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Patrick K. Yeboah
TSOA Writing the Essay, 8 AM
Blagovesta Momchedjikova
Progression 1, Exercise 5
September 16, 2015

Dear Mrs. Cerros,


I hope this letter finds you very well, as its been a while since we last spoke. As you are
an appreciator of the arts in all of its many different forms, I thought you might find this
interesting. Im writing to tell you about some writings and a painting Ive recently stumbled
upon.
The first literary work is an essay by Ben Staples titled Just Walk on By. In it, he talks
about the ability he and other black men have to change the mood of a space with their presence.
I found it to be enchanting in an almost unsettling way and I was engrossed while reading it. You
know that Im not the type of person to ever be fully immersed in one thing, but I was entirely
invested while reading this essay. It really got me thinking about roles in society and specifically
my role in society. I began to think about the many times Ive been in public and judged
someone for how they looked and consequently began to ponder whether or not people have
judged me for the way I look.
The next piece of literature is a poem by Mark Doty titled Souls on Ice. This piece
focuses on the image of beautiful black fish on a white background of crushed ice. It is a
celebration of the individual, but it also raises questions about humanity, the soul, and the
realities of individuality. I immediately noticed the juxtaposition between the two literary pieces,

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but I also was quite taken by the similarities. In Staples essay, the speaker lacks the feeling that
he can truly be himself under the scrutiny of the public eye and in Dotys poem, the speaker
comments on how although the fish are literally individual beings, he cant see them as such.
Instead, he sees them as one thing, not individual parts of a whole.
There is a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat titled Hollywood Africans. The piece
displays modern caricatures of African American men the way that so many people in the
American media, especially Hollywood, see them. They are in urban clothes and there are
words and phrases on the canvas like gangsterism, heroism, and self-portrait as a heel. It is
absolutely beautiful and I know that you would appreciate it quite a bit. It says so much by
saying so little. I feel like the message isnt really a message, its more of a statement saying
This isnt true, but it easily could be in the near future. Wake up!. It has a lot to do with the
first essay by Staples, especially in terms of race relation and the way different types of people
perceive different types of things.
These three things correlate because they help to tell the story of the struggle, the utmost
human journey; the journey to discover oneself, the journey of seeking truth. The artwork truly
serves as a lens for the texts, because it adds another dimension to their ideas. The texts serve as
lenses for each other. They expand upon a broad topic to make it less abstract and more concrete.
You always taught me to find out more and then find out even more. These three works are truly
some of the most beautiful works Ive experienced.
Im always wishing the best,

Patrick K. Yeboah

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