The Miracle of a Redeemed Harlem Childhood

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Author: Martin Tucker
Editors: Jean C. Stine and Daniel G. Marowski
Date: 1984
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 598 words

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The man who would understand miracles is as dull as the general who drafts answers to an army of rhetorical questions. Yet in literature at least, miracles have to seem natural—that is, as belonging to the nature of things an author is creating.

Claude Brown's miracle is that from a childhood spent amidst crime, poverty, dope, promiscuity, violence and perversion, he managed to wrest himself into a belief that life could be different and better than that. The streets, as he says in his autobiography [Manchild in the Promised Land], were his home, though never his house; his house was a place with which he never made peace till he moved from it, while the streets were what gave him his sense of individuality. Brown begins his book when, at thirteen, he is struck by a bullet when trying to steal bedsheets and linen from a clothesline. He...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420001107