The Last Night of Ballyhoo

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The Last Night of Ballyhoo is a perfect example of the inner workings of a prejudice person. There are two psychological elements displayed here that are more related than most people realize. The prejudice theme is obvious throughout the play. But notice that in every display of bigotry, there is an underlying sentiment of personal inadequacy. Ballyhoo proves that racial and other forms of prejudice are a concoction created and driven by society. Defensive projection is defined as the process of perceiving one’s undesirable qualities in others (Govorun, Fuegen and Payne par. 1). Most people are not legitimately intolerant of other ethnicities (solely based on ethnicity). I believe that prejudice behavior is often projected from feelings of one’s own shortcoming and feelings that others have haughtily predetermined one’s own character. The feelings of inadequacy cause the person to swell up with pride and project their feelings onto someone different from themselves. There is only one remedy for this disease, and that is love. Personal feelings of failure would be impossible without some form of standard with which to be judged. Throughout Ballyhoo, the characters who display the most bigotry are the ones who are concerned the most about their public status. Boo’s inadequacies are many, and this explains her harsh demeanor. Her poor late husband and her daughter’s oddball behavior torment her psyche and give fuel to her critical nagging. She is embarrassed by anything that doesn’t conform to the standard. She is embarrassed to be one of the two Jewish families on the street. And notice how that second Jewish family is described: LALA: I wasn’t thinking of it that way, but yes! Of course! This is just about the best address in Atlanta. Did you know that? JOE: Not really.

LALA: You have only to look at the mail boxes up and down this street and you’ll see half the membership of the Junior League! JOE: Huh!
LALA: I’ll have you know that we are the only Jews on...
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