Study Guide

Shaka's Mother in Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison

By Shaka Senghor

Shaka's Mother

Shaka's mother plays a big role in his life. Unfortunately, it's mostly not a positive one.

But we do get some glimpses of positive things Shaka's mom has done or been a part of building…which makes her abuse all the more heartbreaking. For instance, here's how Shaka describes his early life at home and the security he felt when his parents were together:

Their marriage had never been perfect, but our house had always been full of family, food, and great music, and I yearned for those days when my parents were together and happy. (3.16)

Sadly, a lot of the story isn't that happy. Shaka really wants his mom's love and approval, but as he becomes a teenager he doesn't get it. His mom hits him and says negative things about him, and at one point she even says she can no longer raise him and he will have to live with his father instead of with her. (3.40)

In this conversation, she does say she'll always love him no matter what. (3.38) But Shaka feels like this is a huge rejection, and it's one of the reasons that his conflict with his mom gets worse and he ultimately decides to live on the street instead of with his parents.

Shaka does come to the point where he forgives his mom along with everyone else who has hurt him (Prologue.4), and that makes a huge difference in his ability to grow in life.