Welcome ASA College Writers!

Glenn Cox, co-author of Donovan's Charge

Welcome, college writers! This is your opportunity to share your literary analysis of Donovan’s Charge or pose questions for author, Glenn Cox, by commenting below or contacting bookbogglers@gmail.com. Your ongoing enthusiasm and insights into the drama have made for an exciting semester–thanks for sharing your work so future students can benefit from your creative analysis of the play.

 

28 comments

  • Milton Sanchez

    Good Afternoon Mr. Cox, this is my literary analysis of Donovan’s Charge. I would like to know what are your thoughts about my perception of the book based on your own personal experiences.

    Peer Critique of Literary Analysis

    Do you think killing an individual in order to save your life should be punished? Should your innocence and freedom be taken away for such act? Glenn Cox, an African American male from Bronx, New York was sentenced to 17 years in prison after protecting himself from a man who tried killing him. Mr. Cox killed the individual but at the same time he killed 17 years of his life. After his release Glenn Cox wrote a drama called Donavan’s Charge, where he describes the way in which he was able to cope with such unjust and deprivation of liberty. Mr. Cox constantly talked to his younger self also known as The BOY in order to preserve his sanity.
    During incarceration Cox experienced a war between his younger self and his current self. The BOY constantly tried comforting Cox by trying to enter the cell but Cox would always stop him and prevent him from doing so because Cox was trying to keep him away; protect him. During the drama there is an interaction between Cox and The BOY that goes as follow
    BOY: Well, you’re in prison now, remember? You’re all by yourself cause you won’t even let me in there with you.
    Cox: Listen to me. It’s not about that. I’m just trying to save you. (Cox & Merwin 2015)
    We can clearly see why Cox is being so apprehensive about the situation and is trying to keep The BOY away to maintain his purity unstained. Despite the unfair trial that Cox has been put through, he still tries to keep part of himself free.
    The dilemma between The BOY and Cox is a bit ironic since Cox wouldn’t have been able to make it through the next seventeen years without The BOY, yet he constantly insists that the boy stay away.
    Cox: Listen. I just want to save you for later. Keep you out of here and safe so when I do get out, we can be together again. Bad enough I’m about to lose seventeen years of my life. Just don’t want anything to happen to you, I’ve got to keep the part of you that’s me safe, you understand.
    BOY: Sort’a
    Cox: You’re the best part of me. (Cox & Merwin 2015)
    Even though he is trying to preserve himself he needs his childhood memories and old ways of thinking in order to keep him in a mental fantasy as he completes his time. During the drama of Donavan’s Charge one of the civilian workers in the prison (Space) became Cox’s best friend. Even Space made references to certain moments when Cox would act like a child and make good times and laughter under current situations. There is a subliminal message behind that statement; Cox unconsciously used The BOY in certain occasions to escape a brutal reality to maintain his own sanity.
    Kill or be killed is a strong statement. Ending someone’s life, even during an act of self-defense has its consequences. Cox, a man who unjustly lost his liberty and relied upon himself to maintain sanity and optimism faced seventeen years in prison for protecting his life at all costs. A man who has killed and is still capable of conversing with his inner child is not a guilty man. The relationship between The BOY and Cox was pure. With all said Cox’s story is a great testimony to what a great humanitarian once said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • Dear Milton,

      Thanks for sharing you writing–enjoyed the critique.
      Although I went through those years of liberation- and it is all how you look at it– that experience took me from one season of myself to another, It was the break that I needed in my life, to ascend to the higher realms of a newer way to view myself and to really think or contemplate of who or what i can become in the grand scheme of this universal drama called life. I called my incarceration, a liberating experience simply because life often has to put one in a place of brokeness to slow down our own personal ego and help bring one out of this illusional dream that we call life. And to wake us up! So we can move forward.
      All the best, Milton,
      Glenn Cox
      .

  • emerwin77

    Hello Milton,

    Your essay has been forwarded to Mr. Cox– check back for his response.

    Thanks for submitting!
    Book Bogglers

  • Dr. Cynthia Stuart

    I was greatly moved and inspired by reading Donovan’s Charge. Most of us have not had nearly the level of unjust circumstances foisted upon us that were experienced by Mr. Cox, yet to be human is to face hardships on a constant basis – including those to which we are unfairly placed. Reading such an autobiographical dramatization offers hope for the rest of us that given focused, positive determination and effort, one can overcome life’s roadblocks and move on to a greater place – however we define what it is. Glenn Cox is a living example of, “attitude is everything”. To have survived such an ordeal in such a creative manner is a credit to this individual, to say the least…and having met Glenn, I can attest that yes, the BOY is very much alive and well.

