimmy some elements of a common familial experience, but it is the cultural differences between white and …

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…ility: there is no hope for me or my kind.

A white reader’s resistance to Walter Dean Myers’ novel, Somewhere in the Darkness, is inevitable, particularly when that white reader has more in common with the protagonist than not. It seems the closer in circumstance the white reader is to Jimmy, the more he/she might resist to his cultural differences because those underlying cultural differences cause Jimmy to act in ways that seem unlikely to a white reader. The key is to be aware of those differences and be willing to see what Jimmy sees — from his point of view. If we are willing to do that, then Myers’ work is a wonderful and effective way to learn not only about Jimmy and his culture but also about ourselves and the hopes we have for our lives.

Works Cited:

Myers, W. D. Somewhere in the darkness. New York: Scholastic Book Services.1992.

Essay on Fate in Weatherhead’s The Will of God

Understanding Fate in Weatherhead’s The Will of God

As I continued to chat with my pastor that day, I really sensed the hurt in his eyes – the anger that comes from an unsolvable injustice, the tiredness of a problem. “What’s wrong?” I finally asked, “Having a bad day?” Sensing that I was truly concerned, he let the truth be told. “I talked with a woman today whose baby died suddenly of unknown causes. As we worked through her grief, she talked about how numerous friends and family, even a religious leader had patted her on the back, shook their heads and said, ‘It was God’s will.’ I find few things worse to say to a grieving parent. Saying nothing at all would be of more help.” It was obvious from our conversation that he had an understanding greater than I about God’s will, and his insight created in me a curiosity and desire to learn more.

There is so much mystified confusion surrounding the will of God in today’s society. It is evident in the ways that people use the term that views about it differ widely; there is even contradiction in two things the same person might say. It is because of the recommendation of my pastor and others that I decided to read The Will of God, written by Leslie D. Weatherhead.

This book was published only after it was first a series of sermons delivered in England right after World War II. According to Weatherhead, God actually has three types of will: intentional will, circumstantial will, and ultimate will, which are all distinct from one another.

Intentional will is defined as God’s will for humans from the very start on a personal level with each human being, and as a wider goal for humanity. It is the way he would like for human life to…

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…is seems to line up well with the serenity prayer: “Lord, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Our task as humans is to discern these wills in our lives and separate them. We must not become embittered, but rather empowered, clinging to the knowledge that there is an ever-benevolent God constantly working for our good, and that he always has a plan for us amidst trial presented by life on earth. In order to discern this will though, we have to be on the lookout for it with an awareness of its separateness from our own fears and desires. This discernment is also difficult because of our limited perspectives as humans, and thus we need humility in our search. The most important thing, however, is the search itself: we must all continue to search for the will.

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