Modern American Memoirs Analysis

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Modern American Memoirs edited by Annie Dillard is a series of excerpt from different memoirs wrote by successful writers to tell the readers what was the life like in their childhood. Many of these writers have gone through different struggles to become that they are today. Furthermore, most of them have shared some common tropes in their childhood. One common trope that is shared between James Baldwin and Anne Moody is segregation. Due to the fact both of them are “colored” people, they suffered more than they deserved. For instance, in both the excerpt, Baldwin and Moody were asked to leave the restaurants because they don’t serve “colored” people in the restaurant. When they didn’t, they were beaten up. Moreover, Baldwin was in New Jersey …show more content…
In one of the excerpt by Harry Middleton, it shows how older generation want their grandchildren to have a better life than them. Middleton wanted his grandfather, Emerson to teach him fly-fishing. However, Emerson laughed and implied fly-fishing is not something he should teach because it is considered “low-class” work. He stated, “We have nothing of lasting worth to teach you, son.” And if a relative teach a child how to fish, “that is, the old man had something against the child and was out to get even.” Moreover, Emerson also said the only reward of the outdoor life is sad and paltry. At last, Middleton became a journalist and a writer. In contrast, a common trope from an American childhood is not having a job. In the excerpt by William Owens, he shows how difficult it was to find a job at eighteen years old. He got rejected either because they don’t accept any applications anymore or because his education and experience is not enough. We often say coming to America is to achieve these “American Dreams” and to have freedom. However, what dreams are we having if we don’t have a job to begin with? If Owens does not go out to look for a job, his sister, Maggie would say, “you’re eighteen, you’ve got to make out like you’re a

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