Blue Hole Back Home

by Joy Jordan-Lake

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How does Blue Hole Back Home effectively portray racial issues?

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Blue Hole Back Home takes a hard look at the cruelty of racism and its impact on the lives of even innocent children. This coming-of-age story begins with a group of friends at the start of an exciting summer and shows how their worldviews are impacted when a new friend joins "the Pack." Their new companion is Farsanna Moulavi, a semi-practicing Muslim girl from Sri Lanka. Her arrival to the Pack is not met with kindness from every kid, but she quickly becomes one of them and gains their love and respect.

When discussing racial themes in Blue Hole Back Home, you should start with the event that introduces several of the kids to racism. The Pack takes a pickup truck into the Valley, a city strained by racial tension. When they stop at a light to listen to a jazz ensemble coming from the city's Black quarter, a car pulls up and shoots at the club. The kids quickly leave the scene in a panic, and when the event is barely mentioned in the paper the next day, they are rightfully outraged--especially when the paper claims the offenders were likely Black. The kids know what they saw, and they know the shooters were white men.

Things quickly escalate for the kids, and your analysis should touch on some of the events that transpire after the shooting at the jazz club. Sticks in the shape of a cross are burnt in Em's pickup truck. Farsanna's dog, Stray, is found hanging from a tree. The KKK becomes a central figure in town and begins to terrorize the Moulavis. Bo, one of the Pack's founding kids, dies saving Mrs. Moulavi in a fire started by the KKK. Your analysis of the racial themes in Blue Hole Back Home could go over these events and explain how they ultimately result in the loss of the Pack's innocence.

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