“A Conversation about Bread” by Nafissa Thompson-Spires highlights the struggles of what it’s like being a POC while attending universities attended by mostly white people. The short story follows Brian and Eldwin as they interview as part of a project. During this interview, it becomes clear just how out of place the men sometimes feel, stating that they are constantly being watched and frequently being asked questions. Brian, who is in a wheelchair, states he is “more self conscious about his black maleness than his disability” (177). He says that he is constantly judged for his action just because of his skin color, just like his mother was while in college. Although the two men attend prestigious universities, they are still being treated differently, which just shows how prevalent racism is in the US. This short story brought attention to the every day things other people don’t have to think about, such as the “white gaze” (181).
As I read over the criteria list for the blog post, nothing quite struck me right away. My summer reading book Exit, Pursued By a Bear was mildly entertaining at best, and no other book I’ve read recently contained any depth. However, while taking a break from my Criminal Minds obsession this summer, I tried watching the new hit HBO series Euphoria. Although the show is filled with drugs, sex, and lots of sparkles, there is something else that makes it so captivating: the complex individuality of each character.
Like no other show I’ve seen before, Euphoria accurately depicts the struggles of high school, addiction, abusive parents, and every thing in between. What truly amazed me when watching it was the way it that showed life for what it is: really f-ing hard, but something beautiful at the same time. Without romanticizing the struggles of each character, Euphoria demonstrates that every single person you´ll encounter is going through something, whether you know it or not. The show does not focus on one specific character, but rather how each of their complex stories are intertwined in some way.
Nabokov´s concept of mutual recognition goes hand-in-hand with the idea of individuality because it recognizes that each person is more than just a binary, that we are all complex, unique humans. And such is the beauty of real life: we are all complex individuals that are living our own story in tandem with one another.
ain’t nobody gonna beat me at nuthin.
The way that Miss Moore feels the need to separate herself from the community rubs Sylvia the wrong way. It doesn’t help that the lessons that Miss Moore teaches don’t make the most sense to Sylvia, so her constant nonsensical blabber surrounding topics that Sylvia doesn’t even care about makes her even less likable. Sylvia says, ” she’s boring us silly about what things cost and what our parents make and how much goes for rent and how money ain’t divided up right in this country” (4). Even though Sylvia doesn’t like Miss Moore, it is clear that all of the children gain some perspective at the toy store. At the end of the story, Sugar reveals what she has learned from their adventure. She says, “You know Miss Moore, I don’t think all of us here put together eat in a year what that sailboat costs”(49). Sugar’s revelation can help the reader further understand the conflict between Sylvia and Miss Moore. The issue is that one educated person, one teacher, cannot undo the systematic oppression and economic disparity stacked up against these kids. Sylvia doesn’t like Miss Moore because Sylvia is not trying to decode the system but just trying to live in it. Sylvia’s greatest weakness is her lack of desire to think critically about things that don’t interest her. Miss Moore pushes Sylvia out of her comfort zone and asks her questions that she can’t answer. However, Sylvia begins to understand she is being slighted by the world around her. At the end of the story, Sylvia says, ” to think this day though… ain’t nobody gonna beat me at nuthin”(56). Revealing that Miss Moore’s lesson worked, Sylvia understands more about her place in their society and she wants to do something about it.
In the story “A Conversation About Bread”, by Nafissa Thomson-Spires, two young black men by the names of Brian and Eldwin, are studying anthropology. In their grad program Brian and Eldwin felt out of place, they were 2 ‘unicorns’ among a pack of horses. It is outrageous that Brian and Eldwin have to feel so out of place just because of their race, in an environment where they are trying to learn and become better.
Similarly in the NBA lockout, race played its toll when a dilemma sparked between 2 sides, the 100 percent white ownership, and the players union that is 85 percent black. During the 2011 NBA season 22 of the 30 teams lost money so NBA players argued salaries were not high enough and other problems piled on. NBA players were not going to put their body on the line for entertainment purposes while the owners upstairs were making double their salary. So in an effort to break the impasse and start the season, the dispute reached a more complicated and sensitive disagreement when the race factor began to situate itself. These players felt out of place at their job, they didn’t even want to step on the court and play basketball because they felt controlled, they felt like they had no say.
