Cultures

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O'Connor, "The Displaced Person" -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

" 'You reckon he can drive a tractor when he don't know English?' she asked. 'I don't think she's going to get her money's worth out of them. That boy can talk but he looks delicate. The one can work can't talk and the one can talk can't work. She ain't any better off than if she had more niggers.' "

I picked this quote out of the story, because I thought it was interesting how the Shortley's thought these "displaced" people were useless just because they didn't know the English language. Discrimination is not just in the south when it comes to immigration either. Even today we see that people don't want immigration in our country. I personally have a friend who came from Serbia to America and although she knows how to speak English, her parents struggled a great deal to learn our language. I feel that in many cases, like my friend's case, the "displaced" people work harder to prove themselves and are just plain happy to be in America the land of the free. In many cases they are just thankful they were given the freedom so many of us take for granted.

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I agree very much with you Bethany. I think that cultural context is a major part of this story. As an individual and as a nation we need to accept people for who they are. It is interesting that immigrants tend to work harder for the freedom they have. Throughout the story, the "displaced people" were always being put down just becuase they didn't know the English language. I think that it is important to understand everyone and accept different ethnic backgrounds for they make us a better person. Another interesting point you thought of was that we take our freedom for granted and that is why immigration is high in the United States. We need to spread our freedom to other nationalities because they don't have the freedom that we have everyday. Overall, I felt that same feeling toward this story. I think that discrimination is a terrible thing and was protrayed throughout this short story. For we should accept everyone and treat them with the respect that they deserve. Very good quote!

Yes, there seems to be something rather different about this story in comparison to the rest of the collection, doesn't there? Maybe it is just because it is dealing with so many issues that I think us college students deal with even now, such as getting along and respecting other cultures, the Holocaust, fitting in and being accepted by those around us, deciding between being a "tattle-tale" or doing what we feel to be right. But, whatever it is that makes this story stand out among the others I am not quite sure, but it is just a gut feeling. Things seems less obscure I guess, the conflict doesn't seem to be as bizarre For example, I just think we can just relate to the big ideas in this story easier than we can to a person who pretends he just sells Bibles, but he really steals fake body parts. What do you think?

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