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"Shame" by Dick Gregory.

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"Shame" by Dick Gregory.

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The short story "Shame" by Dick Gregory, clearly shows that poverty brings many hardships as well as a great deal of shame. However, there are still ways to gain pride and happiness. This story shows that by emulating somebody you respect, even a very poor person can derive pride from small actions, which the average person sees as insignificant.

In "Shame" Richard is a poor boy without a father, living in the ghetto. However, there is a girl at school named Helene, that he is in love with. Unlike Richard, Helene is well off, wears clean clothes, and is very smart in school. Richard tries very hard to be like Helene. He melts the ice water from the grocery so he should be able to wash his clothes for the next day of school. The only reason he goes to school is for her. Everyone else condemns his behavior. Nobody understands that the reason why he doesn't function like everyone else was because when he gets up in the morning he doesn't have breakfast. Nobody realizes that he is just another boy who wants to be recognized and seen as just a normal kid like everyone else. They don't comprehend how hard he is trying to accomplish that. While everybody else is having fun after school, he is shining shoes just to get a little change so he could get by. When the day comes that the kids pledge their fathers' money to the Community Chest, naturally Richard wants to match Helene's pledge. However, when Richard gets up to match Helene's amount, the teacher becomes upset at Richard. She said, firstly, that the money is for "him and his kind," and therefore, if he is able to give, he has no reason to be receiving relief. Secondly, she said that he didn't even have a daddy.

The story shows many different aspects in which poor people suffer, and also many things that they may derive pride from that we don't understand. It also shows that the emotions that they show and actions that they do, regardless of how weird or unimportant they seem, may provide great relief and...