The Sky Is Gray

Topics: Man Pages: 2 (711 words) Published: October 21, 2005
Three Life Lessons that James Learned
The story "The Sky Is Gray" by Ernest Gaines is about a day in the life of a mother and son. The family is portrayed as being poor, as were most blacks in those days, and the father was recruited by the army, leaving the mother to be the sole provider for the family. On this day, James, the son, is taken to the dentist by his "mama", because he has a painful tooth. From this story, James learned three major lessons from the incidents that he witnessed that day which are; standing up for his beliefs, working hard for what he wants, and having compassion for others.

While James and his mother were at the dentist's office, he witnessed a confrontation between a preacher and a student. The student, who is a young black man, confronts the preacher about his beliefs, challenging him to prove there was a God. James admired the young man for having enough courage to believe in himself, even though James himself did believe in God. The student was slapped by the preacher and scoffed at by the others in the office, but he still kept his belief. James said he wanted to be just like the young man, not because he didn't believe in God, but because he was brave enough to stand up for what he believed, even if he was the only one standing. This type of courage and self confidence is a characteristic that James will carry with him into manhood.

Another lesson that James learned is to be willing to work for what he needed, and not depend on a free ride in life. James's mother was a woman of strong will and determination. She toiled in the fields everyday so she could put food on the table for their family. In the first part of the story, James related an incident where his mother beat him to kill the birds even though he didn't want to. At the moment, James didn't understand how his mother could do something so cruel, but later he discovered the reason which was to teach him strength and responsibility. James knew that if something...
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