My Canvas Bag

My Canvas Bag by J. Michael Krivyanski

Mark is a young man born into a bad situation. His parents drink too much, and his family often forgets him. He works hard to hide the harsh reality of his home life from those around him. Mark does this to avoid feeling shame. He escapes the chaos of his family by spending time in nearby woods. Mark keeps a canvas bag hidden close to his house. It contains blankets, a flashlight, cans of food, a transistor radio, things to read, and more. It has everything he needs to escape from his family's dysfunction for a while. Mark truly enjoys the peace and solitude he finds in the woods. He constantly struggles with the judgments of others when it comes to his family. It hurts Mark when people share their negative opinions about he and his family. He is often avoided by other kids and usually not included in things. The anger and resentment Mark feels increase as he gets older. He makes some bad decisions and gets into trouble. There comes a time when he must choose a path for his life. Mark decides to try and separate himself from the dysfunction of his family and past mistakes. He refuses to give up. Mark realizes he has a talent for writing and then discovers himself. He comes to understand his experiences in life have made him stronger than most people. Mark eventually makes peace with his family and his past. This results in finally feeling good about himself. When he graduates from high school, Mark is ready to move into adulthood.
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