    • emerwin77

      Thanks, Cynthia, enjoyed meeting you too.

      Sorry I couldn’t make it to Symposia, but I’ll be there for the next one.

      Glenn
      .

  • Kettye fontilus

    Good afternoon,Mr. Cox I have a question, How was your relationship before with your family and after you went out of prison. For 17 years you didn’t see your family,and I wanna know how you were feeling when you got locked up?

    • emerwin77

      Hi Kettye,

      When I went to prison my daughters were 7,8 and 9 and my son Michael was 11. I really enjoyed raising my kids. I can remember coming home from work, taking a shower and then when I’d lay down to watch tv with them, they’d braid my hair. I remember how on a Saturday I’d take them to playground behind the elementary school where I went to school which was not far from our house. They’d play and then we’d come home and their mother would make us breakfast. I remember behind the playground there was a little stream. My daughter Grammy still remembers. she told me the stream seemed like an ocean and when I’d put them on my back and jump over it, and she thought I was superman.

      I love my children and am grateful for the years I had with them growing up. Today I thank God we’re all still close.

      Thanks, Kettye, for your question. It bought to mind those good times.

      Glenn Cox

  • Kerline Jules

    Good afternoon,Mr. Cox I would like to know how you were feeling after you went out of prison. I know that it was for about 17 long years you suffered, and i would like to know how you restarted your life?

    • emerwin77

      Hello Kerline,

      I came home to a program, Ready Willing and Able that helped men and women who were incarcerated to get on their feet. They give you a clean room, bed, meals and a job. My job was as a security guard in Brooklyn and I got paid $400 a week. At the time I felt great because I was making good money and living a simple life– chilling out, saving my money. I was sitting in the parole office and two young kids from ASA came in, a guy and a girl. Being up state I was pretty well versed in psychology, business, history, political science although I wasn’t very strong in math or on computers. There were like 50 people in this room, and they asked who wants to sign up and take a new lease on life. Something in my made me raise my hand– along with a younger guy and an old timer. Long story short, I signed up and ASA took
      my life on a whole other path.

      I have to give props to ASA because I met great people and started a new chapter in my life.

      Thanks, Kerline, I hope you’re having a great experience at ASA, too,

      Glenn Cox

  • Yvonne Taveras

    Good Afternoon,

    I am very spiritually moved by all your struggles. I am just very amazed by how you faced a lot of your demons from your past with your time spent in jail. Your book not only talks about a murder conviction but something greater. Donovan’s Charge speaks volumes because contrary to popular belief not all men of color convicted of a felony is actually guilty of that crime. I am honored to now know that a beautiful soul as your does still exists. I started to believe not many people still believe in the power of God. As you have stated above in one of your comments (“I called my incarceration, a liberating experience simply because life often has to put one in a place of brokeness to slow down our own personal ego and help bring one out of this illusional dream that we call life”) life does has its way of putting us as individuals in difficult situations not to break us but build us so that we can all help one another. You are truly a remarkable man. I wish you all the best. My only question is had you not went through this experience do you think you still would have been able to reach this understanding of life? I ask you this because clearly this person always existed in you from how you would keep yourself pure with keeping The Boy safe and away.

    • emerwin77

      Hello Yvonne,

      Who can tell? Life brings us certain experiences that I mentioned before–there are elements within our psyche that set conditions for us to grow, and those condition have to be. There are passages in both the Bible and the Koran that say certain paths are laid out for us. Some conditions are brought on by our own choices, but some that life presents to strengthen us. What you have written shows that you are a very deep and caring person. I appreciate you taking the time to think about what I and Eileen set out to express in our book. It’s like you have entered our mental world, understood and are willing to add your own thoughts.

      Very profound, thank you, Yvonne, you are very perceptive.

      Glenn Cox

  • Korapin.s

    Hi Mr. Cox, I have read your story in my English composition class, and here is my literature analysis which I am personally fascinated by the unfair within society and how story was told. It enhance my imagination. Hope you are all well and wish you all the best.

