Free Essay

Survival of the Fittes

In: English and Literature

Submitted By acassity40
Words 918
Pages 4
Ryan Cassity
Professor Jeffries
ENGL 012, Paper 2
March 24, 2015
Survival of the Fittest Life is hard and often times filled with tough challenges and difficult situations. In the past, African Americans were subjected to the tortures of slavery and isolation from mainstream America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Meanwhile, the harsh reality of life faced by African Americans is seen today with an increase in homeless people living on the streets. While some people look down on people they consider undesirable or inferior, one aspect of a person’s character that can never be questioned is their will to survive. Furthermore, survival in life requires a “never quit, never die” mentality that enables a person to keep fighting to realize a dream. “I, Too” and “Crusader Rabbit” suggest that survival requires courage, desire, and faith. In the poem “I, Too,” Langston Hughes portrays a black man bound into slavery who knows deep down in his heart that he “too” is part of America and is entitled to all the rights and freedoms that America itself stands for and represents. While held captive as a servant, the black man displays courage through his refusal to be recognized as an inferior human being. As Hughes notes, “I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong” (Hughes 2-7). The black man will not allow ignorance and neglect to destroy his pride. The black man’s mindset and spirit exemplify great courage to rise above unjust circumstances. In comparison, Jess Mowry’s short fiction, “Crusader Rabbit,” talks about Raglan and Jeremy surviving as homeless people sifting through dumpsters to gather aluminum cans in exchange for money. Courage is shown in their father-and-son like relationship when Raglan rescues a lifeless Jeremy from behind a dumpster and takes it upon himself to help Jeremy with his heroin addiction. Even though life is a constant struggle, both Raglan and Jeremy continue to fight and not give up. Raglan and Jeremy live out of a 1955 GMC one-ton, rusted truck that allows them to store toilet paper, a .45 automatic, a plastic jug to drink water, and canned soup to ensure survival (Mowry 72-73, 79). Raglan is honest with Jeremy when Jeremy asks the question, “It gonna hurt some more, huh?” (Mowry 73). Raglan’s response to the question helps Jeremy understand that drug addiction is difficult and takes time to overcome. In turn, Jeremy’s willingness to quit his addiction to heroin shows tremendous courage. “Tomorrow, I’ll sit at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then” (Hughes 8-14). These lines spoken in “I, Too” express the black man’s desire to dream of a better tomorrow. There will be a day when the black man will not have to listen to any more orders. The black man will finally be free to say and do whatever he pleases without having to worry about punishment. Survival is dependent upon hope and the desire to achieve goals. Moreover, desire for survival is shown in “Crusader Rabbit” when Raglan responds to Jeremy’s question about how long it will take to quit smoking. Raglan tells Jeremy that the habit will end, “When you decide there’s something else you want more” (Mowry 73). Raglan is teaching Jeremy a valuable life lesson. It is up to Jeremy to decide what he wants in life. Jeremy must first be willing to rid himself from drug addiction. This will require a strong desire to overcome daily urges to use drugs. Faith is also required to ensure survival in life. In the poem, “I, Too,” the black man proclaims, “Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed – I, too, am America” (Hughes 15-18). The black man expresses his faith by believing in himself. He acknowledges that he is as good as or equal to the white man. The black man goes on to say that the white man will later regret his actions and behavior towards him. The black man realizes that he deserves to live in America as much as the white man. Similarly, Raglan and Jeremy begin to realize faith in “Crusader Rabbit” when they drive out to the country and see the beauty of nature. Raglan and Jeremy discover that there is goodness in life. “The air was fresh and clean, scented with things that lived and grew, and tasting of the ocean somewhere close at hand” (Mowry 75). The trip to the country offers Raglan and Jeremy promise for a better life. When Jeremy questions Raglan about not having enough gas to get back, Raglan says, “Maybe there’s someplace around here that buys cans. We’ll check it out in the mornin” (Mowry 76). Raglan’s answer suggests the possibility that Raglan and Jeremy may have found a new place to call home that will provide happiness. In conclusion, life is no bed of roses and is full of pain and hardship. In Hughes’s “I, Too” and Mowry’s “Crusader Rabbit,” life has been extremely difficult for the black slave and for Raglan and Jeremy; however, they all manage to find ways to remain alive. The key to surviving life’s struggles is to have a dream that there will be a better tomorrow. Dreams for a better tomorrow can be achieved if there is an existing will to survive. “I, Too,” and “Crusader Rabbit” suggest that survival requires courage, desire, and faith.

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