Horrors Of Ghetto Life Exposed In Whoreson And Dopefiend

4187 words - 17 pages

Horrors of Ghetto Life Exposed in Whoreson and Dopefiend

        Donald Goines's lived the majority of his life either on the streets of the ghetto or in jail-because he was supporting himself and his heroin addiction by taking part in many illegal activities. During the last of his many prison terms, Goines finally found his way out of having to rely on crime for his way of living. He did this by writing about his life on the streets. His first two books, Whoreson and Dopefiend, were actually written during his last prison term. One critic of Goines, his biographer Eddie Stone, says the following about these books: "Whoreson, like most of Donald Goines's books, is autobiographical . . . . Donald wrote Dopefiend from personal experience, and the pages of the novel draw the reader into that world with almost hypnotic rhythm" (145, 151-52). It is because of the fact that Goines was writing from experience that he was able to make reading one of his books such a captivating and harrowing experience. These books are similar because they are both realistic portrayals of the negative aspects of ghetto life, and they are both Goines's attempts to try to keep the next generation of young black people from making the same mistakes that he did. However, these books differ because Dopefiend is a more truthful, autobiographical portrayal of what Goines's life was really like than Whoreson is.


Goines's ghetto, as portrayed in Whoreson, is essentially the same ghetto he lived in all his life, which makes his portrayal of the negative aspects of ghetto life quite realistic. Therefore, because Goines was writing from experience, this makes his portrayal of the ghetto all the more realistic. In fact, Stone, even quotes passages from Whoreson, in his biography on Goines, as being true descriptions of how Goines lived as a teenager on the streets of Detroit: "Trickology must be used whenever it was impossible to rip something off. Artifice became my bible, as I learned to play stuff, the shell game, pigeon drop and three card molly" (35). This is one of the negative aspects of ghetto life that Goines and Whoreson spent almost their whole young adulthood hustling. Furthermore, this quote is also representative of one of Goines's philosophies about the ghetto, as expressed by critic, Greg Goode: "Because Goines's ghettos are like zero-sum-game societies in which one man's gain must be another's loss, his characters cannot thrive or even survive without breaking the law" (43). After considering this quote, it can be said that the lives of Goines's characters, like Whoreson, are dramatized for fictional effect because in reality one man's gain does not necessarily always have to be at another's loss. However, his characters do not recognize this; so, they end up living very exciting and precarious lives completely supported by illegal/criminal activities.


Another negative aspect of ghetto life, which Goines portrays realistically, is that...

Find Another Essay On Horrors of Ghetto Life Exposed in Whoreson and Dopefiend

The Horrors of War in Regeneration and All quiet on the Western Front

1739 words - 7 pages As Bertrand Russell once said “War does not determine who is right - only who is left.” No one ever truly wins a wart. The horrors of war are devastating; both mentally and physically. The horror is not only ever present during life on the Frontline, it lives on in the survivors guilt. I believe that althought the horror of war is represented in the soldiers, we are all too quick to forget about the feelings of those at home, the friends and

Charles Dickens Exposes the Dangers and Horrors of Victorian London in Oliver Twist

4599 words - 18 pages ' descriptions of setting have made it apparent to the reader the very real dangers and horrors that haunt London's streets. He has succeeded to show his readers what a terrible life it was to be poor and forced to subsist in these harsh circumstances. Dickens' characterisation is also imperative to the persuasion of dangers and horrors. There are many different characters whose presence is necessary in the progression of

The Horrors of a Child Soldier and Its Prevalence in Africa

1659 words - 7 pages Throughout history there have been people, under the radar, crying out for help against the social injustices that strip them of their rights to live a normal life. Whether it be on a large or small scale, people all over the world are becoming victims of a cruel and weary lifestyle. Among the more prevalent, the practice of child soldiering has proved to be a very serious social injustice issue. The horrors these children face are unfathomable

Critique of Actors in Charles Griffith's Little Shop of Horrors

897 words - 4 pages Critique of Actors in Charles Griffith's Little Shop of Horrors Little Shop Horrors is a story about a man who finds an unusual plant in a Chinese market. The man, Seymour nurses the Venus flytrap like plant to full health by his blood. The plant wins him everything he could want, respect, love and money. All to be lost in unity at the end. The main plot of little shop of Horrors revolves around Seymour. Seymour's ambition of Audrey to

Tennessee Williams' Life Exposed in A Streetcar Named Desire

966 words - 4 pages Streetcar Named Desire,” has a direct reference to his life struggles. His life, the issues faced by the characters in this story, and how they compare give a whole new perspective to the reader. Any reader can better understand the work of an author by knowing a little of the biographical information on that author. The author, Tennessee Williams, directly relates his life to his works. He was born to Cornelius and Edwina Williams, and had two

