Accepting One's Self: "Black Hair" Essay

Decent Essays

Life is a learning lesson that we all have to experience. In the story "Black Hair" by Gary Soto, the main character learns more than he bargained for. The theme of the story is not completely clear until a deeper look is given. It is easy to understand the story, but the words and symbols play a major role in making this short story have a deep meaning. There are many different ways that one can perceive this story's theme, but it all depends on how one can relate with it. The central theme is how society classifies people into categories in relation to their work. One sub-theme that is apparent, but not obvious, is that one cannot change who they are, and should accept themselves. Also, Soto touches on how the past reflects the future. …show more content…

"Home from college she is immediately taken with me, in spite of my work-darkened face, and invites me into the family car for a milkshake across town...Barbara did come home for a week, but was bitter toward her parents for taking in borders,"(94). He recognizes that he does not want to be like her and her life and family is not perfect like he thought.

While he is hitch-hiking back to his rented room, a woman who understands his hardships stops and gives him money.

It must have hurt her to see me day after day walking in the heat and looking very much like a dirty Mexican to the many minds that didn't know what it meant to work at hard labor. That woman knew. Her eyes met mine as she opened the car door, and there was tenderness that was surprisingly true--one for which you wait for years but when it comes it doesn't help. Nothing changes. You continue on in rags, with the sun still above you (93).

This woman accepts her own life and the hard labor that she has done, and understands the boy's "blackness" or hardship. She also knows the troubles of being Mexican, and knows the felling of being thought of as a "dirty Mexican." She gives him money not out of pity, but out of understanding. She also had the tenderness that he always longs for.

In the bath, he tries to rub the dirt off of him by scrubbing. He rubs until he turns pink. "I soaped a washcloth and scrubbed my arms

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