There Are No Children Here
This paper is based on the book “There Are No Children Here.” The book setting is in a war-torn area in America which is prone to drug smuggling. Various gangs have come up, and each wants to dominate the region. This desire for dominance has resulted in numerous gun battles and gang members killed as well as stray bullets getting to innocent community members. The paper gives a narrative review showing how the book has impacted my personal life. It also gives a character assessment for various characters in the book and the lessons they have taught me.
The characters in the book have served as a lesson to many on a variety of issues. One of these characters is Bird Leg. He was initially Lafayette’s close friend. However, he joined forces with the Vice Lords and became a “bad boy.” His mother tries her best to advise him right, but he could not take any of it. Finally, he is shot dead by gang members of Young Disciples. He must have been quite proud. Bird Leg actions have taught me that it is important to heed the advice given with a clean heart, especially from parents. He confirmed Bear Grylls’ words’ “A man’s pride can be his downfall, and he needs to learn when to turn to others for support and guidance.” Pride deafens us to the advice of those around us. Eventually, this pride will lead to our downfall. Pride is a summer ingredient, and it always comes before the fall.
Another character whose actions impacted me in a personal way is Paul Rivers. He is LaJoe’s husband and father to her children. Paul spends all his money on drugs instead of supporting his family. He is always drunk or loitering around beer dens despite the fact that his family is living in poverty. He can be said to be irresponsible. His family is living in abject poverty yet all he does is drink himself silly. The effect of drug and alcohol abuse on a person’s family has greatly impacted on me. If Paul was not using the drugs or he practiced responsible drinking, he would be in a position to make rational decisions on issues affecting his family. For example, the housing problem. Probably, he would afford better accommodation for them.
LaJoe is another character whose actions have impacted on me in a personal way. She is very hardworking and supportive of her children despite her husband being so uncooperative. She has struggled to keep her children and grandchildren comfortable. It is evident that she plays a key role in maintaining the family bond her children enjoy. Her selflessness has impacted greatly on me. One has to learn to live for others, especially when it is a parent-child scenario. She even goes out to play cards to as a means of livelihood for her family since there is no support from her husband. This is after her welfare support is withdrawn. Her actions show how perseverant and determined she is to keep her children comfortable.
Another character whose actions have greatly impacted on me is Pharoah. He is a very young boy who has stood the test of times and managed to escape adversity and negative circumstances surrounding him. He can steer clear of drugs despite the pressure prevailing in the neighborhood among boys his age. He has taught me that it is possible to shine in the darkest situations and maintain a stand when peer pressure is so strong. Pharoah has also given me hope of finding some good in every bird. In every society, there is always one person who can stand in the gap despite the rest of the people’s waywardness.
The book has created several impacts on a personal level. It has brought out a variety of issues that are good lessons for me. One of these is the issue regarding the life that residents of war-stricken areas live. There are so much uncertainty and tension since you don’t know when the next shoot-out will be. They are faced with indescribable tension during the shootings as they try to avoid stray bullets. Children brought up in these areas have gone through so many psychological tortures in their early years. In fact, there is no much difference between these areas and regions such as Gaza City or Darfur, despite them being in America. The scenarios these children face are more or less the same as those of any other country under war. This psychological torture that the young children like Pharoah endure are quite impacting. The author might have chosen the title basing on the experiences these children have to face at a young age. He may, therefore, imply that these boys and girls might be children by age, but the fact is they are not children due to the circumstances that surround them from a young age and the related exposures. If it were possible, it is best to avoid living in such areas for the emotional and psychological well-being of your children.
Another issue that comes up is the cooperation and unity of both parents. In the modern society, the cost of living is quite high. For this reason, the responsibility of providing for a family unit should not be left solely on one party, neither the wife nor the husband. In a situation similar to LaJoe’s, it is very essential that both husband and wife cooperate and each tries their best to bring what they can to support a decently comfortable life for their family. Moreover, the unity of parents is a vital ingredient in the development of a child. No child deserves to grow up in a dysfunctional family setting as that of LaJoe and Paul Rivers. There is very little interaction between father and children. This is evident in the text where it is said that Paul comes home sporadically. Therefore, these children do not have a reliable father figure. Considering that they are boys, and then there is great probability that it affects them adversely, either now or even in their future relations.
Another issue that comes up is poverty. LaJoe and her children are living in an area where poverty is evident. There is garbage littered everywhere. We are told that two years after Bird Leg’s death, the blood that oozed out of his body due to the gunshot was evidently on the walls and the floor as stains. This shows there were high levels of unhygienic conditions in the neighborhood. Living in unhygienic conditions puts people, especially children, at a very high risk of infections. Moreover, the areas were crowded with more than eight people living in an apartment. Research has it that children who are brought up in crowded areas are more prone to drug abuse and mental stress as opposed to those in less crowded areas. This crowding leads to loss of morals values which, in most instances, increases the crime rates in these areas. This is mainly because the children interact with too many people with very diverse moral levels and hence increases the probability of the children being immoral.
In a nutshell, the author of the book has brought up very critical issues rampant in the modern world. These include family life, drugs, pride, morals, child development and good decision-making, to name but a few. As a reader, it would be in one’s best interest to apply the issues raised to help tackle our day to day experiences in the best ways possible.