Archive for the ‘Narrative/Illustrative Essay’ Category

Operation SURVIVE

April 8, 2009

by Chiemela Ogbonna

Instructor’s note: Don’t skip this powerful account of one of the most heart-breaking events in modern history. In researching this piece, Chiemela interviewed his father, who was a boy in Biafra at the time of the genocide.

It was the year of 1968. What did my dad see when he leered out his cut-out concrete opening on his wall during that morning? He saw enormous clouds of smoke from distant forests, army tanks ripping through forests, bloody corpses, and flanks of soldiers marching down the roads of his village with grimaced countenances. He saw inferno engulf corpses of innocent villagers. When my dad was about 11 years of age, he and his family were among “3 million Igbo refugees . . .” ( Metz 114) struggling to survive the horrific conditions of a Nigerian Civil War called the Biafra War.


Two-Toned: Grandma Joyce’s Story

December 13, 2008

By Quiana Tilghman

Instructor’s note: Quiana is a local high school student getting a jump on college by taking Introductory Composition early. She researched this true tale of a family torn apart by race in the era of segregation by reading obituaries and interviewing family members. Her family has kindly consented for this important piece of local history to be shared with the world.

Have you ever seen two children who are brothers and sisters, but they are two totally different skin tones? Let’s say one of the children is caramel skin tone and the other is chocolate skin tones, but the only reason you know they are brothers and sisters is because of the resemblance. What would you do if this happened to you? How would you deal with this situation if it happened during segregation? Would you keep your family together and endure the hell or split your family apart for an easier life? To you this may be a psychological question but for my great-grandmother this was an ultimate decision. Though she may not have known it then, the effects of her decision are still evident today. (more…)


December 13, 2008

By “Breaking Point”

I felt so stupid. Why did I feel that I had to do something wrong just to fit in? I read this article called, “Surrounding Pressure.” It talks about how peer pressure in America shapes crime and drug users because kids listen to their peers and don’t have the self-esteem to say “No.” I was one of those kids.

I wish I had the self-esteem to say “No” before I went to the mall with my friends that Saturday. (more…)

A Father’s Press

December 6, 2008

By Anonymous

Instructor’s Note: This student wrote this very moving essay in response to an assignment earlier in the term but wanted to share it with the world here.

A particular man in my life was an alcoholic. His name is [name omitted] and he is my dad. He would leave for days, to go out in the street to drink and do drugs. I would watch him in the hallway just as he would get dressed. He would go into the closet to get a plain shirt and grab these light denim blue jeans, with a crease going down the middle with the little rip on the back pocket. He would spray this Burberry cologne so much that every time, I was left in the house coughing for about an extra five minutes. My dad had these boots that I hated so much. They were black Timberlands so when they looked a little dull he would use some Vaseline to shine them up. They leaned to the side so badly that you thought he was walking on the side of his feet. He would grab his keys and out the door he went. And every time I would say, “Hey dad where you going?” He’d say, “Granny I’ll be right back.”

One hot, Sunday in June — I can recall the degrees being in the upper 90’s — I got a phone call saying that my dad was being rushed to the hospital. (more…)