ALL SOULS REFLECTIVE ESSAY Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 23 April 2016

ALL SOULS REFLECTIVE ESSAY

Michael Patrick Macdonald was bought up in Southie’s Old Colony housing project. He describes the way this world felt to the troubled yet keenly gifted observer he was even as a child. With radiant insight, he opens up a contradictory world, where residents are troubled by gangs and crime but refuse to admit any problems, remaining fiercely loyal to their community. MacDonald also introduces us to the unforgettable people who inhabit this proud neighborhood. We meet his mother, Ma MacDonald, an accordion-playing, spiked-heel-wearing, indomitable mother to all; Whitey Bulger, the lord of Southie, gangster and father figure, protector and punisher; and Michael’s beloved siblings, nearly half of whom were lost forever to drugs, murder, or suicide.

By turns explosive and touching, All Souls ultimately shares a powerful message of hope, renewal, and redemption. Macdonald eloquently describes us to us the importance of family, friends, race and everything in between. ”All Souls is the written equivalent of an Irish wake where revelers dance and sing the dead person’s praises.” Michael Patrick MacDonald was in third grade when the riots broke out.

“The man ran from the crowd as people threw rocks at him,” MacDonald writes. ”He was trying to get away, but there was nowhere to go. . . . ‘Kill the nigger!’ my neighbor shouted. That was Molly’s mother, running to join the commotion. Molly’s mother is a prime symbol of what MacDonald tries to explain about race in Southie. She is despised, impoverished and barely surviving in a dismal housing project. By shouting ”Kill the nigger,” she displays the only attribute that sets her above the blacks that she so hates.

MacDonald’s account is filled with vivid episodes: of his brother Davey’s horrific incarceration in Mass Mental and ultimate suicide; of the time Helen took her older kids to the hospital, where her current lover was a patient, to beat him up after he denied he was the father of the child she was carrying; of the murder of his brother Frankie by his compatriots after the police shot him in an armored-car robbery. But perhaps most shocking is the accusation that the FBI was paying Southie’s leading gangster, Whitey Bulger, as an informant although they knew he was the neighborhood kingpin.

Within the closed world of the projects, there is a code of silence about the extent of death and destruction around them. In certain ways, my group walkabout through Boston’s Chinatown did reflect what Macdonald wrote in his novel, not through the drugs,the gangs or violence that existed during the time, but through the solidarity and compassion the residents feel for each other.

Like Macdonald’s mother, “Ma” who managed to raise ten children despite various abusive relationships and other difficulties of life; the people of Chinatown and other Boston towns never seem to let the signs of the times affect their livelihood or wellbeing. No matter what kind of hardships they encounter, the family unit always comes first, an admirable trait difficult to come by. MacDonald’s conversational style whips readers in rage towards the unfairness of the uncontrollable situations, and makes them long for the type of tight-knit community that existed in South Boston decades ago. This is a powerful story that finally captures the essence of long-ignored Southie. As New York Times put it–“The book leavens tragedy with humor but preserves the heartbreaking details”

MLA: “All Souls: A Family Story from Southie: Michael Patrick …” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012 .

“Michael Patrick MacDonald – All Souls: A Family Story from …” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012 .

“A Prayer for the Dead – The New York Times – Breaking News …” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012 .

“A Prayer for the Dead – The New York Times – Breaking News …” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012 .

“All Souls: A Family Story from Southie: Michael Patrick …” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012 .

“John’s Book Reviews: All Souls – University of California …” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012 .

Free ALL SOULS REFLECTIVE ESSAY Essay Sample

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  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 23 April 2016

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