Task two: Memoir
The first memory of my childhood that I can think of is the time that my father took me to the circus that was set up annually in the parking lot of Fairview mall. I must have been about four or five years old at the time. I remember leaving his condo building through his private garage, which was filled with hundreds of weird looking and smelling plants. My father used to be a gardener of some sort when I was a toddler, and it was only about ten years later than I realized exactly what sort. At the circus there was gymnasts swinging from high hanging bars and ropes and a lady friend of my father joined us shortly after we arrived. There was what seemed to be a pinnacle of motorcycles suspended in the air by some mary-go-round looking contraption and I vaguely remember lots of flames incorporated into the motorcycle show. Before leaving the circus, my father payed for me to get to hold one of the tiger cubs and I even got to feed it milk from its bottle. I still have a picture of myself feeding the cub in an album somewhere. My mom picked me up from the circus outside the giant tent in the parking lot and we took the bus home. On the bus ride I remember seeing a teenage girl with blue and purple hair wearing a t-shirt with a butterfly on the front. I wondered how she got her hair to grow out blue and I thought it looked so wonderful. Ten years later I had my own blue hair.
Task three: Identity
The first thing I remember is being four years old and making my father take me to the circus to see the show. He wouldn’t have wanted to go if it weren’t for me. I remember getting ready to leave his condo, where my room was the biggest even though I didn’t live there all the time. We left for the circus through his garage
Task four: More Identity
The first thing I remember is being four years old and finally getting to go to the circus before they left town. It was set up annually outside the Fairview mall in Pointe Claire, but lucky for me, my father went with me that year because his lady friend whose name I cannot remember was meeting us there. Brenda? Erica? Monica? Michelle? I’m not sure which one she was. During the show we got to see some wonderful things like motorcycles that looked like they were flying, and people swinging in the air from ropes like monkeys from vines.
Task five: Henry’s Identity
“By the time they called me to dinner I was able to pull up my clothing and walk to the breakfast nook where we at all our meals except on Sunday. There were two pillows on my chair. I sat on them but my legs and ass still burned. My father was talking about his job, as always. […] “Please,” I said, “please excuse my but I don’t feel like eating. . . “You’ll eat your FOOD!” said my father. “Your mother prepared this food!” […]
I began eating. It was terrible. I felt as if I were eating them, what they believed in, what they were. I didn’t chew any of it, I just swallowed to get rid of it. “(Page 41)
In this passage Henry goes to the dinner table after recovering from one of many brutal and unjustified beatings from his father. As much as Henry builds himself up as strong and courageous in his own mind, he was just a child and was actually very powerless. He had this idea of who he wanted to be and imagined that he was that boy, this superstar athlete whom the other kids are intimidated by, but he still had to obey his parents to avoid even more beatings. In this scene he seems nearly pathetic, he has to sit at the table next to his father and play along with his dismissal of the violence. As a child, Henry didn’t have many other options but to swallow up his father’s beliefs. The part where he is eating and saying how it felt as if he were eating what they were and what they believed in and swallowing to get rid of it can be interpreted as him struggling through the dictatorship of his parents throughout his childhood and just let them treat him poorly in order to survive through those years. Even at such a young age he understood that if he were to challenge them or tell them that how they treated him was wrong that he would just be making life harder for himself.