Study Guide

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison Transformation

By Shaka Senghor

Transformation

Transformation is pretty much the name of the game in Writing My Wrongs. The whole book is about how Shaka started out as one person…and became a much different one.

There are lots of things that helped along the way. Having a loving father who was always there for him. Having a son Shaka wants to care for. Being forgiven by someone close to his victim. Learning African history and understanding where his story started. Writing about his life. Seeing his son grow up. Finding a girlfriend who genuinely understands what he's going through.

But transformation requires something else: Shaka has to really choose to become the best version of himself. It's a long, slow transformation, but Shaka truly forgives his old self and the people who hurt him, takes responsibility for his life, and becomes someone much different. And check this out: Shaka's story gives us hope that other people who have done something terrible can change too.

Questions About Transformation

  1. Is there one thing that Shaka finds the most transformative in his life? Or are many different things necessary to his process of transformation?
  2. What does real transformation mean for Shaka? What personal traits and commitments stay with him, and which ones does he overcome or leave behind?
  3. What specific role does writing play in Shaka's transformation? What are the different kinds of writing that help him?

Chew on This

For Shaka, chronicling his life in writing is the thing that lets him really see why he needs to change, and find the will to do it.

Anyone can experience the same transformation Shaka found, if they're willing to do the work.

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