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The Runaway Son by Brent Staples - Book Report/Review Example

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Brent Staples is a well-known writer who has penned several articles and short stories. Among one of his most popular pieces of work is The Runaway Son. This story is basically about forming perspectives in life depending on the environment one is brought up in…
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The Runaway Son by Brent Staples

Download file to see previous pages... The main protagonist of the story is a young boy who runs away from home and the perspectives that shape his life. Perspectives are the basis of one's life experiences. Without perspectives, we are devoid of the very capability of garnering worthwhile learning from life's experiences. This is the basic argument of the story penned by Brent Staples. In this story, the young boy sees various people and various things that teach him a lot in life. For example, the line, "for some people, a four year old beyond its mother's reach is invisible," shows great depth in the thought process that has evolved in the boy's mind. This shows that the boy's basic perspective revolves around the sphere of worthwhile learning and what he measures and perceives as worthwhile learning. (Brent, 1994; Pp 285 - 292)
What learning is 'worthwhile learning' This is decided by the cognitive development of a person in terms of his or her general competencies as demonstrated within and outside the educational institution. This fact can be found in the very tone of the story as well as the characterisations. It could be argued that any learning that contributes to the overall shaping of a person's cognitive development for positive interactions within their various spheres of operation are the determinants of what learning is 'worthwhile learning'. This is where the basic symbolic beauty of the story lies. Also, it is decided from his or her social position which affects the criteria of people of what is worthwhile due to the different needs and potentialities that exist in each social class. This fact raises some social issues about the inequality between people to gain access to privileged education. (Brent, 1994; Pp 285 - 292)

Inequality is another important theme that helps the boy in this story learn. He forms his basis for learning upon the things he sees and perceives around him through the reactions of people to those things. This is where his experience begins in the story. But how do experiences structure any kind of learning Usually, it has been believed that the education system begins at home, for example involving the learning of specific sets of values. To begin with, the role of experience and learning from the same in one's life is one that fulfils the need to belong. This sense of belonging rises from one's immediate environment where there is focus on the values that one is born into and more characteristics like culture, region, and terrain. It should, of course, be acknowledged that not all learning in the home will necessarily be helpful as sometimes children can learn behaviours from parents that are not acceptable in wider society like to be racist or sexist. Experience offers people first-hand knowledge of a variety of symbols that come to be associated with a certain place or time. (Brent, 1994; Pp 285 - 292)


In the story, the young boy sees his sister Christi's injuries due to burns and his life comes to a standstill at the doctor's office where the story begins. His father's drinking further adds to his perception of the disorder that one can easily fall into in one's life. This helps the boy develop an affinity towards the informal means of learning. Informal education begins in a person's life from the time he or she is born and continues throughout lifespan. Also, it is related to everyday life via work, family and leisure activities, and usually does not lead to certification. Formal education through an educational ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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