In the short story “A Conversation About Bread” by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, the concept of people’s perceptions of stories is brought up and analyzed. The theory of the “white gaze” that applies to story telling or living with a roommate.
People bring their own subconscious opinions to everything in life. For instance, when Brian’s mom’s roommates was taking pictures of Brian’s mom out of the shower, “the girl was sending the pictures home to her family, like, look at this elephant I saw at the watering hole or this native with a disk in her lip” (179), she was bringing herself into the narrative and making comparisons (racist comparisons).
Similar to the white woman in the library overhearing their conversation about their short story who was “now very interested in their conversation” (181) and was “impressed by [Brian’s] use of the word ‘monolith'” (176) because she had some preconceived notion about how a black person should talk.
More people in the field of anthropology need to come from different backgrounds and be able to “ignore the white gaze until it no longer came to mind. Then, ‘and only then’… ‘black people can be free from all the double consciousness bull” (181). Diversifying different career fields will allow for different perspectives and new ideas that wouldn’t be brought up otherwise.
The story “A Conversation about Bread” by Nafissa Thompson Spires, is a story about two boys that were assigned to complete a writing assignment. Eldwin has to write a story about an interesting moment from Brian’s life. As we follow Eldwin through the many revisions and edits to his writing, Brian shows the reader his interesting point of view on storytelling.
There seems to be a recurring motif in the story of a white woman creepily watching and observing people of color. There is the white woman who takes notes while they are writing, there is stalker Kim, and there is the lady that went to college with Brian’s mom. I believe this was done intentionally. Throughout the short story, Brian seems to get mad at Eldwin when he writes about his life, because he believes that the way Eldwin is writing, is almost as if he is “fetishizing” people of color in order to make the story more “interesting” for the reader. This idea of white people “fetishizing” stories of people of color is present in many stories today and can actually come off as creepy or distancing. This is also demonstrated when Brian tells Eldwin about his mom’s roommate in college. Brian says “So she could catch her in her ‘natural state.’ The girl was sending the pictures home to her family, like, look at this elephant I saw at the watering hole or this native with a disc in her lip”(179). In these instances, this extreme fascination makes the person being observed feel uncomfortable and “exotic”. This is demonstrated again when Brian says that “ both men felt like unicorns in their grad program” and that “ he was more self-conscious about his black maleness than his disability”(177). I find this interesting because I have never noticed this before. After reading this story I realized that many of the pieces of literature that I have read in the past fit this exact idea. I believe that we should strive to make stories interesting and appealing to the reader, without singling out races different from our own as “exotic”.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a novel written by Shirley Jackson in 1962. It is told from the perspective of Mary Katherine (Merricat) Blackwood who lives with her sister Constance and her uncle Julian in an isolated house. Merricat goes to town to get groceries twice the week, but other than that, the family never leaves the house and hasn’t for years. Later through the book, a family member comes to the house without warning and their comfortable systematic life gets more chaotic.
I read the book over the summer and was caught off guard by how the story was told. This novel is filled with imagery and in a lot of ways its story is told through the strange and detailed setting, objects, and character movements. It doesn’t have that strong of a plot; you just kind of involve yourself in the story and it’s an uncomfortable experience. The writing is really cool, but the situation seems so wrong and unbreakable, especially since Merricat is fighting so hard to keep things how they are.
In a lot of ways Merricat is the antagonist of the story: she is the only thing keeping Constance back from leaving her life of isolation and doing something for herself. Their situation started when their family was poisoned, and when it’s revealed that Merricat is the killer, it’s not exactly surprising. She’s eighteen years old, but the way she thinks is similar to a young child.
And yet, Merricat is easy to sympathize with in her struggle to live life the way she wants to live it, even if she’s sleeping in the kitchen of a burnt down house for the rest of her life. It’s pretty clear that the way the sisters live is not the way life should be lived, but they seem to be happier than most people. And the life outside the house is painted as miserable and evil. The townspeople constantly cheer at the sisters:
Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea?
Oh no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me.
Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep?
Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!Page 16, and throughout the book
My theory is that this story is a greatly exaggerated tale of a loner, most likely an artist, and how they are misguided in living a small, perhaps comfortable, but uneventful life leaving them untapped potential. Merricat is the artist and Constance is her art. Uncle Julian is her connection to the past, when she lived a somewhat normal life, so when he dies in the fire it’s the total loss of that connection.
