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Frank Conroy’s Childhood in His ‘‘Stop-Time’’ Memoir


‘‘Stop-time’’ is a memoir which was written by an American author by the name; Frank Conroy. The book tells Conroy’s childhood experiences while growing up between Florida and New York was published in 1967. Conroy’s story can be related to contemporary times where thousands of American children go through a lot of emotional turmoil. (Conroy120)

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This essay would consider one of the stops in Frank Conroy’s life which would be a personal life occurrence. Furthermore, the essay would highlight why such a stop is significant. Lastly, the concluding part of the essay would include what I would write if I was to write a memoir.

A significant personal life occurrence

According to the United Nations, a child has a right to live. Therefore, parents owe their children an obligation to raise them properly. In most cases where children lack parental support, it affects them psychologically and sometimes results in children been decedents. In most developed countries of the world, the government has infrastructure and programs meant to cater to children with irresponsible parents. (Conroy, 139)

It is important to note that the aforementioned scenario of government assisting parents is a thing of today’s world and not in the 40s when Frank Conroy grew up. This memoir is educative and can serve as a motivational guide to decedent youths. The adolescent stage is a very delicate, complicated, and important aspect of a person’s life. If not properly guided during adolescence, most youths go astray at this point. This is when parents are needed more than ever. Unfortunately, this was the stage that Conroy lost his father.

To worsen Conroy’s ordeal, he lost his father at age 11. Sociologists argue that parents have collective and singular roles to play in a child’s life. However, when a child losses one parent and the surviving parent is reclusive, the situation is almost catastrophic. Although, even while alive, Conroy’s father barely played any part in his personal life as he was often in and out of different mental homes.

The significance of such a stop-time

The significance of losing a father and growing with a stepfather is indescribable except it is experienced. The level of Conroy’s solitude is shown in his attraction to Tobey. Both kids shared a silent world of solitude and this kind of attraction is most likely when there is an empty emotional gap at home between kids and parents. (Conroy 137)

I find this personal life occurrence in Conroy’s life very significant. Apart from the physical absence, the importance of a father’s advice to a son can never be overemphasized. This does not in any way undermine the role of a mother in a child’s life. (Conroy 133)

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Chapter 10 of Conroy’s memoir ‘‘the coldness of public places’’ and chapter 12 ‘‘nights away from home’’ are both pointers to the fact that Conroy sought for love where it barely existed. It can be deduced from both chapters of the book that, the stop-time of growing up alone unloved can affect a person’s life forever if not properly checked. (Conroy, 154)

Reasons why this is an important stop-time in my culture

Throughout Conroy’s memoir, it is glaring that he was a self-made man. Growing up with a step-father is a two-way thing. It can either be a wonderful or torturing experience. In Conroy’s case, it wasn’t a pleasant experience for him. The most intriguing thing about Conroy’s memoir is, he kept pushing despite the odds against him until he eventually became an accomplished man. In this contemporary time, youths faced with similar circumstances are quick to embrace crime as a bailout. Broken homes account for a large number of youths who become a nuisance to society.

He was sent to an experimental boarding school, practically grew up moving from one city to another. This instability can also affect the well been of a child. Most importantly, we are talking about the 40s when half the world was still developing.

In today’s world, children who find themselves alone emotionally engage in distractive activities like video games, going to recreational parks, cinemas; etc. Back then in the 40s, it was quite different thus making Conroy’s growing a little bit tougher and different from kids who face the same ordeal in this contemporary age and time. (Conroy, 120)


Memoirs are inspired by real-life situations. Frank Conroy’s memoir ”stop-time” is very inspirational. Using his real-life experiences Conroy enriched his book with a lot of life lessons. His memoir which covers the author’s life from the teenage age of 9yrs through to his adult age of 18years is much enriched. Conroy’s life is an example of what resilience can do. Despite his bumpy sojourn into adulthood, Conroy unlike most youths today didn’t take to a life of crime. His qualities of being a rule-breaker, standing up against family oppression, and taking risks were all patterned to shape the author’s life for good. As humans, there comes a time in our lives when standing up to life becomes mandatory. (Conroy, 180)

Even in today’s world, there is a lot of children who go through the same thing as Conroy did. Instead of whining about life’s unfairness, he pulled through and eventually became a renowned writer that the world admires to date. It is hoped that everybody who has read this book will learn something new and valuable about life. Most importantly, hard or difficult times do not connote failure in a person’s life.

Works cited

Conroy, Frank ‘‘Stop-time’’ New York: Penguin books, 1967. Print.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, February 4). Frank Conroy’s Childhood in His ‘‘Stop-Time’’ Memoir. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, February 4). Frank Conroy’s Childhood in His ‘‘Stop-Time’’ Memoir.

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