A Tribe Apart by Patricia Hersch: Interesting Lives of Eight Teenagers

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A Tribe Apart
The United States is facing a critical problem with the youth of its own nation. The United States has dropped to 30th in the world in I.Q. scores as of 2005. Some nations ahead of the U.S. include Andorra, Estonia, and Singapore. This drop off has been steady for the last 2 decades, and we continue to drop on the list or reading, math, and chemistry scores. It would be easy for us to blame some of the distractions our western culture has created such as the T.V., computer, teen sex and pregnancy, and the music industry. In “A Tribe Apart” by Patricia Hersch, the author follows the lives of 8 teenagers as they embark on their four years journey of high school. She observes these students in the year of 1992, and invites the reader to a firsthand look into sex, tests, prom, sports, and everything else that makes up the life of an American High School student. It is also important to note that Mrs. Hersch observed mainly Caucasian and middle class students in the town of Reston, Virginia. Many of the problems associated with the students in this book can be amplified by lower class minorities who do not have the resources of the middle class kids.

The book starts out with prologue about a young man named Jonathan Tompkins. Jonathan is a seventeen year old who is about to embark on a college career, and has met a crossroad in his life. He has a history of being disrespectful to his parents, and is scared of the uncertainty that the future holds for him. Jonathan decides to go on a vision quest inside of the George Washington National Forest. He must survive with a small portion of bread, no shelter only a small amount of water for four days in the woods. With nothing but nature to keep him occupied, he relies on it to distract him from the pains of hunger and thirst. By the fifth day, Jonathan realizes what his vision quest was all about. He starts to thing about all the times he has neglected his mom. He realizes all the things he...
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