Becoming Setting & Symbolism

Michelle Obama
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South Side

The South Side of Chicago is where Obama grew up. For Obama, the South Side was a place characterized by family and warm summer evenings, not the violence that it has become known for today. In her autobiography, Obama uses the South Side to explore topics such as race, socioeconomic status, urban degeneration, and white flight. For example, Obama discusses the demographic change that took place while she was in primary school, and notes that the University of Chicago – despite its proximity – was not a place that children of the South Side visited.

Pianos

Growing up, Obama took piano lessons on her Great Aunt Robbie’s piano. Her great aunt's piano was an old upright, with a chipped middle C key. Obama contrasts Robbie’s beat-up piano with the pristine baby grand at the recital hall. Obama uses these pianos as symbols of two different socioeconomic...

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This section contains 888 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Becoming Study Guide
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