Unforeseen Consequences Essay
No matter what kind of journey we make of life, where we started out will always be a part of us. The greatest place of fortune any of us can enjoy in this world is to be born into a loving family. Unfortunately, in the two stories, The River and The Artificial Nigger, the innocent children that were brought into this world, got a glimpse of how cruel this world can be. These children are neglected as they are in search for some sense of direction.
The children are the ones who have to suffer the consequences of selfish parenting.As a result, the child becomes more independent and has practically no one to look up too for guidance. In The River, at the very beginning of the story, Harry, changes his name to Bevel. This can be interpreted as lack of identity as he doesn’t know whom he really is. As the parents are often involved in many social gatherings, Harry is often left on the sidelines.
He is been entrusted with an external figure, this being his babysitter, who provides his basic needs, in which he hardly receives at home. At home, he takes care of his own self.He makes his own meals, as no one is willing to do it for him. In this story it is clear that Harry’s parents are not prepared to foster a child.
Harry has not been given any direction from his parents. The behavior of his parents can be described as egocentric and selfish. They are too self-centered. As the basic moral teachings of a child should come from its home, Harry receives no guidance on this subject at all.
He was never told the difference between what is right and wrong. When Harry’s babysitter takes him to her house, Harry encounters a book, which looked attractive as he was amazed by it.It was a book that originated from 1832, thus making it priceless. Given the purity of a child, Harry steals the book, and takes it home to his parents.
When his family discovers the book that Harry stole, all they could think of was “instant cash”. Thus totally ignoring the fact that the book was stolen. What should have been said was that he was wrong in doing such a thing, and that he should return it to its rightful owner, his babysitter, Mrs. Conin. As a result of bad parenting, Harry intentionally seeks guidance and love elsewhere. The fact has established in his mind that his parents don’t love him.
Through out the story, he is always seeking attention, just like how any other child would do. He finds his guidance in Mrs. Conin, his babysitter as she takes him to a revival meeting down by the local river as a supposedly famous preacher is conducting it. The preacher states to the people that if they accept god into their lives that they will go to heaven. Harry witnessed people being baptized as the preacher said that this is the river of life, which will lead to the Kingdom of God.
Harry so innocently believes that it literally means, it’s the gateway to meet God.His dependence in his way thinking was derived through his parents by not giving any form of guidance. Sadly, Harry commits suicide, unknowingly, also as a consequence of bad poor parenting as he perceives that going into the river, is a way of meeting God. True to certain extent, as in ones view, he is probably better of in god’s hands, as his parents don’t even believe in god. However in The Artificial Nigger, the grandfather is put into a very awkward position as the absence of his counterpart, his wife, and the daughter leaving him, he is totally unprepared to foster a child.Nelson, so sadly has to go through life with a man that holds very poor parental skills.
As the grandfather is so domineering and egocentric, he also thinks too much of himself. The grandfather washes his hands of whenever Nelson gets into trouble. One example of this, is when Nelson accidentally knocks down the old lady, Mr. Head (the grandfather) makes a statement that he has no connection with Nelson, and just walks off leaving Nelson to deal with the situation himself. Mr. Head also provides Nelson with an incorrect view on society.
He plants the idea into Nelson that African Americans were a harm to society.How they don’t deserve to be here because at first, Nelson has no clue, what an African American looks like. Nelson becomes so dependent on his grandfather, as he cannot think for himself. His grandfather dictated trough out the story, every move Nelson made.
Mr. Head is angered by the fact that Nelson still has a soft spot for the African Americans, as he goes up and talks to a lady who receives him with open arms. The grandfather also exploits the dependency of Nelson when he looses his direction after he gets away with knocking down the lady.He increases his pace as he tries to catch up with the grandfather. All this while, Nelson had just been swallowing the incorrect knowledge the grandfather possessed. His view on society influences Nelson into thinking that all African Americans are bad.
Nevertheless there comes a point in time where, Nelson looses his faith in the grandfather, and just runs off. This occurs after Nelson is shaken from his sleep due to the childishness off Mr. Head to test Nelson’s dependency towards him. As Mr.Head had already provided Nelson with a frame in mind that all African Americans were a harm to society, Nelson said at the end of the story that he never wanted to return to this city again, which was evidently his place of birth.
One could imagine, his general view on society, as negative thoughts would only cloud his minds, as all of this was a result of bad parenting. From this, one can safely conclude that parents should love and care for their kid if they decide to foster one. They should and have to bare all responsibilities that come with it the child.It’s all part of a package. It is their duty to guide and draw a path, which will make their kid successful in life. Religion plays an important part here; as the parental figures in both stories, don’t believe in God.
The misguided ness of children is basically a major consequence of selfish parenting. Both parental figures in the stories are egocentric, and selfish, as they are only concerned about their own affairs. As a result of misguidance and selfish parenting, in some cases, in this case in The River, brings about a fatal ending to a child who was innocent of everything.