I really enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it.
This Summer I read We Have Always Lived in The Castle by Shirley Jackson. One of my favorite books, The Haunting of Hill House, was also written by Shirley Jackson, so I was thrilled when I discovered that this book was a summer reading option. I admire Jackson’s writing for her eerie and whimsical touch. This particular novel tells the story of two sisters, Constance and Merricat Blackwood. Besides their uncle Julian, the rest of their family is dead. Constance was, six years prior, accused of murdering the family. Therefore, Merricat and Constance are both feared and hated by the entire town and only go in twice a week for groceries, but even that is a trying task.
The narrator, Merricat, is odd. She is ostracized from the town for seeming weird and detached, and even as the reader, her narrations at times do not seem to be based in reality.
“I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both of my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita Phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead” (Jackson, 1).
Jackson’s commentary on mental illness is reflected in Merricat. As Merricat is clearly still traumatized by the incident from six years ago, she carries the weight of that to this day. Her mental illness is stigmatized and not understood by those in the town. Instead, she is judged and horribly mistreated, “as close to me as he could come because, I knew, he wanted this morning to be bad luck for me” (Jackson, 12). Nobody in the town sympathizes with Merricat and as the reader, this is hard to understand. Throughout the novel, I found myself constantly sympathizing with Merricat and Constance because of their despairing past. Sadly, mental illness is still stigmatized today even though society as a whole is making active strives to do better by accepting one another for our differences.
In Nafissa Thompson-Spires’ short story “A Conversation About Bread,” a ‘meta narrative’ calls attention to the complexity of storytelling regarding race, culture, and socioeconomic disparities. It questions the function and implications of academic cultural studies by chronicling an interview between two anthropology grad students who are working on an ethnography project.
One can’t help but become painfully sensitive to their own interpretation of the short story, which is later extended to our broader relationship with stories and storytelling. This questioning of storytelling, immediately made me think of film and cinema.
When Eldwin, one of the anthropology students, reflects on the complexity of storytelling; he asks himself the following important question.
Didn’t every story provide a narrow representation at best and fetishize somebody at worst?Thompson-Spires, Nafissa. “A Conversation About Bread.” Heads of the Colored People, p.183.
This immediately brought to mind a film analysis video essay I watched on one of my favorite directors, Sofia Coppola. You can watch the video essay here.
Although skepticism of Coppola’s privileged and narrow narrative had surfaced for a while, her 2017 film The Beguiled was the recipient of the most controversy. Consistent with Coppola’s hallmark style, the film was chock-full of painteresque tableaux featuring a group of southern women portrayed by Kirsten Dunst (as always), Elle Fanning, and Nicole Kidman. Shockingly (or maybe not so shockingly), in Coppola’s rendition of Thomas Cullinan’s 1966 Civil War Era novel, the two characters of color (a black slave, and a biracial character) are void from the plot entirely. This directorial decision sparked passionate debates and criticism, drawing attention to Coppola’s privilege and blindness to the diversity of femininity.
According to Eldwin’s philosophy, wouldn’t Coppola’s decision to omit Black characters from her film be better than portraying them problematically?
I feel as if a stereotypical, tokenized, and flat addition of black characters to accompany the white leads or to promote a narrative of white saviorism could be far worse than the narrow view Coppola offered. Read this article about Viola Davis and The Help.
It is hardest to question the things we love and cherish the most, but as a Chinese American girl coming of age – I can’t help but feeling subordinate to this limited, warped portrayal of the delicacies of female adolescence. How could someone who looked like me, or my friends ever exist in this universe of long gazes out of passing windows or the effluvia of the Lisbon sisters’ bedroom paired with melancholically eerie soundtracks by the French band, Air. Would anyone other than a Kirsten Dunst archetype ruin the aesthetic and dreaminess of these films centered around this angelic pinnacles of Eurocentric beauty? Simultaneously, Coppola has been one of the most successful female directors, and has carved out a space for the rawness of female adolescence that was previously nonexistent in mainstream Hollywood. Her attention to feminine aesthetics and detail has often been criticized as superfluous; interestingly enough male directors who do the same, such as Wes Anderson, are often praised for being unique and artistic. Her films have played a critical role in my coming of age, and serve as constant artistic inspirations. Yet her choice to prioritize the privileged, white female narratives in times of historical urgency is questionable. Not only that, but I feel as lonesome as her delicately shielded protagonists when I am led to believe that artistry and beauty is defined by characters such as these. As my own coping mechanism, I have attempted to build this world around myself and for my friends in a way that feels authentic. The ruffles, the longing emptiness, the way the light reflects through the lawns of a suburban neighborhood – it all is translated through my own mind to somehow redefine these stories starring girls like me.
