Free Essay: Decisions of the Writer, Characters, and Readers in Admission by Danzi Senna

Published: 2022-06-10
Free Essay: Decisions of the Writer, Characters, and Readers in Admission by Danzi Senna
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Race American literature
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1755 words
15 min read

The short story Admission by Danzy Senna portrays basically the tales of the successes and struggles of the racially mixed population. In this short story, two characters who are a black couple faces tensions between them after their son receives admission from an elite preschool they applied for in an impulse. The common aspect that is clear in the story is the socioeconomic class differences. According to the history of Senna's novels, the major ideas that her stories cover are in line with races and personal identities. The writing, Admission is informed by her struggle to enlighten readers regarding the various struggles in decision-making and challenges that face the American people due to the differences in races and social classes (Stuart, 2011).

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Senna is a novelist from America. Her writings and stories are usually guided by her personal experiences. He grew up as a child in Boston, out of a mixed marriage. The writer in her story explores the challenges and issues she faced, growing up as a biracial child. According to the writer, Senna, America involves race as part of the identity. Most people in the US cannot avoid race as part of family conversation. Growing up as a black or biracial, this identity is something that is part of the daily awareness of the world (Dagbovie, 2006).

The characters in Admission are a couple, Duncan and Cassie and the son, Cody. The two are taking their son to an elite preschool, an event that is never a universal experience with many people. Cassie is a play writer-artist, while Duncan is a painter (Senna, 2011). Both are artists but have diverging views on taking their child to school. The wife feels that the main reason for her son to join the elite school is to accomplish a research on her latest play. The husband, however, feels differently. Basically, all the arguments revolve around how each of these partners was raised.

The writer believes that the US entails a lot of talks about races and that the anxiety regarding schools revolves around socioeconomic classes. The writer wants to draw an attention that people in the US live in a class-based society. The main characters, the couple, depict the people who see themselves as freethinkers, with a complicated power structure. The two are seeking for a school for their child. On receiving admission from the school they both selected out of impulse, the woman feels that the reason for taking her child there is mainly for her research purpose. Cassie was raised by a working-class family and she went to the public schools. She saw the struggles of the various low-class families. She, therefore, feels insecure about the position of letting their child learn in the elite preschool. The husband, does not, however, feel threatened or insecure concerning this position. The writer brings an idea that regardless of the couples being both black, they have class-based differences regarding their preferences.

As a reader, I find that the story portrays the real-life situations of the working class couples, who are planning are looking forward to sending their child to a preschool for the first time. In the book, the main character, Cassie engages in playwriting whereas her husband, Duncan involves himself in painting. Their child is only two, and spends a lot of his with the babysitter, allowing his parents to carry out their daily duties. The need erupts when the babysitter goes away and the couple spends the time to identify how they would get a school. The main focus of their choice is focused on the highest level school that well known for high-level education standards.

The first time the story unveils the quality of the school is when Cassie and Duncan attend a seminar at the school to help Cassie to get information regarding her play. In Senna (2011), the head of the school warns the parents not to apply in case they will not be active parents and members of the institution or against the nontraditional families. This statement proves that the school is founded on the tradition or normalcy of public schools.

There are always difficulties and dilemma that exist with parents who try to get the best schools for their children. Most people do prefer private schools because of the quality of education in such schools. Choices of schools affect critical part of human life. Many experiences of childhood are usually carried forward in the older stages of life. As a reader, I believe that our children need a better education and treatment in preschools because these are the determinant of the performance in elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and even in life. A strong foundation that is multifaceted in education and development of a rounded individual begins at the early childhood development, that is, what they obtain in the preschools. Cassie is very worried regarding the type of the environment her son will be admitted once they agree to the admission.

A statement that captivates me in the story is when Penny, the admission officer tells the couple that many people will offer eyeteeth to into the institution. Cassie is not comfortable with the offer and Penny reminds her regarding the huge demand for the school. Senna uses the phrase to give dignity to Cassie, but not the school. The harassment that Cassie feels she has received from an ambush to accept the school keeps her uncomfortable and she makes up her mind that the school is not the best for her son, Cody. This decision is one part that impacts the story.

