Author: Brianna Forgione


Throughout the book Clays Arc there has been a reoccurring theme of a lack of consent. Consent is the permission from both parties for something to happen or an agreement to do something. The characters in Clays Arc, Blake, Keira, and Rane, have been taken away from their homes without their consent, and have been forced to live in hiding. While living in these homes they have come into contact with a deadly disease that has been spread onto them yet again without their consent.

Consent is black and white. Unfortunately the struggle of consent has been prominent for decades. One major topic relating to lack of consent is medical experimentation on slaves. Although slavery no longer exists, the repercussions are still relevant today. According to this Daily News New York article, protesters demanded a removal of  a Central Park statue of 19th century doctor who experimented on slave women. The doctor’s name was J Marion Sims.  The article writes, “Sims, a South Carolina native, is considered by some to be the ‘father of modern gynecology.’ He developed a surgery to treat a tear women sometimes suffer after childbirth and founded the first hospital designed specifically for women in 1855. But Sims honed his craft in the 19th century by carrying out a series of experimental operations on African-American slave women — without using anesthesia.” Although Sims may have thought he was helping these women, he did not take into consideration the unethical work he was committing. Consent is not something to take lightly. It occurs daily whether it be intentional or not. I believe it is important for students to be informed about the topic of consent to help diminish possible problems in the future.


Each year in the U.S., approximately 12 million adults who seek outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed” according to a CBS News article. How is it possible that 12 million people are so easily misdiagnosed I think to myself but then I remember that I too have been misdiagnosed, even more than once.


A medical misdiagnosis is anything that a certified doctor diagnoses their patient with, but it ending up being incorrect. This is extremely dangerous because it can possibly harm the patient. In today’s society doctors visits tend to be rather rushed which is a factor in the possibility of being misdiagnosed. The CBS article discusses the possible ways a patient can help diminish the possibility of being misdiagnosed such as following up after one’s appointment because, “You can’t assume that if you don’t hear anything it’s good news…no news is not necessarily good news.” I do agree that no news isn’t necessarily a good thing but I believe that it is the responsibility of the doctor to inform their patient if there is in fact a diagnosis. As a patient, we pay copious amounts of money to be seen by these doctors so I believe it’s only fair to receive accurate results.


Medical misdiagnosis can connect to the book Zulus by Percival Everett. The protagonist Alice Achitophel was seen by a few doctors due to her mysterious pregnancy and the doctors made comments such as, “She’s intact, it seems.” and “Then she might well be pregnant.” Therefore the doctors were not entirely sure on whether or not Alice was actually pregnant or not because of their lack of experience.


I personally have had misdiagnoses throughout my life. I was told by my doctor at age 12 that I did not have scoliosis when I in fact did have scoliosis. I later on had to return to the doctors for x-rays and MRI’s to confirm how severe my scoliosis truly is. Unfortunately misdiagnoses are extremely common in today’s society.

Here Stands A Man

In Tony Morrison’s Home, he creates a connection in the beginning of his book to the end of his book. In the beginning of the book Morrison writes, “They were so beautiful. So brutal. And they stood like men.” (Pg. 5). This was in reference to the horses that Frank spotted after him and his sister Cee witnessed the burial of a man. Morrison later on connects that quote by writing, “Here Stands A Man.” (Pg 145). This was in reference to Frank and Cee reburying the body of the man from the start of the book. I found this quote to be ironic because the man they buried is clearly not standing for he is dead. The simile made in the beginning of the novel is symbolic in many ways. Horses are known to be strong, majestic creatures. I decided to do research on the symbolic meaning of claiming a horse as a spirit animal. I discovered that a horse is symbolic for war, service to others, fertility, and power of mind, body and spirit. Each of these symbols are reoccurring themes that are presented in the book Home.


War is represented in that Frank served in the army and fought in the war. During the war Frank felt as if he was alive.


Service to others was present in that Frank has witnessed various deaths of his friends in war, such as his friend Mike and Stuff. When Frank discovered that Cee was in danger, he feared that he would not be able to save Cee as well. Frank was the saving grace in Cee’s childhood. He loved and protected her when all the adults were either too busy or too bitter to care. But he protected her so well that she never learned to take care of herself.


Fertility was evident after Cee being unable to bare a child. Although it is the opposite of being fertile, this part in the book was critical in further developing Cee’s character. Cee had to come to terms with being unable to get pregnant. She later picked up making quilts. Frank convinces Cee to use her first quilt in aiding in the burial of the unnamed man. I interpreted them burying Cee’s first quilt as putting the past behind them and beginning a new life.


Power of mind, body and spirit was distinguished through Frank’s PTSD. In the book Frank is faced with the difficult decision of letting a little Korean girl live with the pain of being mentally and physically abused or killing her. Frank chose to kill her because not only is it saving her from the traumatizing experience, it is saving Frank from having to live with the guilt. The story of the Korean girl was never mentioned in the book after the first time it was brought up, and I believe this is because it is triggering to Frank and due to his PTSD he attempts to repress this memory.

Racism in Day to Day Occurrences

Throughout today’s society, racism is predominant in various culture.

On 9/6 we viewed a Ted Talk on culture. This Ted Talk stood out to me because the speaker, who is from Nigeria, discussed how she had a house boy growing up and throughout her life, the speaker was told on multiple occasions, that their house boy was poor. The speaker grew up believing that her house boy was uncultured and him and his family were incapable of basic life function. The speaker then visited where her house boy lives and was surprised to see that her house boys brother weaved a basket by hand. She was surprised to see this because she assumed her whole life that her house boys worth was based solely off of money and that poor people were incapable of most things. Later on in the talk the speaker shares an experience of when the roles were reversed. The speaker talks about when she attended college and had an American roommate. Her american roommate told the speaker she was shocked that her English was so good but was surprised when the speaker responded by saying English is the first language in Nigeria. Her roommate also asked if she could teach her some tribal music but the speaker made a tasteful joke that the tribal music was a Maria Carey album.

For one out of class assignment we had to read the introduction of Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington. One part of this novel that stood out to me and relates to culture was the discussion of African American personal and family stories of abuse rarely surfaced and were discussed  in medical literature and popular literature. Washington states, “The experimental suffering  of black Americans has taken many forms: fear, profound deception, psychological trauma, pain, injection with deadly agents, disfigurement, crippling, chronic illness, undignified display, intractable pain, stolen fertility and death” (Pg. 9). Although the suffering of black Americans is tragic in many forms, it goes undiscovered throughout history due to the lack of documentation of medical practitioners. The information was “downplayed” and seen as therapy.