Gifted Hands Study Guide

Gifted Hands By Ben Carson and Cecil Murphy

Gifted Hands is about a young African-American boy named Ben Carson, and his experiences growing up. Ben lived on the streets of Detroit, growing up poor and nearly alone, because his mother Sonya had to work constantly to pay for Ben and his brother Curtis. Her job didn't pay well, so she worked long hours to compensate.

Ben did very poorly in school, frequently getting low grades and getting made fun of constantly. The other kids referred to him as "the dumb kid". Finally, when he was eleven years old, his mother and a few of his school teachers began to motivate him, and he started to develop a genuine interest in school. Once he started doing better, the other kids stopped making fun of him as much, and even started to come to him for help with their schoolwork.

This all came about because Ben's mother realized that Ben and Curtis were not doing well in school, and made a rule limiting the amount of television they were allowed to watch each week, and obligating them to read books and write reports on them instead of watching TV. They both began to really enjoy reading and writing, and got to be very good readers. Ben also realized that he had an interest in science.

Soon, Ben was at the top of his class. By the time he graduated, his grades were good enough to earn a full scholarship to attend Yale University. He went, and there he met his wife-to-be, Candy. During his freshman year at college, he started to slip and get bad grades again, but he recovered with the help of Candy and his church. After Yale he went to medical school, and after that, to John Hopkins as a surgeon.

Ben learned that he had a talent for neurosurgery, and saved many lives. His ability to think and act calmly and his manual dexterity lend the story it's title: Gifted Hands.

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