The critical role white female fragility plays in systems of oppression is undeniable. At times, it can arguably be the most oppressive and influential when it comes to the marginalization of womxn of color. Womxn is intentionally spelled with an “x” in order to awknowlege trans and non-binary womxn (who undoubtedly have no place in Coppola’s worlds), and to avoid the sexism associated with man and men. Read this interesting essay on the power of white female fragility over womxn of color.
The solution that the video and I both come to is that Hollywood needs to make more space for womxn of color, instead of tasking Coppola with representing all womxn. As we learn through Thompson-Spires’ characters, the readers are just as responsible as the writers when it comes to highlighting the stories of marginalized people. As an audience, how can we learn to compensate for the finite representation we are given? How can we do so without fetishizing or tokenizing a group that is culturally different from our own? That is a question without a clean and simple answer that we must revisit throughout our lives.
In his essay “Canon Fodder” written for The Washington Post, Viet Nguyen discusses race in terms of the exclusive and predominantly white literary canon taught in curricula. He concludes his writing by saying, “the culture that produced the canonical greats also produced mass slavery and colonization that killed millions. Both Shakespeare and slaughter are part of Western civilization. Can we recognize both these faces of the West? Not if we read only Shakespeare.” (38) The attention he draws to the binary between the WHITE writer and not necessarily white reader (as literary audiences are arguably one of the most diverse populations out there) is also applicable to the binary central to the story “Conversation About Bread” in which Eldwin and Brian are anthropology majors discussing the implications and expectations that go along with being either a black writer or black reader. At one point, Brian asks, “Like why would you want to tell this story about a bunch of black Southern guys discovering bread anyway? What purposed does it serve unless it’s to show yourself as somehow better than them?” (92) Theirs is a tricky line to traipse as too much attention to a specific story like this could present as a patronizing piece of writing. However, ignoring little details in favor of coming across as less ‘superior’ risks ignorance and insensitivity. Thus, it is vital to strike a balance between the two.
It is also important to note that just as there is diversity between cultures and races, there is diversity between the individuals in every culture and race. Additionally, the common binary oppositions the mind is often drawn to are not any more prevalent than those that are more complex, crossing the dividing lines between people that make one group the ‘other’. For example, in the short story, there are several instances in which the binary of WHITE/black is noted (i.e. the white woman in the library). While this is the expected and easiest to observe, there is also a binary between the two men as one is a black writer and the other a black reader. It can even be shown that there is a binary between the men as both black readers and writers versus the white canon under which they are learning. So essentially, the argument could be made that even Brian and Eldwin are looking at themselves and the bread story through a ‘white’ lens.
The “Lesson”, by Toni Cade Bambara, is a short story about a young black girl named Sylvia, who goes on a field trip with her class. Ms. Moore, the teacher of the class, takes the students to a toy store. The customers in the store are mostly white and the students are all shocked by how expensive the toys are. One toy that the students were looking at was a “hand crafted sailboat of fiberglass at one thousand on hundred ninety-five dollars.” The students were so surprised by this high price because their families would never be able to afford something of this price. They thought about how the same amount of money could buy some families food for a whole year, whereas wealthy white families are able to spend such a significant amount of money on a single toy. This was very profound because it emphasized the economic gap between white people and minority groups and the unfairness in society.
For my summer reading book I chose to read Kobe Bryant. I was really excited to read this book by Clayton Geoffreys, but I soon lost that. After Kobe passed away I wanted to learn more about him so I thought I would choose a book that would give me more insight on who we was. I was very disappointed when I started reading because of how dull it seemed to be. After recently watching the documentary on Michael Jordan, “The Last Dance”, I saw no similarities between the two. This book did not keep me engaged like the show was able to. I knew about who Michael Jordan was, but not like what the documentary showed me. I learned about how he was off the court which was something the Kobe book could not do. I had a preconceived notion that the book would be the same, so I probably had high hopes. Either way the writer just did not do what I was looking for to keep me engaged with good story telling. From our previously read short story, “Good Readers and Good Writers”, Nabakov stated, “Every good writer is a good deceiver,” (31). The author of Kobe Bryant was not able to do this, however I did still learn some interesting things about Kobe’s games. I definitely give him credit for what he had to work with but I think this could’ve have been drastically better.
