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.