Soul on Ice Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. How does prison change Cleaver?

On June 18, 1954, Cleaver began a sentence in Folsom Prison for possession of marijuana. Cleaver says it was an important year for him in many ways. Not only did he begin the prison sentence, he became aware of his position as a "black in white America." Cleaver assures the reader that he's always been aware of the color of his skin, but was suddenly awakened to what it meant.

2. What is Cleaver's opinion of his prison sentence?

Cleaver points out that he was arrested for disobeying a law. Cleaver never denies the crimes that landed him in prison, including the fact that he was caught with "a shopping bag full of marijuana." He admits that he was "in love with the weed" but says he never saw the wrong in it.

3. What is Cleaver's opinion of women while he is in prison?

Cleaver goes into great detail about his infatuation with white women. He calls them "The Ogre." Cleaver tells of the things denied prisoners, including sex. He wanted to establish a system that would provide "salaried women" who would "minister to the needs" of male prisoners. He suggested it could be a reward for good behavior.

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