Aren't we all displaced persons in our own way?

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“Mr. Shortley recalled a newsreel she had seen once of a small room piled high with bodies of dead naked people all in a heap, their arms and legs tangled together, a head thrust in here, a head there, a foot, a knee, a part that should have been covered up sticking out, a hand raised clutching nothings. Before you could realize that it was real and take it into your head, the picture changed and a hollow-sounding voice was saying, “Time marches on!” This was the kind of thing that was happening every day in Europe where they had not advanced as in this country, and watching from her vantage point, Mrs. Shortley had the sudden intuition that the Gobblehooks, like rats with typhoid fleas, could have carried all those murderous ways over the water with them directly to this place (O‘Connor 198).”

I chose this rather long passage from O’Connor’s short story The Displaced Person because it struck a tone of reality for me. One naturally can get a very distinct picture of the Holocaust in their mind when they read this excerpt.  The ‘displaced person’ in the story was portrayed as a ‘pole’ which we know to be one of the groups of people to be slaughtered in WWII.  We get a very grotesque image of the result as we can literally visualize the piles of bodies that O’Connor is showing us, rather than telling.

What strikes me even more in this paragraph is the fact that the Mrs. Shortley feels that because they have been exposed to this type of behavior, that they have brought it over here with them. Talk about a stereotype. Behavior like this, doesn’t end; It’s still going on today. Take Darfur for instance.  Everyday thousands of people of being slaughtered. Since 2003, 400,000 people have been brutally slaughtered and 2,751 villages have been destroyed.  Matters like this do not end, but the people that come out of it are not wicked.  Just because one has seen death and destruction, does not make them evil.

STAND up for those underprivileged and those crying out to you.  Take the challenge, and make a difference in the world.

saveDARFURandENTERafrica

3 Comments

Greta Carroll said:

I really like the passage you picked, Stephanie, it stood out to me when I was reading too. And you make a good point, stuff like that is still going on today. The passage you pick really spreads the guilt for genocide onto all of us—in this specific instance, the Holocaust. It is easy for us to blame it all on the Germans and Hitler, but considering Mrs. Shortley’s opinions, it seems the thought-pattern spread by Hitler was very prevalent elsewhere, even in the United States. It is hard for me to imagine that people think that way (as I mentioned in my blog), but obviously people did and continue to be afraid of people who are different, whether it is skin color, nationality, or something else.

Katie Vann said:

I chose part of the same passage to comment on. I found it to be a sterotype also that we can relate to today because of September 11. We tend to sterotype people who have the same skin, religion, and ethnic background as the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks.

Jessie Farine said:

I commented on the exact same passage, but I focused more on the xenophobic aspects of the story. I'm glad you mentioned Darfur. I'm not sure if a lot of people even know what's going on there, but everyone should know and everyone should make an effort to stop this mindlessness now and forever. It's truly sick that genocide still goes on and on and on.

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