Jimmy Carter once said, “We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams”. Creating a beautiful mosaic is time-consuming and hard work, just like fitting in or defeating segregation. Sam and Sae Young’s personalities, reasons for gardening, and reasons for helping others are all different.
Throughout the chapters, we learn the personalities of Sam and Sae Young. Right away we find that Sam is a very friendly and outgoing man. For example, he is always talking to someone new. He states “I get ‘em looking up at me instead of down or off to the side. I start up conversations in lines and on the bus and with cashiers,” (31). He talks to strangers to try to get other people in a better mood and to teach them that random people aren’t always hateful. However, Sae Young is the opposite way. While Sam is a sociable man that loves to have a conversation, Sae Young just wants to be left alone and not noticed. She says, “ When I wake up, I no more like to be with people, like before. Afraid of everyone, all the time. I don’t leave apartment for two months. Neighbor buys food for me at store. I don’t open door if someone knocks, even friends- only for food. Afraid to walk on sidewalk with people,” (47). After the accident at the dry cleaning shop, Sae Young is afraid to come in contact with people but, eventually, she gets better. Sam and Sae Young see the world in a whole different light.
Sam and Sae Young also garden for their own reasons. Well, Sam doesn’t really garden; he justs hires a kid to do it for him. “I hadn’t had a garden since I was a kid. I wanted one now, only this time I was seventy-eight to be exact, and in no condition to dig up the soil. So I hired a teenager, Puerto Rican, who said he knew where he could get a shovel,” Sam explains (31). Sam is too old to garden, yet he still wants to be a part of it’s community. Sae Young, on the other hand, comes to the garden for a completely different reason. She comes so that she can be surrounded by people again, while Sam just wants a garden. She declares, “I want to be with people again… But just be near people, nice people, feel good, like next to fire in winter,” (47). Sae Young realizes that all people aren’t cold-hearted and that she can be around people without getting hurt. Sam and Sae Young each have a different way to use the garden.
Both Sam and Sae Young help others, but for their own reasons. Sam helps others to make the world a happier place. For example, he tries to get people to become friends or at least acquaintances. He says “ You’ve seen fisherman mending rips in their nets. That’s what I do, only with people. ….If I’m lucky, I get ‘em talking to each other,” (31). Sam wants everyone to be nice to each other and know everyone else. In contrast, Sae Young doesn’t help others, but she does help herself. By joining the garden she, I guess you could say, heals her insides.She faces her fear of strangers head on and conquers it. Sam helped others for fun, while Sae Young helps herself out of fear.
A few differences between Sam and Sae Young are their personalities, reasons for gardening, and reasons for helping others. Sam is very sociable man, but Sae Young is the opposite. Sae Young gardens for the people, not just to garden like Sam does. They both help others, but in completely different ways. All of these differences have to do with a community. Their personalities change with different people. They garden to be with people, and in a community. Also, you can’t help others without others. Referring back to Jimmy Carter, being different is not a melting pot. It is a beautiful mosaic.
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