Where have you Come from Doesn’t Define you

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“The Rose that Grew from the Concrete” by American rapper Tupac Shakur is about reaching our goals in life despite the hardships and conflicts that we face on the way. Shakur begins the poem with a question as to whether we have heard of the rose that has grown out from a crack in the concrete. Trying to refute nature's rules, the rose has learned to walk without shoes. While it seems strange, it has finally learned to live by breathing the fresh air around it by concentrating and understanding its dreams. The lack of attention and the surroundings did not prove to hinder the growth of the rose. Throughout the last lines, the poet shows encouragement by saying “long live,” and he says it has been able to live a long life as the rose concentrated on keeping its dreams alive. The tone of the poem is passionate, meaningful, powerful, serious and individualistic. The poem is highly inspiring and motivates the readers to realize and work on making their dreams come true. In life its not where you are coming from but where you are going.

According to the dictionary, by definition a concrete is a heavy, rough building material made from a mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water, that can be spread or poured into molds and that forms a mass resembling stone on hardening. The best soil to use when growing roses is loam. ‘The Rose That Grew From Concrete’ doesn't really talk of a rose, but instead of a man who grew from the ghetto. The concrete is a symbol for hardship, conflicts, low expectations and stigmas place on people who were raised in the ghetto. The crack in the concrete is the opportunity for people to rise from the all these negative expectations. And the rose symbolizes the few who take the opportunity to be great, disregarding the challenges they face and proving society wrong. The poem was composed by Tupac from his own personal experience and suffering. When someone is raised in the ghetto people tend to have low expectation of them. Some people believe that if you are raised in the ghetto you can’t amount to anything good. Tupac speaks about “Proving nature’s law wrong”, by which he means he is proving the expectations of others false. They don't think any ordinary person can grow up and change the society.

People who are raised in the ghetto didn’t born with a gold spoon to feed them. Alternatively, Tupac says, 'it learned to walk without feet.', which is stating without help and support he find his way. While real roses don't walk, the rose still serves as a symbol for someone who grows without support. The feet support the body and are required walking aid. Not only is there lack of compassion for the individual portrayed by the rose, he also lacks encouragement and even the basic resources required for effective action. Nevertheless, he is rising and making strides toward success. The stanza goes “Funny it seems, but keeping it's dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air.” It means he has made it out of the ghetto and is finally making something of himself. As long as you're willing to pursue your goals and ambitions, you will achieve them, regardless of your background or where you come from.

In the final word, the speaker salutes the rose rising from the concrete. He says, “Long live the rose,” the speaker suggests that the rose is deserving of great praise because of its successful battle against oppressive powers. The speaker finishes by saying the rose will thrive even though 'nobody else ever cared!' The exclamation point indicates the strong emotional intensity of the speaker. Without any support the rose and the individual it symbolizes have succeeded. The speaker compares high praise and disrespect in that final line to make the success of the rose even more meaningful.

In life not everyone was born with opportunities just handed down to them. Many have to pave their own path. A lot of times they are faced with adversities because the society we live in is wired to think and speak negative. Like if you’re from the ghetto you can’t amount to nothing good or if you’re poor you will remain poor. Which is not true. I wasn’t born to a rich family that opportunities are just handed to me. I had to work hard to be where I am at today. I grew up in a home where I don’t get a lot a of support. Everything I basically do on my own. And I mostly get negative comments that I’m not going to be great and that going to college is waste of time and money. But I see something different. I want to be different. The lack of support did not discourage it motivate me to work even harder and prove everyone wrong. Where you are coming from doesn’t define you it is where you’re going. 

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Where Have You Come From Doesn’t Define You. (2021, Jul 28). Retrieved February 22, 2024 , from

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