Amazing Grace Essay

1776 words - 7 pages

Amazing GraceIntroductionJonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace is a book about the trials and tribulations of everyday life for a group of children who live in the poorest congressional district of the United States, the South Bronx. Their lives may seem extraordinary to us, but to them, they are just as normal as everyone else. What is normal? For the children of the South Bronx, living with the pollution, the sickness, the drugs, and the violence is the only way of life many of them have ever known.In this book, the children speak openly and honestly about feeling 'abandoned', 'hidden' or 'forgotten' by our nation, one that is blind to their problems. Studying the people themselves would only get us so far in understanding what their community is really like and why they feel this way. Jonathan Kozol really got to know the people individually. We can take his knowledge and stories to try for a better understanding of the environment in which they live. By doing this, we can explore the many reasons why the people have problems, what some levels of intervention could be, and possibly find some solutions to making the South Bronx a healthier and safer place for these children and others to live.Problem IdentificationThe environment in which we study these people can only be defined by first taking a look at possible reasons why the people have problems. Some of the problems discussed in Amazing Grace have festered throughout the United States for some time now. The high numbers of drug users in the community, the high amounts of gang-related violence, and the numerous cases of people who have contracted the AIDS virus are just some of the problems that have arisen in this ghetto. There are many differences between this community and others in the United States, one of which is that the government has grouped these people all together and made a ghetto of the lowest income families. This has ostracized them from the rest of the nation. It has given them many abandonment issues to deal with, while also telling them they are not worthy of living among the wealthier population.Environmental factors are involved in the problems arising in the South Bronx. Pollution, for example, could be the biggest source of the high number of children in the community who have asthma. Asthma is a condition in which one has trouble breathing. Without clean air, breathing for an asthmatic is almost impossible. A waste burner in the middle of the South Bronx causes a lot of pollution and makes the air the people breath, below safe levels of cleanliness. Another environmental factor that affects the resident's healths has to do with how most of the buildings in these neighborhoods are run down and infested with rats. Many of the buildings have no working elevators. This causes people to have to walk several flights of stairs each time they want to leave their apartments. This is very time consuming and tiresome. Then, when they find that there is so much violence and drugs in...

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