When reading the short story “Good Country People,” by Flannery O’Connor, I became uneasy towards the ending; The MAN-woman binary in the excerpt clearly highlights the discrimination towards women in the real world.
In the passage, a man who claims he is selling Bibles takes advantage of Joy, a woman with a plastic leg. He steals her leg and she is unable to fight back, losing an important part of her life and regular functionality. This scene has an underlying message: many women aren’t able to use their full potential because it is taken from them with sexism; they are often seen as less than men. The loss of Joy’s leg symbolizes her inability to “get ahead” in the real world. It also highlights the fact that many women are unfairly taken advantage of and have no satisfaction of punishing the perpetrator.
Although Flannery did not specifically state this, it reminded me that the man to woman and binary is evident in society. We have a lot of work to do with many unjust binaries. This is just a very unique way of looking at the scene.
The end of “The Lesson” by Tomi Bambara is very open ended. Sugar and the main character race to “Hascombs”, and Sugar “get’s ahead”. Which, the main character responds with “O.K. by me”, “ain’t nobody gonna beat me at nuthin”. In my opinion, this shows that the main character has understood the lesson Mrs. Moore was trying to teach the children. The lesson Miss Moore taught, is that American society isn’t as fair as it’s portrayed. Some people start well off, and others don’t but make it work. That lesson is very similar to the end, a race to something, and someone started better off. Except, the main character takes it a step further, and says no matter what nothing can stop him, implying he will become wealthy.
Football is back. Football is back. Football is back. No, Mr. Heidkamp, I am not trying to increase the length of this blog post but I am merely highlighting the importance of the statement “Football is back”. In the midst of a global recession, pandemic, social injustice and climate disasters, we all needed to blow off steam by watching 300 pound men run full speed and tackle each other. Nobody can deny that football is action packed and entertaining especially in the Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes era. But what some fans of the NFL seem to abhor is connecting politics with sports. Since the beginning of 2020, a spotlight has been put on America’s racial injustice and specifically police’s racist and violent actions towards people of color in America. From my perspective, it seems to be a divided issue although it clearly should not be. This division of opinion is due to one side lacking the willingness to view the other with mutual recognition. Particularly white people who fail to mutually recognize people of color and the racism they are facing. NFL players among other professional athletes have been a strong voice supporting the BLM movement while also speaking out against systematic racism and police brutality. For example, at the season opener the Chiefs and Texans teams spread across the field and joined arms for a moment of silence to bring awareness to racial injustice. Sidelined players wear Black Lives Matter shirts, some kneel during the National Anthem while many wear the names of Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake on the back of their helmets. I think professional athletes using their platform, popular voices and celebrity status to bring awareness to racial injustice is a positive message that NEEDS to be spoken on. But what is truly sad is many peoples rejection of the players actions. I continually see comments on NFL posts saying “leave politics out of sports” and “nobody cares about your political opinions, your athletes”. Not to mention the limited fans in attendance that could be heard actually booing the Chiefs and Texans during their moment of silence. Such disrespect is sad and unacceptable. Athletes and players are humans just like fans yet fans fail to mutually recognize them as full human beings leading to fans categorizing racial injustice as a political issue while disregarding the players right to voice their opinions. Racial injustice in America is so much bigger than politics, its about human lives and ALL Americans pursuit of happiness and equal opportunity.
If you are viewer and fan of the NFL but can’t respect the players using their voices to speak out on racial injustice then shut up, stop complaining and stop watching. Also, reconsider what it means to be a human if it’s so difficult for you to hear your fellow humans and Americans fight for their safety and rights. Get over yourself and develop some empathy, compassion and mutual recognition.
