Here is a poem from the novel (this happens to be my all time favourite poem).
is a question of strength,
of unshed tears,
of being trampled under,
and always, always remembering you are human
Look deep to find the grains of hope and strength,
and sing, my brothers and sisters
and sing. The sun will share
your birthdays with you behind bars,
the new spring grass
like fiery spears will count your years,
as you start into the next year;
endure my brothers, endure my sisters.
1. Baca bases his whole novel on his hard life and his overcoming of obstacles to become a better person. Many people say that it is possible to change one's entire personality, other people say it is completely impossible. After reading this summary of the novel and seeing how he has changes his perspective, do you think that it is completely possible that this could happen, or do you believe that his criminal instincts are still lurking underneath his do-good character?
2. Baca grows up completely illiterate. In one instance, he signs a contract on the subject of his jail sentence and he has no idea what it says. Once he learns to read it's as though his whole life has turned around and he begins to see the good in life. He soon discovers poetry and this becomes his sole outlet in life. As stressed as we teenagers are, what is/are your outlets to life that keep you sane?