Character Analysis: Child of the Dark

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Patrick McGuire Latin American History 3/17/2010 Child of the Dark Essay I found Child of the Dark interesting because Carolina’s diary captures both her highs and lows emotionally. She can be very judgmental but also sympathetic. Her upbringing had a great influence on the shaping of her character. She was an illegitimate child of her father who was married to another woman. Because of this, she was treated as an outcast growing up. She had a very aggressive personality because she was always defending herself. But most importantly, she went to school just long enough to learn how to read and write. This ability and her passion for education separated from the rest in the favelas, "I don't know how to sleep without reading. I like to leaf through a book. The book is man's best invention so far. " (Jesus 17) Race seems to not be an issue with Carolina as much as education. She is a well educated and self-sufficient black mother and has difficulty dealing with the ignorance of those living in the favelas. When she mentions race, she always ties it back to education. As she mentions the anniversary of the Abolition, she says “In the jails the Negroes were the scapegoats. But now the whites are more educated and don’t treat us any more with contempt. May God enlighten the whites so that the Negroes may have a happier life. ” (Jesus 23) She doesn’t pass judgment on the whites as a race, she blames ignorance. This is quite unique, because she frequently mentions that she is harassed for being black throughout her diary. Beyond education, she also considered herself a very devout catholic. She considers God her greatest asset as she deals with the temptation to steal food or other necessities. She states that favela life leads people with normally good moral conscience to do things they normally wouldn’t. She takes pride in the fact she supports her children without stealing and attributes her faith. Though Carolina defies a number of stereotypes about the poor, her views of the world are definitely influenced by her class standing. By comparison, class is significantly more important to Carolina than race. Though she states that education is the solution to racism, she also has a condescending view of the elite, who she believes to be exploitative and pretentious. Throughout the diary, Carolina reveals herself as a complicated individual. She describes life in the favelas as hopeless, yet she manages to rise above it in many ways. By being the exception to the rule, she further complicates the issues at hand. She describes and experiences firsthand the social and economic weight that falls upon the lower class. She believes the conditions are unreasonably difficult and expresses this difficulty by comparing it to slavery, “The birthday of my daughter, Vera Eunice. I wanted to buy a pair of shoes for her, but the price of feed keeps us from realizing our desires. Actually we are slaves to the cost of living. I found a pair of shoes in the garbage, washed them, and patched them for her to wear. " (Jesus 3) At the same time doesn’t excuse them from responsibility for their own choices, "I can take the ups and downs of life. If I can't store up courage to live, I've resolved to store up patience. " (Jesus 10)
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