March 5, 2013
Newspapers and Basketball
Psst. Do you remember Lemon Brown? The man wears rags, is unemployed, and owns no house? Well, he has treasures. With them, he is richer than you or I could ever imagine. What are these treasures? Hidden underneath his rags are...old newspaper clippings and a broken harmonica. We might not think of these objects as treasures, but Mr. Brown knows that our opinions don’t matter. In the short story “The Treasure of Lemon Brown” by Walter Dean Myers, Lemon Brown teaches Greg, the protagonist, and us, the readers, that objects become treasures after something treasured is associated with them. People often misconstrue Mr. Brown when he speaks of his treasures. One day, while he confides in Greg about his treasures, a couple of miscreants overhear. Armed with bats and metal flashlights, they ask threateningly, “‘...you got any money?’ ‘We heard you talking about your treasure’” (495). The hoodlums assume that treasure is something of only monetary value. Money is universally valued, so it is understandable that they assume Mr. Brown’s treasures to be money. A treasure, however, is something that cannot be parted with. Money has worldly value, but a true treasure is something with sentimental value. We share money with everyone, but treasures owned by only their owners, such as the way the harmonica and newspaper are valued. The clippings are about “Sweet Lemon Brown,” Mr. Brown’s stage name during his time as a blues artist. Mr. Brown tells Greg that the clippings belonged his now-deceased son, Jesse, who left at a young age to fight in a war. Referring to the clippings and harmonica, Mr. Brown says, “...this is what he had on him when he died....he treated it just like that, a treasure’” (498). From this, we learn that, startlingly, Jesse had his treasures with him as he fought. Most people wouldn’t bring their treasures with them in battle, as it is likely that they could get damaged. Despite...
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