Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chps. 11 & 12

          The sentence that I selected from chapter eleven was "Piedmont could fire me, bawl me out, abuse me, and put it on my record that I was an incorrigible son of a bitch, and make sure I never taught in South Carolina again, or cut off my teacher's pension" (p227).  I chose this line because in this chapter Conroy is fighting to keep his job.  Doctor Piedmont wants him fired, and willing to use every dirty trick in the book in order to make that happen.  But, Conroy is no longer afraid of what Piedmont will do because he knows that Piedmont is wrong in his actions.  Even though Conroy loses his battle with Piedmont, and loses his job on the island he comes to the realization that there is no real reason to be afraid of Piedmont that he is just a little man trying to maintain power in a changing world.  The sentence that I selected from chapter twelve was "I wanted to tell them about the river that was rising quickly, flooding the marshes and threatening the dry land" (p256).  In this line Conroy was discussing how the world is changing and how people like Doctor Piedmont and Bennington were a dying breed.  People like Piedmont and Bennington did not want things to change, and they were doing their best to make sure things stayed the same.  But, even though they got Conroy fired from the island, they could not stop the changes that had already begun to take place.  I liked how the book ended by discussing the changes that started taking place, even though they were just small changes in some ways, they were still changes that made a difference.

Conroy, P. (1972). The Water is Wide. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chp. 9 and 10

             The sentence that I picked from chapter nine is "I soon decided that any human that had not been entombed on Yamacraw since birth had a vast repository of experience to share in my classroom" (p182).  I liked this sentence because it shows another way that Conroy was trying to educate his students, and introduce them to the outside world.  In this chapter Conroy has a bunch of different people with their own take on the world, and each with different backgrounds come and talk to the students.  Some of these people left a very strong impression on the children, such as Conroy's sister and Peter.  The sentence that I picked from chapter ten is "What fired the imagination of my students one week bored and stultified them the next" (p210).  In this chapter Conroy discusses how you need to keep the material interesting so that the students did not get bored.  As a way of trying to keep things interesting Conroy petitioned for a trip to Washington D.C. after he found a letter from a woman in Virginia.  After he got permission from all of the parents and got transportation along with a few chaperones, he loaded up the students and took them to Washington.  Once there the students were given a tour of a number of museums and monuments, but the one place they really seemed to enjoy was the zoo.  All of the animals excited them.  They also enjoyed staying with the families who boarded them while they were in Virginia, as well playing with the children in the neighborhood.  The trip was a educational and exciting experience for the students.

Conroy, P. (1972). The Water is Wide. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Conroy Chp 7 & 8

             The sentence that I picked out from chapter seven was "I did not take them seriously until I realized how seriously the kids took them, how they suffered under this constant humiliation, and how powerless they felt to cope with her attacks on their basic worth and  dignity."  In this line Conroy is talking about how much hated Mrs. Brown.  This chapter focuses on how abusive Mrs. Brown was to the students, and they did not trust her because of it.  There was a part in the chapter where the students became mad at Conroy for beatings several of them had received while he was away one day.  On this day Conroy had to go to the mainland for something, and he left the children a collage project to work on.  It was supposed to be completed by the time he got back to the island.  When he returned there was no collage, and Mrs. Brown told him that she had taken the belt to several students for posting pictures of naked women on the wall of the school room.  These naked pictures turned out to be works of art by Picasso.  The sentence that I picked out from chapter eight was "It is hard to pinpoint accurately the precise moment, when I lost favor with administrative juggernaut of Beaufort County."  In this chapter Conroy goes head to head with the people who run Beaufort County school system.  He has written several letters stating that he believes that Yamacraw children deserve the same education as everyone else in the county, and that there is no reason why the school board cannot pay for him to commute back and forth from the island.  They try to frighten him out of what they called his "griping", but in the end he won an allowance so that he could commute, as well setting up a fresh milk program for the students.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Conroy Chapters 5 and 6

