Autobiography of Geoffrey Canada: Analysis

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The Cycle of Violence

In his autobiography, Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun, Geoffrey Canada exposes the reader to numerous types of violence witnessed while growing up in South Bronx, a subaltern community in New York. The slum is full of lower class individuals who are in a constant struggle for power, acceptance and safety. The book begins by discussing his childhood and how he had to learn the codes and behaviors accepted in his neighborhood and his place in the hierarchy of the street. Each block had different leaders, and each was just as dangerous as the next. Geoffrey Canada’s book accounts his personal experiences that constitutes as important parts of his upbringing. For example, when he got his friends’ basketball taken, his friend showed him the correct response and taught him how he needed to “dominate [his] emotions” and learn to always be a man (Canada, 1995, p. 42). Canada was a bright young boy who was placed in the “special progress” classes for his academic success (p. 149). Because of this opportunity he was able to do what minimal kids from his neighborhood accomplishes, going to college. After college, Canada begins working for programs to help poor communities because of his “passion and commitment to poor children” (p. 108). He starts to work on a community center program and becomes an inspiration and role model to the children surrounding him; which is what the hopeless children need. He works to create an intervention and prevention program aimed at stopping violence in poor communities, especially around youth by helping the youth and their families, with the ultimate goal of bettering the community as a whole. Geoffrey Canada’s story is about a constant struggle against the endless violence while working to reduce potential threats and dangers within the community. He points on how the ways of the street have changed drastically in the last 50 years; weapons used to be sparingly, but now a handgun is a common possession and has...
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