The Teacher Who Changed My Life by Nicholas Gage
In The Teacher Who Changed My Life by Nicholas Gage we have the theme of struggle, conflict, freedom, hostility, inspiration, hard work, acceptance and pride. Narrated in the first person by Gage himself the reader realizes from the beginning of the story that Gage may be exploring the theme of struggle. Gage and his siblings have left Greece to live with their father in America. Greece has become a place of conflict for Gage and his mother has been killed by Communists in 19849. What is interesting about Gage’s struggle is the fact he would spend many years trying to find those who were responsible for his mother’s death. Such was the conflict that Gage felt internally he wanted to honour his mother and those who lost their lives through the Communists.
It my also be significant that it takes Gage some time to warm to his father and if anything he blames his father for not rescuing his mother as well. The path to freedom for Gage was the journey to America however he has to work hard while in school in America. At first Gage is put in a classroom for children with special needs as he does not have any English. Today this would not happen and there would be classes in English language. What is also interesting is the fact that it takes Gage only a few years to enter the mainstream in school. This is important as it suggests that Gage was able to adapt to the circumstances he found himself in. Tough he still misses his mother he is able to make progress which suggests that Gage is resilient.
The hard work that Marjorie Hurd puts Gage through, along with the other students, at the Newspaper Club may also be significant as it highlights to others (the reader being one) that through hard work a person can get satisfaction and achieve anything. Gage himself went on to become a journalist and authour thanks to his early introduction to journalism at the Newspaper Club. It is as though Ms Hurd has inspired Gage to be the best that he can be. Despite the circumstances he found himself in. The essay that he writes about his escape from Greece is interesting as it shows that Gage has accepted, no matter how hard it is, his circumstances. He has made progress, no matter how painful, in America
The end of the story is important as it highlights the pride that Gage has in his work. As well as his father being proud of him. A relationship that once was ‘prickly’ has become a relationship full of pride. Something Gage discovers on his father’s death when he has the picture of Gage and President Kennedy in his jacket pocket. Despite the passing of time Gage’s father was always proud of his son. A young boy who came to America with nothing but the clothes he had on his back. In many ways Gage writes of the possibilities of achieving the American dream. Gage, though motherless, through hard work has achieved something he may not have achieved in Greece. Ms. Hurd has also played an importantly role in Gage’s life. She encouraged him to be the best that he could be regardless of the circumstances that Gage found himself in.