    Self-spirit
    The only person who always by your side is yourself. Cox and the boy his younger self in drama “Donovan’s charge” point out these vital issue. No matter rain or shine our genuine spirit not only comes out in our life but always reminds us of our true self and our dream. The boy in the story represents the innocence mind while Cox himself is a mature mind who has been through a lot of life experience. The relationship between Cox and the boy who always help each other implies that deep down Cox still believes in himself and there will be a time that he can be free again.
    The author starts at the point that Cox is looking back to the boy, his younger self. He is going to confront with Pop. It implies his stake to protect himself from trouble otherwise he also miss important persons like Pop and Ma. Then, when Cox has to go to the prison, He doesn’t want the boy to come with him. Their internal conflict has broken down and put into two difference physical characters. The boy who holds the character of curiosity and Cox who is upset and filled with guilt are trying to find balance between each other. “Listen to me, you’re one aspect of me I just can’t let out in here. You bopping all over the place, clowning around like you always do, staring at people, asking all sort of question.’ ( P.55). This line show that Cox knows that whatever the boy will be with him he just want to keep him close by to help him face the bad condition in prison.
    From the story, the boy who never leaves his side also lightens up Cox mind little by little and keeps him holding on to himself. Cox who also keep participated with the boy reflects that he still needs to retain genuine spirit of himself. Finally, in the end of the story Cox is reunited with the boy and goes on play the role of soldier with his younger self.

    • emerwin77

      Hi Korapin,

      Thanks so much for sharing your essay from last semester. It is as much about you and your compassion as the play.

      Eileen

  • Randee

    Mr. Cox,
    Now that Donovan’s Charge has been published and more and more people are able to read about your story, to witness a bit of what you went through, to ask questions in trying to make sense of it all, how do you feel at this point in your journey? It’s clear that your story has really touched the lives of others, but for you, how has this changed you, your life going from private to public? I imagine it has to be very rewarding and I would think that being able to openly express what happened to you, must be quite a joy. Being able to share your insights and courage is a great gift.

    Keep writing!
    Randee

  • Christine Bethune

    What made you name your story Donovan’s Charge?
    Christine Bethune
    E-mail christinbethun@asa.edu
    April 7,2016

    What inspired you to write this play?

    • emerwin77

      I told Eileen a story about my Civil War horse and how when I was a child I used to rely on Donovan to protect me in my mind from my grandfather. I had written the story for her class, and when I read it out loud, everyone liked it and she was the one who said– that’s the name of your story, Donovan’s Charge.

      What inspired me to write my story?

      Because I felt that any one who has had an experience as traumatic as that, has something to teach others about how to stand on their own truth. And I’m not just talking about prison, any experience that has you in a situation that makes you forget to love yourself is a prison. And that can lead us into painful, destructive situations– drugs, cigarettes, relationships can all be expressions of prisons.

      Thank you, Christine, for your question.

      Glenn

  • Cynthia Ceballos

    Hi Mr. Cox,

    I believe nothing in life is coincidence! Being in a rush and frustrated all went away when I saw you at the train station after your rounds. When I ride the train I always think about would I ever see him on the subway?

    It was like seeing my one of my all time favorite movie stars, Denzel Washington,

    My afternoon was hectic at work, running late for my mid term, took the train too far, had to come back up when boom I come off the train and see him and the crew organizing their earnings. Instantly I said that’s him! That’s Glen! proceeded to walk because I was already late but I just had to turn back.

    I approached him and one of his guys asked can I help? Truly, I don’t even think I acknowledged the guy and proceeded to ask if he was the author of Donovan’s charge. The funny thing is on the train I had opened the link to post a comment on book loggers and to come off the train and be able to express exactly what I wanted to write in person was AMAZING!

    He was so loving, accepting, full of life! He nicely groomed- his dreads look so nice , well mannered, funny, not that I thought he wasn’t but you think jail and envision tough lol. When I walked off my tears ran down my cheek and All I thought was wow! After taking my midterm I ran to the 8th floor looking for you at your class room, through empty class rooms, on the fifth floor, went to the teachers lounge but I couldn’t find you anywhere lol.

    Despite going through all he did he is so full of life and enjoying every moment.
    It was a really nice surprise.

