Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Things are tough overseas"

The quote that stuck out to me most because of the poetic nature of the line is, “Lightening flashed around the island, thunder played its favorite game of scaring the carp out of all the shivering mortals on earth below.” However the quote that is repeated several times throughout the novel are the ones in which Mrs. Brown says, “You’re overseas now,” and “Things are tough overseas…” to Mr. Conroy. These give a good insight to Mrs. Brown’s excuse to the poor condition of the school and the student’s current levels.
Mrs. Brown seems to be part of the problem with the Yamacraw Island School. I don’t think it’s necessarily all her fault, I believe she is just acting in a way in which she thinks people in charge of her want to her act and control the students and the only way she knows that “works”. Mrs. Brown is a very interesting character in this chapter. I believe she acts in which the way she feels the white men in charge want her to act because she wants to appear to be on a sort of level she has in her mind as the white people she feels she needs to impress. The children that have come from Mrs. Brown’s class don’t know a significant amount of anything. I think this is partly because she thinks most of them are slow and lazy and that some are retarded so she probably treats them like they are these things and doesn’t challenge them or expect them to learn. It appears they have been taught to agree with the teacher or whoever and have not been taught to think for themselves. It seems the school board thinks Mrs. Brown is doing a good job because they have not heard any complaints from her about the problems of the school. This is one reason why they keep telling Mr. Conroy there are many problems on the island but no one knows exactly what the problems entail. Although Mrs. Brown so far does not appear to agree with Mr. Conroy’s teaching styles and has already reprimanded him once for rough housing with one of his students, his class has already been given insight and learned more about the world surrounding them than it appears they have the whole time they have been in school. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chapter One Blog

                A clip of Pat Conroy’s writing that stood out to me occurred on page 3 where Conroy is meeting with South Carolina’s superintendent, Dr. Henry Piedmont, to discuss his desire to teach on Yamacraw Island. The part of the segment that sticks out to me is the part in which Conroy is reflecting on the type of person Dr. Henry Piedmont is, how he believes he grew up, and where he came from. The excerpt in particular that stands out to is the one in which Conroy writes, “Intellectually, he was a thoroughbred. Financially, he was secure. And Jesus was his backer. Jesus, with the grits-and-gravy voice, the shortstop on the mill team, liked ol’ Henry Piedmont.” I really liked this sentence because I feel a little like Conroy is making fun of when Dr. Piedmont told Pat Conroy that Jesus sent Conroy to him to teach on Yamacraw Island. It was a very witty way of describing who Dr. Piedmont is and really helped the reader get an idea of what kind of person Dr. Piedmont is and where he came from.
                Throughout Chapter one, the author creates more and more suspense of what exactly the students, school, and life in general on Yamacraw Island is going to entail. Conroy also creates suspense towards what kind of adventures the main character is going to experience while teaching and living there. The wonder and curiosity of this Island began for me when Dr. Piedmont is so grateful that Pat Conroy wants to teach on Yamacraw Island. That made me wonder why nobody else wanted to touch the school on Yamacraw Island and exactly why it was so bad. As the chapter continues, some of the issues of Yamacraw Island become more apparent, such as: the industrial factory polluting the island’s primary source of income and survival—the oysters. This caused many families to relocate off of the island and move towards the cities.
                Another factor that created more curiosity for me was the fact that there was no bridge connecting the island to the mainland. Also, the island just recently had electricity implemented but there were still no telephones. The roads were unpaved, they had hand pumped water that was questionable, and still use ox carts as a major from of transportation (pg . All of these factors create a sense of wonder about what the school Conroy will teach in will be like as well as what the students will be like. The quote on page 4, “It is not a large island, nor an important one, but it represents an era and a segment of history that is rapidly dying in America,” gives us an idea of the island and the history it represents.