          The sentence that I picked out from chapter five was "We must show love, compassion, and understanding for each other."  I like this sentence because this is the part in the story where Conroy tries to teach the children some responsibility and compassion for others.  He says this line after he and the children start talking about the condition of the dogs on the island.  During this conversation the children get mad, and they start calling each other names.  In order to try and get past this disrespect for one another he decides to teach them responsibility by giving them puppies to take care of.  The dogs appear later down the line to be as malnourished as the dogs already on the island, but they still have some of their old spark which gives Conroy some hope.  The sentence that I picked out from chapter six was "I admire you very much for having taught on this God-forsaken island, but I am going to give these kids the experience of spending Halloween the way the rest of the kids in America spend it."  In this chapter Conroy stands up to Mrs. Brown so that he can take the children to Beaufort on a field trip for Halloween.  He wants them to experience Halloween because they never have before.  Halloween is something that they do not seem to celebrate on Yamacraw Island.  Not only will the children get to experience Halloween, but they will get to hang out with white children the same age as them.  This is something that they have never done before.  The field trip to Beaufort was educational for the students; they got to learn about Halloween, but they also got to mix with children outside of their own culture.  Conroy fight for this field trip was educational for both him and his students.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Conroy Chapter 4

       The sentence that I picked out from chapter four was "They threw a thousand yasuhs in my direction, which made me uncomfortable, but I met some of the island's most colorful figures when I went down to talk with the fishermen."  This line in the chapter stood out to me because I believe that is the part of the story where Pat Conroy is truly trying to get to know the islanders on Yamacraw.  I believe that this is important because by getting to know the individual islanders he is learning about the community.  The island community in which his students live.  By going down and talking with the fishermen everyday he gained new insight about the island, and had new things that he could discuss with his students in order to get them active in class, as well as get to know them better.  Another reason why this particular sentence stuck out to me is because I think that not only is Conroy trying to better understand the community where his students live, but because he wants to get to know the islanders.  He's been on the island for a little while by this point in the story, and most of the people that he has actually talked to are his students.  He talks to Mrs. Brown in passing, but mostly about school.  He also spoke with Mr. and Mrs. Stone, but only because they controlled pretty much everything on the island.  But, Pat Conroy had been pretty much alone since he came to the island, and I believe that not only was he trying to get know the islanders, but that he was also trying to make friends.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Conroy Chapters 2 and 3

        My favorite line from chapter two is "I told them about myself, about my mother and father, about my four brothers and two sisters, about teaching in Beaufort, about going to Europe, and about my coming to Yamacraw."  I like this sentence because it describes how Conroy opened up to his students in order to get them interested in what was going on in the class.  Not only did he get them interested, he got them to talk to him.  They were excited when they learned that his father flew jet planes.  When he was done talking about himself, they proceeded to tell him about things they did on the island.  In this way Conroy got the children to open up to him.  My favorite line in chapter three is "My pre-Yamacraw theory of teaching held several sacred tenets, among these being that the teacher must always maintain an air of insanity, or of eccentricity out of control, if he is to catch and hold the attention of his students."  Early in the chapter Conroy has a conversation with the class about snakes.  The conversation started when Conroy introduced snakes as part of that days lesson.  The children stated that snakes were bad.  When he tried to explain that not all snakes are bad, the children began telling him about the different myths and stories that they had heard about snakes while growing up on the island.  It was after this interesting conversation that Conroy decided to "maintain an air of insanity."  He started bringing records for the students to listen to.  Once they had memorized most of the songs in order, he started mixing them up trying to fool them.  He also began making games to help the students learn, especially those who seemed to be having the most trouble in school.  When he asked the whole class questions out loud, sometimes to test them to see if they were paying attention he would tell them something like "Second President was D.P. Conroy."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Conroy Chp1

      The question that I answered was "What incident or conflict does the author use to begin the story? Why do you think the author chose this beginning?"
      The author starts the story with the issue of racism. In chater one, Pat Conroy, the author, is a teacher at a high school in South Carolina. Racism was brought to light in this chapter on the day that Martin Luther King Junior died. The majority of the students at this school are white. But, Pat taught them all, and he would talk to the black students during recess. Most of them anyway. There was one group of girls who would not talk to him, until the day that Martin Luther King was assassinated. On this day racism seemed to be brought into a whole new light for Pat. White students were going around saying things such as, "Mrs. King is now a black widow". He saw the black students walking the halls, crying to themselves, because they could not talk to their white teachers. During recess Conroy went up to some black students, and was talking with them about what happened. The group of girls who usually did not talk to him, came up to him that day. They yelled at him, and wanted to know why he was there. They wanted to know why he couldn't just leave them alone, and let them cry in peace. I think that the author chose this beginning, because it helps to open up the story. He plans to go an island, that has mostly a black population, and teach there. I believe that this opening is a way of showing