Our Beautiful Struggle (4th Period)

“I did not know then that this is what life is – just when you master the geometry of one world, it slips away, and suddenly again, you’re swarmed by strange shapes and impossible angles.” ― Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood.


Although the title of this book indicates that the author, Coates, becomes a man, “.… and an Unlikely Road to Manhood”, by the end of the book he is still unsure about life and where he is going from then on.


He however admits that through his life he has learned many lessons that has made him more comfortable and confident with his choices. He carries these lessons everyday and it helps him get ready to take life on. He has become more willing to take on responsibilities and always strives to grow as a person. Coates stresses that you can’t control life, it controls you.


No one will ever have life figured out. When someone overcomes one challenge, there will always be another one waiting. Just like in the Hannah Montana Song: The Climb:  “There is always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna wanna make it move. There’s always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I’m gonna have to lose.”


Coates’ book is an example of a bildungsroman, where the storyline portrays the (usually youth) protagonist’s turning point in life where he/she becomes an adult. This book is no different from those. However, like most of the stories, the protagonist is successful through one struggle. But then what? Coates describes that the feelings of inadequacy that lives on within us forever even after everything has gone right.


The “coming of age” genre is defined by the media as the “teen genre”. From movies to books to podcasts, there is a recent proliferation in the genre. In high school musical 3 for example, Troy decides he wants to pursue both of his loves, singing and basketball. The movies ends with Troy making the decision, but they never show what happens after. Troy will definitely face more challenges in the future balancing his two loves. This isn’t a part of the movie because it takes away the feel-goodness of the story. This isn’t the only example, many teen movies have the same type of story-line and feel-good ending.


Life is full of challenges. Just because you overcome one doesn’t necessarily mean it’s smooth coasting from that point on. Life is unpredictable and it’s this unpredictableness that makes life not only interesting but hard. For example, I voted for Trump because of his anti-NASA stands. However, he betrayed me and signed off on a 19.5 billion dollar NASA project. I didn’t know Trump could read let alone lead the charge on space exploration. It really makes you wonder what else could happen in this strange world of ours.


No matter how perfect we plan our lives out to be, there will forever exist the uncertainty of the future.


In the words of  ex-American idol judge, lead singer of Aerosmith, and hollywood heartthrob Steven Tyler:

“You got to lose to know how to win {…} dream on, dream on, dream on.”


Editorial Board:

Jourdan-Ashle B

Tifany C

Sabrinna H

Maddy S

Anthony T