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Literary Analysis of the Tattoo by Chris McKinney



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    Ken Hideous, a tough, insightful man. McKinney describes the many hardships regarding the three suns’ in Ken’s life: his parents, his brother and his girl. Through the use of the three suns, McKinney reveals that the extent of their impact on your success or failure is based on the degree of what makes them important to you. First, McKinney shows the impact your parents have on you as child, shapes who you become and what you achieve as a person.

    Ken’s mom loved Ken with all her heart. “She lifted me into her arms. Her bare feet squashed down on the poky acorns (19). ” This quote shows how much Ken’s mom would do for her son. She was an educator and wanted the best for him; she wanted him to have the best feet, the best education and the best parents for him. However, Ken’s mom died when Ken was at the tender age of seven. This impacted Ken greatly; he felt angry at her for abandoning him, but he also felt he needed to fulfill his mothers expectations.

    Her hopes for a bright future or him were so apparent that Ken felt it would disappoint her and her love for him greatly if he didn’t fulfill them. So, he managed to leave the Windward side and escape. He escaped by trying to go to college and make a better future for himself. He broke free from the chains of the Windward side and became fearless from doing the unknown. Ken’s need to fulfill his mothers expectations shows how parents can have a big impact on your success. If they expect and support you, you will strive to do your best.

    Secondly, Chris McKinney revealed how your best bud or brother, in Ken’s ease, can affect your success or failure. Aka was Ken’s best friend and someone Ken looked up to. He was, “born not giving a sit Loud and funny. Emotional… He was a magnet of excitement, blind to consequence. Immune to self-analysis, guilt and fear from birth (49). ” Aka was obviously super fun to be around, and he attracted people to him. Contrary to Soak’s fearless personality, Ken grew up afraid and the neighborhood whipping boy. However, Ken started building up his ego and becoming more confident in his adolescent years.

    At this time he met Aka. Aka was at the time what Ken wanted to be. Because of that admiration, he was down to do whatever Aka wanted. And what Aka wanted was to have fun; this came in forms of drugs, violence and danger. This affected Ken because his grades started dropping, he was arrested and he was getting into all sorts of trouble. However, he didn’t get hooked on drugs; this prevented him from totally plummeting down. Despite not getting hooked on drugs, Ken’s admiration for Aka allowed Aka to take Ken down the wrong path. A path that could have trapped Ken in Keelhaul forever.

    Lastly, Chris McKinney shows how much the third sun you try so hard to protect can impact you. Ken loved Claudia with all his heart. “Claudia didn’t look like the usual parry girl that came in once a while… She walked in alone with no make-up, no jewelry. She just looked around in a disinterested manner (109). ” Claudia was a sword fish in a river full of medusas; she was unique. This is what drew Ken love and protect her. Because he wanted to protect her, he didn’t want Claudia to get trapped in his twisted ideals, but he also wanted to keep her close to him.

    It was the need to keep her close that made it easy to kill the three Korean men because he had to return back to her. It was that need that allowed him to take her to the dark side, Keelhaul, so he could keep her close. It was that need that killed his father to protect her and any descendent she would give birth to with him. Because he had the need to protect her, he ended up in jail. A definite failure to most; however, it was actually a success. It hid the Hideous legacy away from all future generations, annulling the Hideous legacy of violence.

    In summary, In the novel, The Tattoo, Chris McKinney explains to us that our success or failure is based off of the impact of the three sun’s characters on you. You see in the world today armies full of men. What do you think made them choose this lifestyle? Their love for the government? No. It was the values of their families, the decisions of their friends and their need to protect who they love. If their family believes that fighting in wars is noble and prized, they will expect you to join the military. If all your friends are joining, you don’t want to be left alone, so you will join, too.

    If you feel that the love of your life is going to be threatened, you will try your hardest to protect him/ her, so you will join the military. Often times, soldiers aren’t given a choice in joining, and they might not even mind it. However, they are just like Ken. Living up to expectations, doing things that the people you admire are doing and protecting those you love. Ken Hedonism’s values may be twisted, regarding his codes, but his feeling and decisions towards others are completely understandable. And, it is these feeling and decisions he formed that has impacted his success/failure.

    Literary Analysis of the Tattoo by Chris McKinney. (2018, Feb 01). Retrieved from

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