The purpose of my essay is to analyze three literary works: “Shiloh” by Bobbie Ann Mason, “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara, and “Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes. These pieces all explore themes related to values, morals, beliefs, and cultural customs. In the story “Shiloh,” a couple in a community confronts the realization that their values, morals, and beliefs differ from each other. In “The Lesson,” we follow a teacher’s efforts to empower the youth in her community. Meanwhile, Langston Hughes’ poem “Dream Deferred” raises questions about the consequences of delaying one’s values and offers alternative perspectives. Is it acceptable to scorn or disrespect others just because they do not possess knowledge or interest in the same values, morals, beliefs, or culture? Personally speaking, I believe that everyone has the right to their own viewpoints and should be treated with respect accordingly.
Leroy, a professional trucker, has been injured in an accident and may no longer be able to drive his large truck. Consequently, he spends most of his time at home now. This is a new situation for Leroy, and Norma Jean is also not used to having him at home all the time. This sudden change makes her feel uncomfortable. Norma Jean works at Rexall, a drugstore, where she often receives unexpected visits from her critical mother Mabel Beasley regarding her housekeeping skills.
Since Leroy hurt his leg in the accident, he has been undergoing physical therapy. As part of his therapy routine, Norma Jean starts exercising and building up her pectoral muscles by lifting dumbbells.
During this period of reflection on things he seldom noticed before due to being on the road so often, Leroy realizes how much both Norma Jean and their marriage have changed over time.
While contemplating these changes,
Norma Jean casually brings up her work and talks about different stages of complexion: creams, toners, and moisturizers. Even though cosmetics are unfamiliar territory for Leroy,
he can make connections with other petroleum products like axle grease and diesel fuels that he’s more familiar with.
Despite their differing perspectives,
Norma Jean and Leroy manage to connect with each other and appreciate
the advantages of petroleum products.
The author uses literature
to illustrate how Norma Jean and Leroy find common ground even when they view things differently.