Do Black Patent-leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?: A Fictionalized Memoir Summary & Study Guide

John R. Powers
This Study Guide consists of approximately 28 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Do Black Patent-leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?.
This section contains 462 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Do Black Patent-leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?: A Fictionalized Memoir Study Guide

Do Black Patent-leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?: A Fictionalized Memoir Summary & Study Guide Description

Do Black Patent-leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?: A Fictionalized Memoir Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Do Black Patent-leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?: A Fictionalized Memoir by John R. Powers.

Eddie Ryan's adolescence is typical of that of a Catholic teen living on the South Side of Chicago during the 1950s and early 1960s. Raised in the parish grammar school, Eddie is now entering Bremmer High School, an all boys Catholic High School, run by the Brothers of St. Bremmer Order. Enduring the pain of pimples, dandruff, and body odor, Eddie launches into his high school years without exuberance but, nevertheless, with good friends who typify the wide variety of personalities one finds in most any high school. Catholic education is not particularly exciting, considering that the classes consist of boring lectures, reading textbooks and taking tests. Eddie is not a stellar student in any class, except perhaps for that of new history teacher, Ed Kascher, who, in Eddie's estimation, is the only true teacher at Bremmer. As Eddie recounts a series of small vignettes, each a special gem from his personal history, the reader gains great insight into both the challenges of being an adolescent during this time and, as well, the specific challenges of being a Catholic teen. From humor ("Unless you plan on becoming a priest, there is no reason in the world to learn Latin. Not only is the language dead but so are most of the people who teach it.") to sarcasm ("Mixed marriages, unlike regular Catholic marriages, were not allowed to be performed within the railings of the altar. Obviously God wasn't in any big rush to get too close to a non-Catholic either"), to anger ("If Lanner had been the type that made noise—an athlete, a school-spirit nut ...someone at Bremmer would have figured out a way to keep him... Just being a nice guy didn't count"), the reader is given small but key peeks into the life and thoughts of a young man searching for his identity within a culturally traditional, and at times suffocating, community. While not a stellar student, Eddie nevertheless masters important life lessons, as he seeks to make sense of his adolescent years, his roller coaster love life, and his faith.

Against the backdrop of Eddie's tale, the foreshadowing of social upheaval provides an undercurrent of impending unrest. Eddie himself hints at these issues with his comments about the lack of minorities in his school and neighborhood, the Church's low opinion of women, and the inequities of social class distinctions, as well as the Church's willingness to tolerate these conditions. The insulated world in which Eddie has grown up will give way to a much more complex, diverse, and fractured society. Still, in his rather ordinary life, Eddie has probably found the values that will provide the resilience he will need—hope for a better future, friendship, love, and a sense of humor.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 462 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Do Black Patent-leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?: A Fictionalized Memoir Study Guide
Copyrights
BookRags
Do Black Patent-leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?: A Fictionalized Memoir from BookRags. (c)2016 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook