Common themes of unity and the interconnectedness of characters are presented in the texts, “Mending Wall”, by Robert Frost, “Slam, Dunk, & Hook”, by Yusef Komunyakaa, “Common Ground”, by Judith Ortiz Cofer, and “The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education”, by Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. Each author incorporated a sense of community into his or her work to emphasize the importance of relationships to the reader.
Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall” teaches his audience the importance of seeing different perspectives to understand other people. The speaker believes there is no reason for keeping the wall, whereas the neighbor believes that “good fences make good neighbors.” (line 27, 45) Frost incorporates a contrast in opinion to show the reader that open-mindedness is crucial in maintaining relationships and preserving peace and unity in society. Being a part of a community also means contributing to the community. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach discusses the importance of becoming an active participant in the Jesuit community to retain a positive lifestyle, similar to the values at Loyola University.
Similarly, the idea of community and oneness is prevalent in Komunyakaa’s “Slam, Dunk & Hook.” The speaker’s passion for basketball is exemplified through his emotion as he says, “When Sonny Boy’s mama died he played nonstop all day, so hard our backboard splintered.” One can infer that the speaker uses basketball as an outlet for his emotions, specifically as the team united and strengthened after the tragedy involving a member of their team. The poem ends with the line, “we knew we were beautiful and dangerous.” The overall sense of community is heightened as the poem finishes with the focus on the group rather than an individual. This idea became prevalent in our class discussion of Witi Ihimaera’s Whale Rider, as the community gathered in the end of the story to save the whales.
Cofer’s Common Ground demonstrates a sense of appreciation for their roots. The last statement in the last stanza of this poem, “like arrows pointing downward to our common ground” shows the interconnectedness of family.