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02 February 1997
Ignorance of Reality
In the short essay “Shame” we learn about a young black boy,
Dick Gregory, who learns the power of humiliation because he comes from
a very poor family. “Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion
that one likes oneself,” greatly explains the tragic childhood of Gregory
up until the age of seven. Gregory never learned ahead of time that upper-
class people look down upon the poor, and how others can be so full of
hate and discrimination. At least, not as hateful towards him.
Ignorance, on Gregory’s behalf, was probably the main factor for
his humiliation. We learned early in the story that Gregory came from a
poor family. Even though he was poor, he did not show he was ashamed
of it. Although he didn’t know why people turned their heads when they
saw him. Gregory was very proud of his money-making schemes, but he
didn’t realize the work he was doing was very degrading. Another
example of Gregory’s ignorance is his attitude towards the teacher. When
he explained about his seat in the class, it gave me the impression that he
was very proud of it. Gregory then talks about how he thought that the
teacher loved him. It’s a shame that he didn’t realize everyone felt sorry
It was Gregory’s ignorance that caused him to feel humility,
but it was his teacher that made him realize it. As far as Gregory was
concerned, the day of collection for the needy was his time to shine. In
front of the whole class, including the girl of his dreams, he was going to
lie and show how proud he was of his dad for donating a lot of money.
With only a few words from his teacher, all of Gregory’s innocence and
high self-esteem was stripped from himself. All of the unrealistic thoughts
that Gregory had felt towards people were wiped away. Gregory realized
how ignorant he had been; thus, leaving this poor child with discrimination
In all of my days, I have never felt the humiliation Gregory had
to encounter that day. Luckily for me, I had parents that explained to me
the good and bad of society. I had always expected the humility brought
on to me by others. It’s a shame that Gregory is not alone in this world.
Everyday people are being crushed from the antics of others. Hopefully
one day people will learn to stop laughing at others and start trying to
help them out.
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Gregory, Shame, Humility
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