Summary Of Coates Between The World And Me

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For this assignment, I read Coates, Tanehisi. Between the World and Me. New York, NY: Penguin Random House LLC, 2015. Between the World and Me is written as a letter to Coates’ teenaged son. The book was dedicated to his teenaged son who is fifteen years of age during the time Coates wrote the book. Coates goal in writing this book was to explain what it is like being black in America. Coates saw a need to go in depth about the black body in America. Coates’ Between the World and Me is written to encourage his son to live life without fear of the stigmas that have been created by the American society, and to push through any external factors that may come his way.
Coates has three main points that lie under the central argument’s umbrella.
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He says, “the crews walked the blocks of their neighborhood, loud and rude, because it was only through their loud and rudeness that they might feel any sense of security and power” (Coates 2015:22). Coates managed to make it through his neighborhood in one piece because he employed the ways to survive. His first encounter with fear outside of his home was right outside of his home’s door. Coates states, “To be black in the Baltimore of my youth was to be naked before the elements of the world, before all the guns, fists, knives, crack, rape, and disease” (Coates 2015: 16). Coates is aware that his body is up for grabs. Social control occurred even in the home of his neighborhood. It occurred amongst the people who looked like Coates. Lastly, Coates discusses the difference between what he saw on television and his own life. Coates states, “In the evenings I would sit before the television bearing witness to the dispatches from this other world. There were little boys with complete collections of football cards… popular girlfriend[s] and their only worry was poison oak” (Coates 2015: 20). Coates felt disconnected from what he knew versus what he saw. The fear came from the thought of not being one in the same with those that he saw on television. He referred to it as “the …show more content…
Coates makes connection between his life and the things that were influential to him at the time, which were music, poetry, and books. He references them as he reminisces about his life. One of his first quotes is by Nas. Coates quotes a line from Nas’ song “What Goes Around.” Coates used the line to depict how he felt about school at the time (Coates 2015: 26). Nas’ line spoke to Coates when he left Howard University and it helped him make sense of how he felt at the time. Coates also quotes a piece from Robert Hayden’s poem “Middle Passage,” which states “You cannot stare that hatred down… or chain the fear that stalks the watches” (Coates 2015: 51). The lines from the poem signify Coates appreciation of poetry. He was at a point in his life where he was using poetry as an outlet and leaning to perfect his craft. The quotes in the book are a representation of where Coates was at that moment in time. He documented them as a depiction of who he was, where he wanted to be, and how he felt on the

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