Gilyard Waleed

Waleed Qureshi 

Carrie Hall 



The thing I like about this story is that while Gilyard is presenting his story, he is giving us ways in which we can visualize the scene and the situation he is trying to convey. This form of storytelling is used when he is describing how Wallace tried to stop him when he was about to go rob a man coming down the stairs of the train station and then Gilyard eventually getting caught eventually by the police officer that was at the corner of the street. Another thing I like about this story is how Gilyard expresses his emotions and how relatable this story was. This part is shown when Gilyard is greeted by his mother at the jail and his mother with complete anger says this phrase, “I guess you’re satisfied”.  This phrase showed us how disappointed his mother was, and this might be relatable to many people because nobody in his life has never disappointed someone and I know that even though I never intend to, I have. A thing that I did not like about this story was that I don’t know if the writer was supporting different people or not because in the start he called random white people as targets but in the end he supported every person from different parts of the world as equals with their own Englishes.

Admiring the Difference

Reading through Gilyard’s writing, the thing I admire most is his ability to write whatever is on his mind. The second to last paragraph in part VIII where Gilyard describes his agonies from withdrawal especially shows the imaging that I would question writing myself.  I’ve enjoyed writing and have written short stories before, but I would never be able to continue a string of images consisting of “holes in his arm large enough to drip dope into them directly” straight to putting those holes “alongside vaginas. On penises.”(158). Even speaking of his mistakes and near missed like when he “was given a 40 in English” on his regeants. The reading was enjoyable as a result due to the casual feel that came with Gilyard writing so openly. I personally didn’t have much I didn’t enjoy about the reading other than it being long, which isn’t that much of an issue when enjoying it. If I were to write of such events from my own experiences, I don’t think I would be able to finish it. I’ve always been conservative with information I consider personal, and to open up in such a way just as Gilyard did, it is a dream that I could only wish to be able to.

Response to Gilyard

Amani Nassar

Dr. Hall

February 4, 2019

Gilyard’s writing was very intriguing from the beginning to the end. His precise use of details really helped the scenes come to life in my mind, like when he was running away from the police, describing the alleyway, the fence and even how he scurried behind the bushes. Through these details, Gilyard is able to build up the readers interest and anticipation for what might happen next or even resemble a feeling us as the readers may have in a situation like his. This is a writing technique I would like to include into my own writing to help keep my reader not only interested, but to add more depth to my writing. I also liked how Gilyard included his own thoughts into the scenes as they were happening like when his dean and teacher asked to see his arms. Gliyard stated “I didn’t mind obeying his order… was curious to see what they knew,” instead of us assuming this nonchalant attitude Gilyard may have had due to his previous actions, he was able to give us more of an insight into his thoughts that would help us understand his actions more and later on his reflection. Gilyard was able to go through almost his whole life story, highlighting and reflecting on the key events of his hardships in a way that made me want to read even more. 

A response to “Voice of the self” By Keith Gilyard

Michael Vignoles 

Dr. Hall

A response to “Voices of the self”

Keith Gilyard uses personal experiences and imagery to help portray his experience being a minority and his own drug problems while maintain high school. I really enjoyed when Gilyard was writing about his experience he was not afraid to use his own language he grew up with and used during time of the story. The main fact that Gilyard was trying to prove is that you do not need proper English to writing a great story with meaning. Gilyard describes his language as “Black English” which some can argue is not the proper English society has chosen to be correct.

Gilyard had to struggle dealing with being a minority and being surrounded around a ghetto community. He dealt with finical struggles which lead to him drug dealing and burglary.

“I became involved in a series of crimes that initially ranged from purse snatching to burglary. Ripping off some White woman down in Jackson Heights”.  (p. 227) He dealt with finical struggles which lead to him drug dealing and burglary. This ultimately started his decline in his academics as well as the use of heroine. However, the environment that he was raised gave him the identity to be able to talk “black english” which is argued to not be correct. However, Gilyard is able to use black English to help connect and create a colorful image for the reader. Giliyard is painting an image for the reader during a burglary gone wrong

‘“Should I shoot him?” Wallace asked me. 

“Naw man,” I replied, my mind on the real business at hand. “We ain’t got time for that.”

“Only take a second.” 

“Naw man, stop jiving.” However, I wasn’t totally convinced he was. Tango was quietly pathetic, what you might call a hope fiend.’ (p. 233)

Gilyard is not afraid to use his own personal language that he grew up speaking to his family and friends. Ultimately this gives the reader an idea of Gilyard struggle and point of view before even knowing the writer. Using improper words like “Naw man” or “We ain’t got time.”

I also really enjoy that Gilyard was not scared to show his true literature abilities in the conclusion to make a strong and solid argument about whether Black English is proper and should be embraced more in public education.

“What has been commonly referred to by educators as “failure” to learn Standard English is more accurately termed an act of resistance: Black students affirming, through Black  English, their sense of self in the face of a school system and society that deny the same.”(p. 258)

As a minority, Gilyard and many other have been oppressed and dined their true home culture because society gets to choose what is proper and what is not. Gilyard broke social boundaries and stereotypes by writing a great narrative with a life lesson to never give up. Moving forward this piece has inspired me to not be afraid to use my personal experience and culture to paint a vivid image for my readers.

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.