Relating to the Other Side
'The Homework Strike' by Greg Pincus is a relevant and worthwhile story about the power of standing up and fighting for what one believes in, even if the consequences don't seem to work in that person's favor. Main character and seventh grader Gregory's determination to right the wrong of homework that he feels he has been unjustly assigned - or at least the amount of it that he feels he has to do - is the main crux of the book. He comes to the conclusion that the only way to fight back is to strike. It is impressive that he does this, all the while projecting a sense of calm, still passing his tests, and never speaking out against his teachers. He likes them and knows they are doing what they think is right, but he reasons that he is doing exactly the same. This should earn him more respect, but it takes a while for his cause to grow into something more, and until then, he often feels alone, even among his group of friends whom he can't quite convince that his act is worthy and necessary of their time.
Eventually he earns the respect of most, even if not all, of the people from whom he wants it, despite being called to the principal's office more times than he'd like. His history teacher, Dr. Bankster, who is the main reason Gregory put the strike into action in the first place, is surprisingly calm about it as well; all the while, however, he makes Gregory feel that his cause is futile. Regardless, Gregory doesn't give up hope, and through his determination, he sees the tides of progress approach. As more and more students, parents, and media take notice of his actions, he works hard to keep the movement going and show that it is truly a strike and not just inaction. He truly wants a change, because everybody has different levels of need, and while some students take an hour or so to complete their homework, his three hours a night is taking him away from what he cares about outside of school, including his interest in writing poetry.
Pincus' 'The Homework Strike' affirms the idea that everyone has the ability to stand up and speak out, no matter the circumstance. However, it is quite important to note that disobedience can only go so far, and in order for progress to be made, concessions have to come from both sides. Nobody can do it all alone, and voicing one's opinions should not come across as the be all and end all of a situation. Both sides matter, and without remembering that, constructive change cannot occur.