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What shaped people?

By Amy Li For Mr. Kemp ENG 3UI July 9, 2010


People’s views are often shaped by the other people’s opinions and comments. Although people think they are individuals, sometimes other people’s comments may lead them into a successful future. However, the influencing factors such as circumstances or experiences are a key role in the development of an individual. This process can work in a positive or negative manner. In the poem “Scratch and Dent Dreams,” Eric Darby demonstrates how the experiences and circumstances influence the behavior, opinions and dreams of people. The values and views of each society influence changes in people such as their behaviour, and sometimes turning them into wealthy individuals. With the continuous changes and development of the various elements of our society, people become limited if they do not have accessible money. Darby explains, “I’m just tired of seeing every day people/screaming through these doors convinced/they’re gonna hock even their littlest hopes and dreams to fund their 401Ks” (Darby, line 73-75). Here, people give up their dreams or put them dreams and money for exchange. They become influenced, thus changing their mind sent, and later also influence other individuals to think similarly. Verbal and physical behaviour whether subtle or explicit may change the direction an individual takes also affecting their motivation. The opinions of someone can dramatically alter the motivations of another person. Darby presents two children who sell ice cream on the side of the street and when they are told that they are going to fail, the children stop selling ice cream. For example, “Then you go down the block/to where those two kids are packing up/their peanut butter enterprise/because somebody told them they’d

fail” (line 63-66). Although they enjoy selling ice cream, someone may have told them that selling ice cream would not bring them success so they stopped. Also, Darby explores the positive influences an individual may have on another by giving them choices. He writes, “show her [Momma Genuine] what I gave ya/ she’ll know exactly what you need/… get to work making it all fit./ You won’t have any directions or factory number tabs but don’t panic, /there’s a hundred ways to do it right” (line 39-44). Here the character of the poem is positively motivated because there are many different ways to solve a problem and he is given the opportunity to figure out how to use the tool. An individual’s motivation can push them forward or push them back, towards their dreams. Another factor that influences a child is their parents or guardians who through their actions and experiences influence the child’s dreams. Each child's dreams vary. Darby describes that, “There’s no metaphor there its just good icecream” (line 34). A child’s dreams are simplistic. The child is just trying to do what they see as best and most pleasing to them. On the other hand, a child also does not want to disappoint their parents but rather please them and may give up their original dreams to please them. Some parents only care about reality; there is no value in dreams to them. Children who are primarily influenced by their parents and give up their dreams, forget the past and look forward to what their parents see best for them. Similarly Darby writes, “So here’a what ya do, take a look around/pick out what reminds you of places you wanted to be/but gave up on going and jam it all in this big box called ‘now’”(line 35-37). He suggests that dreams and speculations can be beneficial, but ultimately reality, the “now” as he


states, is what is critical. Thus, no matter the situation an individual is in, they may be influenced, but people have choices and options on the road to their dreams. Each day people develop goals and people give up their goals because of the various influencing factors. The behaviour, the opinions and the dreams an individual develops, like in Eric Darby’s poem may shift, however, the individual that will have to live with the situation is the person themselves. Thus, each human must become conscious of the people, places and situations that influence them since the life one leads is one that they are ultimately responsible for.


Work Cited:
Darby, Eric. "Scratch and Dent Dreams." Youtube. EricDarby, 6 Feb. 2007. Web. 7 July 2010. <>.