  • Jay jay

    How is your lifestyle now after prison besides performing on the trains?
    P.S. How you doing? (Joey from friends voice)
    -jay 😁

    • MOHAMMAD ARIF UDDIN

      In our class our professor has been teaching English Comp 1 based on Donovan’s Charge. We had so much discussion about Donovan’s Charge. Even today we had some question in our midterm exam about Donovan’s Charge. So, what is your feeling about this?

      • emerwin77

        That is great. Because not only do people learn about my experience, but they learn how to deal with their own high pressure experience. I am just an example of what each person can do by going within. Because the prison isn’t the walls that surround you, it’s your own thinking, your own thoughts. But if you alter your own thoughts, you can transcend any walls.

        Thanks, Mohammad,
        Glenn

    • emerwin77

      Hi Jay,

      I’m very happy. Although I don’t have too many materialistic things, I am very happy in my relationship with Eileen.
      It’s also great to be in touch with my kids, and to spend time with Eileen’s kids. We have a great relationship and real conversations, so there’s no divisions between us and we all learn from one another.
      So, we have a simple life here in Jersey, but I love it. We have a dog named May, and a cat named Dimmy and I love to spend time with them because we’re all on the same plane.

      So, I’m doing alright, Jay. How you doing?
      Glenn

  • Maria Peru

    Do you like animals, if so what kinds?

    • emerwin77

      Hello Maria,

      Yes, I do. I’ve had many dogs that I’ve loved– there was Randy, Deana, Dino and Lady when I was a kid. They were my best friends. At night my moms was in the livingroom and she was so acute to being nosey that she would get up at every little noise. So I used to sneak out through the back door where the kitchen was, into the backyard because Deana and Lady lived in the garage,and they would come running. I’d hit them off with bones. Then I’d tip toe run down the driveway and go across the street to watch as the lights would go on in the house as Mom got up from the livingroom and went through all the rooms like train cars as she headed into the kitchen to investigate– I could hear her, “I told that boy not to be giving those dogs anymore of those bones.” Then I’d sneak back in.
      Randy was my first dog. She had been my mother’s dog, and so by the time I was four she was already old and blind, but she stayed by my side through everything. In the play when I talk about living in the boarding house when I was 15 and how I much I missed her. Then there was Sheeba, a German shephard, who gave birth to 12 puppies in the bathtub. She was another beautiful friend.
      And now I have May– and Dimmy, she’s a cat who thinks she runs the house, but I love them both.

      Thanks, Maria.

      Glenn Cox

  • AHHEE PARK (AKI)

    Dear Mr. Glenn Cox

    I have read Donovan’s Charge, but since I am a international student, from Japan, still have not gotten all of this book so I will keep reading over and over again until i get it all. But one word, “LOVE” which is the same meaning and one of the most powerful words in whole entire world. How the LOVE inspired and motivated you while you were in jail.

    Thank you so much and best regards,

    AKI

    • emerwin77

      In there I learned to love myself more, and me loving myself made the experience much more interesting and calming. Instead of going out, I went it.

      A old timer once told me to get through this, you’ll have to go within. And with that principle you beat depression where ever you are.

      Thank you Ahhee, for your comment. And no need to read again and again because truly you already understand. It’s about love.

      Glenn

  • Eudis Diaz

    Most of the time (maybe la always) people that are being in jail talk about the bad experiences.

    This question could be weird but, there’s something you miss about jail? A friend, certain celebration, experiences, whatever.

    After I listened a song called “Jailer” from ASA I realise a relationship between the Jailer and the prisoner that anyone talks about. Have you ever listen the song? Did you have a relationship with a Jailer?…

    • emerwin77

      Yes. The principles, respect. The unity, family. Strangers become your family up there. If you don’t have family coming to see you, there’s somebody in there that’s looking out for you. Why is it that it takes people to be a locked environment to learn how to respect. When people are under pressure they respect and help one another.

      Yes, Space. He was 22 years old. Good guy, his wife used to send him venison steak and rice and we’d eat together. He was a red headed racist, but he liked me and I gave him a copy of my book and he used to read a chapter to his wife every night. After I got out, He and his wife wanted me to live with them to help get me on my feet.

      Good question.No, I haven’t heard that song, but I will.

      Thank you, Eudis.

  • Lewis Mancebo

    Will not attend, but you can read Somewhere in the Sky.

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