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Paper Topic:

Dick Gregory essay, “Shame,”

24 February 2008

In Shame ' Dick Gregory relates how he come upon the eponymous sentiment a sentiment which , according to the narrator , is one he did not learn at home but was made vulnerable and introduced to at school particularly when a teacher so crudely and abruptly pointed out that he was less than the other children in class , and that his kind ' was just as pitiable . The reality that he was , according to the writer himself , a little negro boy . pregnant with poverty . and with no Daddy in the next room

(p . 212-213 ) in an era which was less than tolerant of race and social standing , made him vulnerable to the prejudice of people unlike himself

Gregory relates how teachers dismissed him as a regular troublemaker overlooking the fact that he behaved unlike the rest of the class and maybe underperformed because of frequent pangs of hunger , and because sometimes he just wants people to acknowledge he exists . Apart from that particular incident , the narrator recounts doing well in subsequent events and circumstances in his life , all because of a particular motivation in the person of Helene Tucker . The initial paragraphs in the essay begin with Gregory recounting the love of his young life , how at the age of seven she was the only reason he went to school for , and how everyone had their own Helene Tucker , a symbol or embodiment of everything people wanted . Unfortunately it was Helene Tucker who turned to him in pity and who cried for him when Gregory 's teacher told him off for lying about his father wanting to give fifteen dollars for charity pointing out that the fund raising existed as relief to his kind concluding the scathing incident by reminding Gregory and the rest of the class that he had no father . After that incident , the narrator was suddenly more than aware and sensitive of where he stood amongst his kind ' and against the lighter skinned populace . He disliked the relief clothes given by the welfare and was ashamed to be seen wearing it , he was ashamed to ask people for food , ashamed of needing to run to the relief truck when it stopped by , and he was ashamed of the reality which was rudely and unmercilessly broadcasted to him in that classroom where Helene Tucker cried for him , and the rest of the children pitied him , as he ran away . His actions subsequent to that humiliating incident in the classroom when he was seven has been about coming to terms with that shame he was disparagingly subjected to

The writer 's sentiments and actions regarding what was dealt to him is in no way an oversensitive reaction to a pressing predicament , but rather a natural response from a child who was , to put it quite simply bullied , for a disposition which he had no control over . Although Gregory refers to it as a big lesson ' which life dealt him at an early age , prejudice and bigotry shouldn 't be...

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