Bourgeois Suburban Life Exposed in The Swimmer, by John Cheever

810 words - 4 pages John Cheever: Drowning in the Suburbs—“The Swimmer” “The Swimmer”, written by John Cheever, is a story about the life of a middle-aged man living in a bourgeois American suburbia. I chose to write on “The Swimmer” based on its universal themes of the American Dream and life and hardship in suburbia. The story is very true to the lives of many Americans living the American Dream today. Keeping up with the Jones’ is part of this dream and

Stirring up the North to See the Horrors of Slavery: Harriet Jacobs’s Narrative "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl"

1074 words - 4 pages Educating the North of the horrors of slavery through the use of literature was one strategy that led to the questioning, and ultimately, the abolition of slavery. Therefore, Harriet Jacobs’s narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is very effective in using various tactics in order to get women in the North to pay attention and question the horrifying conditions in the South. By acknowledging that not all slaveholders were inhumane

Horrors of WWI Reflected in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Writing

3156 words - 13 pages Certain authors, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, wanted to reflect the horrors that the world had experienced not a decade ago. In 1914, one of the most destructive and pointless wars in history plagued the world: World War I. This war destroyed a whole generation of young men, something one would refer to as the “Lost Generation”. Modernism was a time that allowed the barbarity of the war to simmer down and eventually, disappear altogether. One

The Horrors of War: Coping In The Things They Carried

2030 words - 9 pages Author and Vietnam veteran Tim Obrien writes of the horrors of the Vietnam War through a collection of related short stories in his novel, The Things They Carried. It is a work of fiction mixed with bits of truth based on his experiences during the war. The novel is heralded by many as a modern classic and one of the quintessential novels to read in a lifetime. The novel has inspired two feature films, and can be found on the required

The Horrors of War in the Modern Era

1466 words - 6 pages understanding of the horrors that an individual faced during a violent period. The American Civil War, a war fought against the issue of slavery, was one which initially started due to distinctive interests between the Northern and Southern states. As written in the Emancipation during the Civil War, “When the war began Union policy strictly forbade interference with the institution of slavery” (Emancipation during the Civil War in Sources, 228). In

Enslaving Nature of Love Exposed in Lucretius

826 words - 3 pages Enslaving Nature of Love Exposed in Lucretius    In Dryden's Lucretius, the speaker argues that (1) Love is a sickness, (2) Love's sickness enslaves, and (3) all attempts to remedy Love's sickness are vain and will only frustrate the lover. Just as Milton's Adam and Eve become enslaved to sin by disobeying God, so mankind becomes enslaved to Love when pierced with Cupid's "winged arrow". In Milton, there is redemption and

Similar Essays

Meaning Of Life Exposed In Riverworld

2972 words - 12 pages Meaning of Life Exposed in Riverworld       In the Riverworld series, Philip Jose Farmer grapples with many aspects of human nature.  The series is not about the evolution of humanity, nor mankind's instinctive desire to become dominant over nature.  It is actually about spiritual reformation, and the quest to make oneself a better person.  Through the failure of Samuel Clemens' quest, the triumph of Richard Burton's journey, and the

Communism Exposed In One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich And Crime And Punishment

1565 words - 6 pages Many of Man's struggles are usually the result of societal standards, control, and punishment. These struggles are present in both One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Through setting and internal monologue, both authors depict the effects of the brutalities of communism on Man's spirituality. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich demonstrates the brutalities of

The Life Of Guy De Maupassant Exposed In The Necklace

2400 words - 10 pages The life of an author may often reflect through their works. This is the case in the short story, The Necklace, written by Guy de Maupassant. An ironic and a self-explanatory tale, The Necklace is written filled with twists that might just make you doubt your stand in life. Characters which anyone might not think much about, symbols that many seem to miss, and principles that few seem to understand, The Necklace might just be short but with it

Compare And Contrast How Effectively Jane Yolen And Roberto Benigni Convey The Horrors Of The Holocaust In Briar Rose And Life Is Beautiful

787 words - 3 pages Untitled Compare and contrast how effectively Jane Yolen and Roberto Benigni convey the horrors of the Holocaust in Briar Rose and Life is Beautiful. Jane Yolen and Roberto Benigni both use similar and different techniques within their texts - Briar Rose and Life is Beautiful (1997) - to effectively convey the horrors of the Holocaust. The first technique used to express the perils of Jews in WWII is the use of the fairytale genre