As Eldwin attempts to write his ethnographical assignment based on Brian’s school experiences, he finds himself trapped in a creative rut. As he and Eldwin are two of the few black students in the overwhelmingly white UCLA, Eldwin feels pressured by Brian into writing his essay in specific ways. Should he write his essay without sacrificing his creative vision, which could potentially be misinterpreted as conforming to or reinforcing racial stereotypes? Or should he sacrifice his vision and conform to how white people want to see his work? Can a story be told without treating the subject as an object? This struggle continues throughout the story, and spurs many revisions of his essay.
As Brian puts it, “There’s no real way for you to capture the regional differences without getting all stereotypical. … Like, why would you want to tell this story about a bunch of black Southern guys discovering bread anyways? What purpose does it serve unless it’s to show yourself as somehow better than them?” (178)
Eldwin responds “Because it’s a good story, about cultural differences, racial differences, class differences. It’s more about how many different kinds of black people there are than it is about making everyone but Junior seem like a type.” (178)
Both of them make good points here. At the end of the story, a compromise is not reached. Where should the line be drawn? How can this issue be overcome?
While “Escape from Spiderhead” covers numerous themes, the one I want to focus on is the somewhat forceful use of drugs in order to control people (especially emotionally). This idea is reminiscent of a videogame I’ve played called We Happy Few. The game is set in city in a 1960’s dystopian version of Britain where there was a traumatic event, called the “Very Bad Thing”, that occurred from a German invasion and occupation in WW2. In order to prevent citizens from feeling guilt and depression, the government invents a drug called Joy that suppresses all unhappy memories and leaves its user in a chemically-induced euphoria. The citizens are also required to wear white masks that form their faces into permanent smiles. As the Joy depletes, the citizens see the city as it really is after the war: trashed, poor, and ruled by a police state. The police state forces the citizens to take the Joy in order manipulate the population and keep the city in order. Those who don’t take it are either killed, banished, or force-fed the drug. Although “Escape from Spiderhead” is set in a much smaller scale, lab vs city, the implications of their uses are very similar. The Joy from We Happy Few is almost identical to ED556 by putting their users in a euphoric, entranced state.
“A Conversation About Bread”, by Nafissa Thomson-Spires, is a short story about Brian and Eldwin, two black men who are studying anthropology and discussing powerful stories from their lives. Brian and Eldwin, are described as feeling like “unicorns” in their grad program. Comparing the men to a unicorn was very significant because it emphasizes that the men feel so out of place in their school of white students, that they are comparing themselves to a rare mythical creature.
While the men were speaking, a white woman in the room was listening in on their conversation and at one point even took out a notebook as if she was studying them. This was so profound because Brian and Eldwin, who were studying experiences from their lives, were simultaneously being studied themselves by a white woman. At the end of the story it is stated that “She may have been an anthropologist too.” This statement changes the whole presence of the woman from just a nosy woman eavesdropping, to anthropologists studying the men. This woman perfectly displays why Brian and Eldwin felt so different and out of place because they are just doing completely normal things but to the white woman they are so unique and different that she had to stop and observe them.
In “A Conversation about Bread” by Nafissa Thompson Spire there is a white woman watching the two main characters. She helps show the readers the staunch differences between Eldwin and Brian. She doesn’t really affect Eldwin. His philosophy is to act as if he can’t see white people staring at him. She affects Brian though, in the way he is afraid to talk or say certain words too loud. She helps show us how the different backgrounds of these two characters help shape them in completely different ways. How Eldwin grew up going to a multiethnic school and a very liberal college where he didn’t ever feel he need to hide unlike Brian who not only had a liberal California background but also the Southern background he gained from his time in Mississippi. Brian is a little more reserved and defensive especially when talking about race. Eldwin is not afraid or reserved about anything; he embraces his heritage in everything he does.
After reading “A Conversation About Bread,” I have thought about how many stories have other stories within them. “The Lesson” does not conventionally convey a story within a story, but I think that it has a deeper meaning. In my opinion, the story in the passage is about the inequality within the United State’s economy. It describes a poor neighborhood that discusses the rich lifestyle. I think that the whole story is meant to symbolize the result of corrupted capitalism. The entire story is the story within a story. The text reads, “Thirty-five dollars would pay for the rent and the piano bill too. Who are these people that spend that much for performing clowns and $1000 for toy sailboats?” (114). I think this quotation shows how these kids can’t even comprehend a lifestyle in which money isn’t a problem. I think the writer shows us this field trip because it is just an example for how impoverished colored children think about the rest of the world being unfair.