Gilyard “voices of the self”

Karina Ramsey

Dr. Carrie Hall

English 1121



Gilyard’s reading was very interesting. I like the fact that Gilyard is a storyteller. With this being very personal to him he wrote it in a way that draws his audience in. Something that Gilyard did in his writing that I would like to do in my own writing is, be able to organize my ideas, especially when it comes to writing about my life. There is so much detail that can be included when writing about personal experience, so I liked how Gilyard was able to transition into different parts of his story, but not get lost with providing too much detail. For example, when he mentions how he started failing classes like gym. In the next paragraph as a result of failing classes, he started going down the wrong path and started committing several crimes. He connected his failures in school to his failures out of school. I also liked when he mentioned his reason for getting out of the drug life “The truth of that proposition was as clear as the bright caps of angry ocean waves hurtling toward a shore in clear darkness.” He was able to use two literary devices, simile and imagery to explain his clear state of mind in that moment, which is something that I would also like to be able to do in my writing.



Gilyard writes in a  way that would 10/10 times make me want to continue reading. Hes not afraid to make comments of his real life to impress his own readers. For example when he says “my main pursuit was money for drugs” . Just saying that shows you a raw side of him that would you wouldn’t really expect a writer to say about himself. Also in Gilyards writing his is very clear when he speaks about a time for example he would say the year and place so people can really picture what he seen. Reading this shows me some tips on how I can really hook my reader and make my essays more interesting.

Gilyards Voices Of The Self

Minhaj Uddin

English 1121


I feel that Gilyards write is very interesting. The way he grabs the readers attention is very unique and i would like my writing to be as interesting and unique as his. One part in his story i admired was when he was talking about when he got accused of the type writers. Gilyard was using a dialogue on when he was speaking to the cops and what they were saying to him and what he was saying to them. I find that very interesting and i plan on using in my writing in the future as well.


Gilyard uses numerous stories to give readers a clear understanding or idea of what he is trying to say. When describing his younger days with friends he uses slang and non-standard english such as “But i’m tellin you homes, they ain’t gon do nothing but fuck you up.” I would definitely use this in my writing because it gives me a sense of realism from the author. Letting you see the raw, the good and the ugly no matter how it’s written. The dialogue he uses when telling the stories of his friends help build the story and where it’s heading and it sets the tone of his characters. It makes me want to read more and find out what’s at the end of it. Gilyard uses a lot of imagery to create visuals including other figurative language such as personification, this is language I enjoy because it makes the story feel real without it sounding boring and flat. Not only does he express significantly how he feels majority of the way, he indeed gives you a closer look at his tone throughout the book and how he portrays most of the events he’s explaining. To express some of the points he tried to make on his argument he used statistics, I feel this is a very strong thing to do in writing and trying to get a point across because facts are essential. They open the readers eyes and pull them in to what’s being told.


I truly enjoyed Gilyard’s reading. liked the way he included a lot of details about his personal life. What Gilyard does in his writing that I would like to include in my own is talk about my personal life and how it shaped me into the person I am today. He uses specific details to connect with his audience about his life. Gilyard recalled the time when he was in court after being aprehended for a crime and he recalled the moment when his mother turned to him and “repressed hurt and anger twisted together in her face.” In this English class, I want to connect and show a side of myself in my writing so my audience could be engaged and want to read more and more and find out what happens next. For 7-8 pages Gilyard started off by sayin “Heroin was the first thing that I feared could make me late in life.” As a reader you want to find out more and more, so he drawed my attention with that line. That’s what I want to do in my writing. I don’t have anything negative to say about Gilyard’s writing, I truly enjoy it and I hope to read more pieces of it in the future.

Response to Gilyard’s “Voice of Self”

Erik Yan

Dr. Carrie Hall


I liked how Gilyard told his story with a lot of detail on a certain experience and also using dialogue to bring you more into the moment. Gilyard uses a lot of back and forth dialogue with his friends when they commit crimes together. He tells his story in a casual tone because he uses a lot of curse words and slang. His use of these words and slang help to portray how he was when he was younger. He didn’t really listen to older people who are trying to help him. For example, the part when he was in jail, the prison was asking him about how he ended up in jail and Gilyard just responses with ” Fuck you. Leave me the fuck alone”. This shows his arrogant mindset when he was younger. This is an interesting way to get readers attention in my opinion. I would like to do something like this in my essay because as a reader, you can just connect and understand a little bit easier.

