First Year Winner: Against All Odds
WRIT 1700, Writing: Process and Practice. CD: Jon Sufrin.
“Against all Odds” is a response to a “familiar essay” assignment, the culminating stage in a portfolio which includes a scene, sources, and a journey. A child arrives in England from a first home in Jamaica, and the writer’s rich description uses the sights, smells, and sounds of this new setting to bring the young protagonist’s disappointment to the reader. The journey in the essay is built through the writer’s engagement with others, especially with poems by Maya Angelou and Russell Kelfer, as the essay shows us not only how it feels to have one’s humanity threatened for the first time, but what it means to find purpose in moving through, and beyond, that experience. Grounding their personal account in the social, connecting school and “the school of hard knocks,” to poetry and sociology, the writer shows the tenacity and determination required to survive racism which, the author reflects, is not only based on “ignorance” but “cruelty”.