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An Essay on “The Fastest Runner on Sixty-First Street” by James T. Farrell

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1030
  • Category: Football

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Most people have a dream. Some dream of becoming a professional football player, others dream of becoming president, and some dream of piece in the world. It is good to have a dream, right? Morty had a dream. Morty never got to live his dream. Why? Because he was friends with the wrong people, people who influenced him in a bad way. This is exactly what the text “The Fastest Runner on Sixty-First Street” is about. “The Fastest Runner on Sixty-First Street” is about a boy, Morty Aiken. Morty wasn’t nobody. Morty was somewhat famous in his neighbourhood.

Morty was very fast and a pretty good skater. Most of the others boys envied Morty, they wanted to like him. He was popular, and was good the ladies. Even Tony Rabuski looked up to him. Tony was the toughest kid in Tony’s school. Tony wasn’t like anyone else. Tony was big, fat and was considered the dumbest kid on the school. Tony was called names, like “Polack” or a “dirty Polack”. “If you were a Polack, many girls didn’t want to have anything to do with you … When you were called a name like this, you were looked at as a different kind of a kid from one who wasn’t called a name”

Tony and Morty’s relationship gets stronger and stronger, and at the end it is like their best friends. Tony and Morty ends up doing everything together. The two of them start on a very strange habit, or at the time of the text, it wasn’t that strange. They meet together with the other boys, and they want to find some coloured boys, they can beat up. Their plan is that, Morty is supposed to catch the coloured boys, and then Tony would come after, and beat the boys. “Morty went with them.

He didn’t particularly like to beat anyone up…”, Even though Morty wasn’t a big fan of it he did anyway, because his relationship with Tony was so strong. It doesn’t end well, because one day when they’re out hunting for coloured boys, Morty is in pursuit of a coloured boy, but suddenly he boy turned in to a valley, where Morty was jumped. He got his throat cut over and died, this is the climax of the story, if you follow the narrative composition. The setting of the story, is in Chicago, where most of the events in going on in Washington Park.

It is going on in 1919, so that also explains why, there is so much difference between the white and the coloured, and why they beat up of the coloured boys. It is a third person narrator, that is telling the story. The pros of having a third person narrator, is for example, that you can see things from different point of views, so you don’t just hear it from one person. There is also focus on more people, in this occasion it is Morty and Tony. It didn’t end well for Morty, and some may argue that it was because of Tony.

Tony and Morty are so different from each other. Morty is very good kid, and has a bright future, and a lot of kid looks up to Morty. That was a short description of Morty, and if you look at Tony on the other hand, it isn’t so positive. A lot of the things that is being said about Morty, is very positive and about how he is going to be an Olympic champion one day. You get told what dreams he have, and what his parents is doing for a living, and what a great life Morty has.

When there is being talked about Tony, it is more negative, and about how he’s very poor, and why he’s going in black clothes, for example: “Often, he came to school wearing a black shirt, because a black shirt didn’t show the dirt the way that other shirts did. His parents couldn’t afford to buy him many shirts”. Tony is big, haven’t got a bright future and in the start of the story he is being bullied and called names by the other kids. They are maybe not the two, you had seen becoming best friends, but they did.

Tony had a bad influence on Morty, you can deny that. Morty was set to have a bright future, and was on his way to becoming a great star. Tony spoiled that a little. If Morty hadn’t become friends with Tony, he wouldn’t have chased the coloured boy, and then he wouldn’t have been killed. Tony was different to Morty. Like I said earlier, they weren’t exactly the two’s you had guessed would become best friends. They are so different. Morty is a good kid, and should have chosen friends that were like him, friends that maybe had the same dreams as Morty.

When you compare the two, Tony’s life feels very bad if you compare it to Morty’s. Maybe that is the meaning, the narrator and the writer want you to see the difference between the two, and show how Morty is being influenced in a bad way. I think that is the point of the story. You need to choose the right people to hang out with, because if you choose poorly, they can influence you in a bad way, and then you might end up like Morty. If for example Morty had pick this girl, Edna, to hang out with, he wouldn’t have ended up, like he did.

Edna would have been good for Morty, then he didn’t have to things he didn’t want to, like chasing coloured boys. He could have lived a better life. I think that is the meaning of the story. ‘ It is good to have dreams, but if you want to follow them, and make them come true, you have to do it right. If you for example compare it to the world now, you can’t dream about becoming a professional runner like Morty, if you hang out with friends, that goes out to drink every weekend. You can’t do that, so you need the right people around you, if you want to follow you dream, like Morty should have done.

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