Response to Gilyard’s “Voice of the Self”

Hend Elwahwah

Dr. Hall



Throughout Gilyard’s book I had realized that his writing style relates to many of us teenagers. Gilyard’s writing is not similar to many authors nowadays. He wrote this book with an amazing flow that can help many people understand it easier. Rather than, struggling to understand it. What Gilyard is doing in his writing that I would like to do in my own is go with a better flow that alerts the reader’s attention in wanting to finish what they are reading. Also, I would want to go as deep as Gilyard goes in his writing. Explaining all the details that every reader is interested in. In the past I’ve read many excerpts that are so boring because there is no flow, no deep detailing, nothing I was basically interested in. That’s exactly what I do not want to do. When Gilyard stated, “There were no customers when we entered the laundry, only the woman behind the counter who had a fit when Wallace pointed the pistol at her. She began backing away slowly, shaking her head “no no no” with her hands pressed up against the sides of her face.” That right there made me stop and say to myself, this is what I want to do, I want to immerse myself in my writing as intensely as Gilyard dwelled in his writing. In my opinion, it makes me want to continue reading the passage and have much more interest in what is going to happen next.


Response to Gilyard’s “Voice of the self”


While reading “Voices of the self” by Keith Gilyard, his background is easy to understand because I have been to the areas such as “a rehabilitation center over on 14th street”. So it was easy to imagine myself there in his setting-imagery. Gilyard also includes demographics that shows the diversity is expanding and also credited his resources, “Whitaker (1989) reports that because of low pay, undesirable work conditions, and overall frustration with school systems”. However, I would not like to write a research paper in the conclusion. While there are some things that can easily relate to things that happened around me, was how this story was very similar to the people that I had encountered. Such as students doing drugs in school and not even attending, and they still graduate like the rest of the students. However its nice that Keith was given the opportunity to graduate high school, even though he has been sent to jail. Another thing that I liked about this story and that I would prefer in my writings is the use of first person perspective. I do not like how this story has people talking to another individual, as reading from a 3rd person perspective, and would prefer his usual first person- his life. In my opinion, I though the story was okay.

Gilyard’s Story

Pavel Nunez

Dr. Carrie Hall

English 1101


Well after reading  Gilyards story I’ve noticed that  he writes similar/differently than any other people that also write stories . Similarly he did a type of writing called a “autobiography” which is basically a person talking about his/her life(not all stories  do this).But what he did different was making the reader feel mixed emotions for him(I almost never see this). For example, he first told us that he did drugs(which is bad thing obviously), then he told us that he scored an average above the 80’s which is impressive and tried to discouraged his family from doing heroin, then proceeding to tell us that he steals other people cars…. This was easy to read because I didn’t know whether I should feel bad for him or just hate him, Although he did keep the story entertaining by keeping me interested on seeing the outcome of his life which was that  he “was out of the drug life” and ended up passing most of his classes. Also I liked the imagery he used on pg 157 which says” the truth of that proposition was as clear as the bright caps of angry oceans wave hurtling toward a shore in clear darkness. But he did use a lot of foul language which I’m not really use to when it comes to reading a normal story.

Planning ahead, I think I might add a chain of good or bad events in my story because it seems to keep me interested on what is going to happen and I’m going to use imagery to express feeling.

Ife Ajayi
Prof. Hall
Eng 1121
1 February 2019

Throughout my reading of Gilyard’s book I noticed that his style of writing isn’t too similar to other authors. He wrote this book in a way where people who read it can understand it easily. I feel like some teenagers could probably relate to some of the things that happened to Gilyard when he was younger in a way. With that being said, the way he wrote this is similar to how some teenagers express themselves in writing. When I read some books I usually have trouble understanding points that the author is trying to make because of how sophisticated the language is. While reading some of Gilyard’s book, I could picture some of what he went through because of how understanding his writing is.

Throughout his writing, Gilyard openly expressed some of the things he went through when he was a high school student. He went into detail about certain things that other people would be ashamed to even talk about. This is one thing that I liked about his writing. If you’re going to openly write about something you should go into detail as much as possible or you shouldn’t write about it at all. In the book he stated, “I stole some more, did a little dealing, shot the highest dosages of dope I ever had. Jail was a more likely destination than a university.” These are some things that he did the summer before starting at a university. Things he planned on never doing again.

In future writing, I plan on being more specific especially when storytelling. It’s important to grab the reader’s attention in the beginning of your writing. And it’s just as important for the reader to still be engaged while reading the rest. Gilyard did a good job keeping me interested while reading his writing. Not many authors can do this. I get bored easily while reading. The subject matter of Gilyard’s writing is honestly what kept me going. He wrote about the lifestyle he use to live and how he was involved in drugs and jail. He also wrote about young people of color and how education in America works for them. In a way I felt that I needed to read about this because it related to me.