What does the novel Push say about the role of education in America?

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dmack3434 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The novel Push emphasizes the positive impact that education can have on an individual in American society. The protagonist, Precious Jones, is an illiterate sixteen-year-old girl who lives in Harlem. Her mother, Mary, is neglectful and abusive, offering Precious no opportunity or support. When her school learns that Precious is pregnant, they decide that she should attend an alternative school. This turn of events is a positive and life-changing force for Precious, as she meets a teacher who empowers her to tell her own story.

At the alternative school, not only does Precious have the support of the teacher, Ms. Rain, but she thrives in a class of fellow students who all come from difficult backgrounds. Despite huge holes in her academic abilities, with the relentless support of her teacher, Precious soon develops an interest in literature and writing. Ms. Rain believes that the only way to learn how to write is to write, and she requires each girl to keep a daily journal. She gives each student feedback and assistance. At the school, Precious is also exposed to literature by black authors such as Alice Walker and Langston Hughes who give her inspiration.

When Precious is chased out of her home by her mother, she turns to her beloved teacher, Ms. Rain, who helps her get into a halfway house. Since the house has childcare, Precious is able to continue her education. With stability from home and school, Precious is able to grow in both her academic ability as well as her self-confidence. The success in academics gives her the strength and courage to improve in other areas of her life and to make positive changes. In this, the reader can see the positive impact that education can have on an individual, as it pushes them toward success and self-empowerment.

Read the study guide:
Push: A Novel

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