Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Frank Conroy Essay

Frank Conroy Essay

Growing up is a major part of everyone’s life. People learn life lessons from getting older and experiencing life at its best and worst; however the most important lessons of life can be learned at these times. Stop Time, a memoir of Frank Conroy’s life, uses a creative style of writing to get the readers attention.

Frank Conroy wrote his autobiography in the style of a very descriptive and eventful story, unlike the stereotypical chronological list of events that many autobiographical authors use.

Conroy chose to use his most memorable experiences and mold them into a story of his childhood. Childhood is the most important part of a persons life because the events that happen at this time sets up what people will be like when they grow up. Conroy uses 1st person throughout the novel to bring a sense of warmth and closeness to the main character, Frank. The story allows the readers to experience all that Frank experiences from his childhood to becoming a young college man.

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Frank Conroy is a young boy at the beginning of the story who seems to take every event in his life for what it is. The story begins with Frank standing by his father’s side at his deathbed. Frank is definitely bothered by the entire situation because it seems as though he and his father were very close, however this is merely an assumption because the book never goes into detail of Frank’s and his father’s relationship. This event was really a reality check for Frank because it reminds him not to take life for granted. Conroy does a really impeccable job at describing the scene with his words. He makes the situation so crystal clear that the reader feels as if they are standing beside the father’s bed-side too. Frank and his mother’s relationship is much like most young boys with their mother. Their relationship depended on whether Frank got his way or not. Frank has a good amount of friends and he enjoys being a boy. Frank and his buddies go into the woods and do things like build forts, cut down trees, and swim in ponds. One time, Frank and a friend spot a turtle in their “secret pond” and claimed that one bite from it could take off a limb. Frank has a wonderful imagination. However he never really uses this skill to his full advantage.

Frank never tries to make himself bigger than he actually is. Unlike many young boys, Frank does enjoy school. For some reason, his mother sent him off to a school away from home. Frank seemingly enjoys this, though. Here, Frank met many other young boys whom he becomes great friends with. The reader does realize quickly that Frank seems to have a hard time completely fitting in with all of the other boys at the school. But at the same time, he seems to be a leader of the group. One of the boys’ favorite pranks to pull on the teachers at boarding is for everyone, at the same time, to frantically run around the campus late at night and see who will be the last person to return to their room safely. On numerous occasions Frank was the king of the hill at this game. This, in turn, earns Frank great respect from the other boys.

When something horrible happens to young children, they seem to remember it for their entire lives. Frank and Tobey get the chance to go to the fair. On their way to the fair, the boys have their first experience with alcohol. They managed to steal a bottle of wine and were determined to get it down. However, Mrs. Rawlings, Tobey’s mother, catches them with the drink and throws it out the window. Only Tobey receives the punishment and wrath of the boys’ wrongdoing. The last time these boys went to the fair, they spent all of their money on the bumper cars because it seemed to be the best ride of all. The boys both arrive at the fair with a dollar and a half which would be enough for the entire night. Both Tobey and Frank scope out the bumper cars to figure out which ones are the fastest cars on the ride. Like they were part of a secret sting operation for the army, the boys had a plan. They would gang up on people so that they looked better than everyone else. The ride went well and Tobey and Frank were both masters at driving bumper cars, but the night was not yet over. Frank and Tobey pass by a ring toss booth and decide to give it a try. The boys both have their eyes on a gun that they want to win and all Tobey has to do is get two rings on a red peg. His first three tries are a complete flop.

He runs to his mother to get money for one more chance. Tobey does end up winning the game but the strange game attendant seems to believe otherwise. Tobey asks for his prize but the attendant will not give it too him. Instead the man reaches out to shake Tobey’s hand and when Tobey returns the favor, the man seems to molest the young child by rubbing Tobey’s hand on his privates. Tobey and Frank do not know what to say so they don’t say anything at all. The boys quickly run to their car and go home. Nothing else is said of the happenings of that night.

Frank is very much like the “average Joe” in our society. Nothing that he does puts himself ahead of anyone else’s status in life. Frank can be described as the back bone of this book. He lives his life by the moment and is very strong emotionally. Even when something horrific happens, like his father passing away, Frank seems to make the best of situations, which is his strongest personality trait. Frank grows up to go to college at Haverford, Pennsylvania and much like before at the boarding school, he does not have any trouble making friends right away.

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