James and the Sky Is Gray

Topics: Martin Luther King, Jr., Jim Crow laws, Civil disobedience Pages: 2 (782 words) Published: April 5, 2006
Few of us ever consider what the early years of our public leaders may have been like. For example, what lessons did Dr. King's father drive home during King's childhood, or what was Jesse Jackson's socio-economic status as a child. It is my belief that Gaines' "The Sky is Gray" depicts the possible roots of a public leader, in the way the nature of the young narrator James is portrayed it illuminates the character traits in civil leader. This theory is supported by three specific events during the story. The first strong character trait James possesses is that he begins to develop a sturdy sense of the world around him at a very young age. This is important in civil leadership because a great leader such as Dr. King understands, to a high degree, the inner workings of society's affect on the community. Furthermore, James will not only question everything, he will also be a man of action. This is an important trait because civil changes have never come in times of complacency; also it is not simply enough to think critically a civil leader must also make use of his ideas. Yet grandest amongst all others James, even at this age, exhibit's a lofty judgment of responsibility. This is essential to James being a future civil leader in that one must be responsible for the community at large as if they were his family.

From the opening of the story there was a conveyance that James knew well his role and duty in his family. This theme was first revealed in the scene in which James and his mother are waiting for the bus to Bayonne. He wanted to comment on the fact the bus still hadn't arrived, like most any child of his years. However, he knew that his mother did not think well of stating the obvious. Furthermore, he understood that his mother was predisposed with concern for their family. Another example is the various scenes in which James tries to hide his toothache. The average child would have wailed in pain every chance he or she got. On the other hand knew that...
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