Contrasting: Boy and Teacher

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English Composition

6 October 2011

A Teacher’s Impact in “Shame” and “I Became Her Target”

The impact of a teacher on one’s life is often hard to measure. The poet William Butler Yeats once wrote, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Sometimes that “fire” can be a positive force in a person and other times it can a destructive “blaze” that causes a great deal of damage. In “Shame,” written by Dick Gregory and “I Became Her Target” written by Roger Wilkens, the two works show how the impact of teachers can be very different on the people involved. Both stories are similar in that both men write about the horrible situation in which prejudice have put them in their lives. “Shame” is a story about a young black boy who gets criticized by everyone around him for not just being black, but also for being poor. In “I Became Her Target,” the boy in that story suffers because he is the only black kid in his school. Both stories display the lives young African American men who live a “white” world filled with prejudice and hate towards them.

In “Shame,” Dick Gregory writes the story of how he was a poor child growing up. He talks about a couple of bad things that he experienced when he was a young boy in school. Gregory grew up in a poor home and he always went to school dirty. While he was in school, he liked this girl whose name was Helene Tucker. He described her as a beautiful girl who was always nice and clean. He had a crush on her and he always tried to look as clean as possible when she came around. Gregory had a bad relationship with his teacher. She even sat him in the seat with a chalk circle drawn around it called the “idiot’s seat.” One day in class when the teacher asked students to donate money to the Community Chest. Helene’s father gave her three dollars. Gregory wanted to impress Helene. Even though Gregory collected all the change he had, which came to three dollars, he decided to...
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