Sometimes I stop and ask myself whether or not I would be a part of the “Year of the City” if I was not in this class? I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be and I say that because I know it is the truth. In a way that makes me very happy that I am in this class, but even though I am in this class, do I really know what the “Year of the City” is? I think the “Year of the City” was created so that students and faculty alike would be forced to stop and look around the city of Baltimore. In order to see the problems that need to be addressed in the city, so that in the following years every year will be the “Year of the City”, until the problems are all resolved. The “Year of the City” is not going to be an event which we only do every five or ten years but it will continue to happen every year.
In our class the “Year of the City” is the focus behind our discussions and the work that we are expected to produce because it is a class that was designed to include elements of the city and the people who live in it. In class the “Year of the City” is internalized to each student’s specific experiences and observations. It requires insight, consideration and most importantly reflection. The “Year of the City” “matters” in our class because it should be a part of our education and classroom experience because this is city in which we learn. We cannot ignore the environment in which we live because it affects how we learn, what we learn and why we learn it. It teaches the student more than writing styles and techniques because it forces to look at the purpose of writings, because most good writing (and the quality and judging of “good writing” is always subjective) has a purpose or a message behind it.
Danticat writes stories about cities through the personal experiences of her characters. She makes it personal because personal stories allow the reader to connect to the characters with more ease. The same can be said of our class because we (the students) are constantly asked to personalize what we learn from our experiences in and outside of the classroom. Through Danticat’s writing the environment or the city in which the women live plays a significant role in their lives, but it is them and not the city that we focus on, because as always the authors may at times appear to focus more on the cities, but their focus is always the lives of their characters who make up the city. I think the clear message in Danticat and our class is always to focus on the people of the city and our relationship with them.