Heaven By Rick Telander: Poem Analysis

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Heaven is a Playground was the first novel of it’s kind as it depicted urban basketball in Brooklyn during the early 1970’s through the eyes of young sports journalist, Rick Telander. It recounts the various aspects of life that his subjects faced both off and on the court. It provides an inside look at social structures that are present in ghetto life through the various characters that play basketball at Foster Park. Rick Telander is currently the senior sports columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and he also works for Sports Illustrated. He wrote this novel while he lived and played with the “ragtag group of local teenagers” whom would become his friends as well as the subjects of this book. Published in 1976, Sports Illustrated ranked this book in the top 100 sports books of all time for it’s ground breaking portrayal of the struggles that young African American men faced in the ghetto while pursuing their dreams.…show more content…
Some of the themes for this novel include good vs. bad and kinship. There are many others but I would like to stick with these two for this essay. During the time that this book was written and even today, young African American males who live in the ghettos often struggle. Many drop out of school and find their way into trouble. But many does not mean all of them because there are other activities they participate in if they wish. “It is a common saying in the ghettos of Brooklyn that if a bay is bad he joins a gang; if he is good he plays basketball.” (Telander 12) This helps to prove the good vs. bad theme that underlines some of this novel just because it describes the struggle that many young African American males had to face. It also states that there wasn’t much else for them to do during that time proving that they didn’t have the same opportunities that many other people had then or have today. But there are also blurred lines when it comes to that former statement

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