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    “The Code of the Street” by Elijah Anderson Literature Analysis Essay

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    In the code of the street written by Elijah Anderson discusses the evolution of street and how this “street conduct” has played a significant role in individual’s lives of live in the bubble of “inner-city black America”. In the beginning of the book Anderson hits on a major concept that will be discussed throughout his writing, respect.

    Anderson conveys to his audience how respect plays a key role in an individual’s street life. This theory can easily be correlated in “gang life” mentality. In order for an individual to gain “street-cred” one must act tough as well as violent. This is where status comes into play.

    In order for one to gain status, one must be willing to do anything to gain favor of the other members such as robbery, stealing, and intimidation methods. This is also known as intimidation.

    Anderson really dive into the meaning behind code until he reached the second chapter. He explains code as “A set of informal rules governing interpersonal public behavior particularly violence”.

    He discusses how violence stems from one’s circumstances that presented itself in an individual’s life, and how cultural adaption stems from an individual’s lack of faith. Anderson introduces two concepts in his writing, decent families and street families. These two groups present entirely different characteristics.

    Decent families accept mainstream values, value hard work, as well as strong reliance, interest in school, they are considered strict, and tend to stay out of trouble.

    Strict families lack consideration, have a higher need for physical and emotional comfort, tend to be more aggressive, they learn unhealthy habits from their parents, and because of that they have to fend for themselves. Because Anderson’s main topic of his book is respect, he also discusses complaining respect.

    Many key points that arise throughout his writing caught my attention and one of them was his explanation of how children street-oriented homes gravitated to the streets.  I agreed with his statement because if you think about it, if an individual was raised in a “rough” household environment they will always look for thing that remind them of home.

    At the end of the day, all they are familiar with the “struggle”. He also went on to further explain his claim by stating “while in the streets, the groups they play in often become the source of their social bonds”.

    This makes sense because they all come from similar household environments, therefore, it is now hard to relate and, furthermore, develop a friendship off honest and humble beginnings.

    There are many important key concepts that are evident throughout the book, however, I believe when Anderson discussed the self-image based on “juice” and how individuals now understood the code of the streets and are now interested in gaining respect.

    This showed how inner-city young men and women that follow the code are caught up in their self-image. Because of this they have built an obsession with increasing as well as defending their valuable “juice” from others. This is done through the violent acts of assault and robbery.

    There is a shift in attitudes that present itself. Anderson discussed how deciding to back down and just walk away is a great option for the youth that find themselves in these situations. He also discusses how this is followed with youths taking advantage of counseling as well as soul searching.

    This helps them to walk away from social and physical confrontation.

    Anderson did a very great job in presenting his claim as well as providing factual evidence that explained how those that do live in inner-city communities are not vested in the code of the streets, however, most street youths that do live by this code is establishing their reputations and assert themselves.

    Anderson concluded his writing his by discussing how unless the cycle is broken the violence on both sides of the fence will not stop and will worsen. As the reader I found this information to be beneficial as society is constantly questioning oppositional culture and how it fits into the mainstream world.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    “The Code of the Street” by Elijah Anderson Literature Analysis Essay. (2023, Jan 10). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-code-of-the-street-by-elijah-anderson-literature-analysis-essay/

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