What is a rising action in “Harbor Me”?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In "Harbor Me," the rising action is the series of events that lead to the climax of the story. This includes the conversations between the six students in the classroom, where they begin to share their personal stories and experiences. As they share more about themselves, they develop a deeper understanding of each other's struggles and learn to empathize with one another. The rising action builds tension as the characters face challenges and conflicts, which eventually lead to the climax of the story.
Detailed answer:

In the novel "Harbor Me" by Jacqueline Woodson, the rising action is a series of events that build up the tension and anticipation of the story. It starts with the group of six students sharing their personal stories with each other and progresses as they begin to trust and support one another. One of the major turning points in the rising action is when the students learn about Esteban's father, who was detained by ICE and faces deportation. This event brings up issues of immigration, family separation, and injustice, which the students have to navigate while supporting Esteban and his family. Another important moment in the rising action is when the students visit Ms. Laverne's home and learn about her past and the challenges she faced as a young black girl. This event helps the students to understand the depth of the issues of racism and prejudice that still exist today.

As the rising action continues, the students become more aware of the world around them and the injustices that many people face. They develop empathy and understanding towards each other, their families, and their communities. This change is highlighted in the final chapter when the students have their final conversation in the art room, and they realize how much they have grown and how much they have helped each other. As Amari says, "we were the light for each other in a world that can be so dark" (Woodson, 176).

Throughout the novel, Woodson creates a compelling and engaging rising action that leads to a powerful conclusion. The events and experiences that the students share create a sense of urgency and purpose, driving the story forward and keeping the reader engaged. The rising action ultimately leads to the resolution of the conflicts and the growth of the characters, making "Harbor Me" a poignant and thought-provoking read.

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