Black and White
In 1997, Amanda Coyne’s “The Long Goodbye: Mother’s Day in Federal Prison”, was published by Harper’s. This was her first publication, and a moving one at that. She talks about her sister’s time in prison, and the things she observed during her visits to her. After reading this essay, it got me thinking about a deep and debatable idea that she seemed to believe. Is being a good or a bad person as simple as doing a good or bad thing or always making the right choices? Or is right and wrong more of a grey area than people realize? Christina Boufis’ essay, “Teaching Literature at the County Jail”, also focuses on women in prison, and what she experiences while teaching them. I do believe that Boufis would agree with Coyne’s idea that just because someone has done a bad thing, does not necessarily make them a bad person, and sometimes the crime is not equivalent to the time sentenced. People are a product of their environment. This is a statement that has been proven time and time again to be true. Talking about her students in the county jail she worked at, Boufis writes, “I can piece together the world that many of my students come from. It’s a world of broken promises- mothers who abandon them, boyfriends and fathers who rape them, partners who beat them- and one where home and school are fractured at best.” (Boufis, 101) This in my opinion is a perfect example of the environments many people in these situations come from. I also believe that this could be one of the main reasons why man people get involved in crime and drugs. Many of them probably would’ve never started down the paths they did, had it not been for finding themselves in these desperate situation to begin with. Having a solid support system at home, or at school can have a lot to do with the choices that a person will make. Knowing these things, one could come to the conclusion that just because these women committed crimes, and made bad choices, it doesn’t necessarily make them...
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