Book Smarts vs. Common Sense

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"[Hulga] thought this was funny; Mrs. Hopewell that it was idiotic and showed simply that she was still a child.  She was brilliant but she didn't have a grain of sense" (O'Connor "Good Country People", pg 175)

I liked this quote because not only does it apply to the ending of the story, but it also applies to life today.  Hulga prided herself, I felt, in the fact that she had a Ph.D and other degrees and was extremely literate. However, when it came to the real world, she was duped and conned out of her own leg (and let me tell you, I did NOT see that coming).  She naively trusted Pointer and ended up losing her leg and was stuck in the barn.  A lot of good that Ph.D did her!

People like to say there's book smarts and then there's common sense and I know far too many people who are "A" students, but when it comes to the real world... well... let's just say they aren't the sharpest tool in the shed.  Too many people think they know everything just because they excel in a subject but in reality, it's really your common sense that will get you places with your book smarts.   Sure, you can be a genius but without that common sense to know what you should and shouldn't do, what's all that brilliance going to get you?


1 Comments

Erica Gearhart said:

Really great point Ally! I know people who are the same way. They might not excel in the academic setting, but I wouldn't go anywhere without them because of their street smarts. The exact opposite is true as well. I also like how you mention that "it's really your common sense that will get you places with your book smarts." I agree that a balance is necessary, but why are there so many people that have no common sense that get so far? And why also are there so many people with only book sense that get them so far? Some might say that it is just luck, but I think that some professions actually require more common sense than books smarts and some more academic sense than common sense. Thank goodness there is something for everyone, or one group would seriously be out of jobs!

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