The fear of the school and the decision that Cassie makes is partly informed by her past life experience. She remembers her troubled childhood life, though in a public school. Her son has a great opportunity to get into a good performing, private preschool, but she fears for the possibility of the suffering of her son in the school they did not think of selecting for their child. As a reader, I believe that this flashback was important because it tells us about the struggles of Cassie and the things she needs for her son's schooling. I also think that, regardless of the demands of the schools such as the elite private schools, sometimes, we cannot confine learning to a learning environment, but to the lessons learned in the real world life.

The short story of Senna can be linked to the real-life situations of the world today. Many people face challenges in looking for schools for their children. In the United States, there are several debates regarding the choice between private and public schools. Many choices are influenced by experiences, performance, social classes, and economic abilities of the families. In the story Admission, Senna brings to the attention of the readers the need for informed choices and the identity of every family. The couple had different views regarding the elite school suggested for their son. This aspect brings the idea of the socioeconomic difference that affects people from all the races. There is the aspect of freedom of people to choose what they want. The aspects of choice may not be the same and differ from one person to another, depending on personal preferences.

The early life of Senna as she narrates it had biracial challenges. Her father is from both African American and Mexican origin, and her mother is half English and Irish from Boston (Dagbovie, 2006). She identifies herself, however, as a black. Her parents were active revolutionists in the civil right movement. Her writing, therefore concerns self-identity, decision-making, and racial challenges. The identity and the decision aspect of the Admission story are based on the dilemma that comes across many parents in school choices. I appreciate that considers the dilemma and introduces emotions from it in the perspective of a mother from beyond a poor background. This flashback part sparks emotional sympathy. Cassie is trying to consider the best for her child. A line that goes, neither the son nor the father saw where she was in the shadow perfectively brings the aspect of fear and dilemma in making the choice (Hunter, 2007). She tries to incorporate the family in mind, and not just the mere schooling. This dilemma did not strike Duncan, Cody's father.

From the story a reader observes the author repeating specific images, for instance, when Cassie fixates a child whose hair burnt off. This image is brought out twice in the story and Cassie does not hesitate to recall her childhood experience in a public school. She wants Cody to go to school but the past experiences bring her the fears.

The reading of the admission story depicts the dilemma that exists in a high-achieving couple from California. The story has a satirical playwright who confronts her latent middle-class ambitions when her son was admitted to a high-level private preschool. Her desires open a rift with the husband's values, who believes that a school is a school.

I find Cassie a great character to concentrate on in the entire piece. It is easier for the reader to see her view and decision-making struggles. The story tells her past and the struggles she went through and the desires she wants of her son. The paper keeps the readers to invest in the character of Cassie (Stuart, 2011).

The book also centers on a daily task, which is taking a child to a preschool and a reflection of parents on their lives and the society. This activity is what most of us the people in the society as well as the author can easily relate. The schools with renowned names such as the one in the story are mainly regarded for the people of class and only high-class parents could manage the schools. It seemed ironical when Cassie thinks of turning down the offer for a fear of her son's future life and treatment in the school. The struggle in the story goes beyond the common racial dilemmas and incorporates the individual dilemmas, regardless of the social classes of people.


Senna, D. (2011). You are Free: Stories. Penguin.

Dagbovie, S. A. (2006). Fading to White, Fading Away: Biracial Bodies in Michelle Cliff's" Abeng" and Danzy Senna's" Caucasia". African American Review, 40(1), 93-109.

Hunter, M. (2007, January 01). Lost Titles. Retrieved from

Stuart, J. (2011, May 21). Danzy Senna's tales of the struggles, successes of the racially mixed. Retrieved from

A Mixed Race Take On What It Means To Be 'Free'. (2011, June 24). Retrieved from

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