The Symbol of Bread

When reading “The Conversation About Bread”, I was struck by an arguably minor detail of the story: Brian’s story that Eldwin was trying to tell. But I wasn’t struck by it in the way you may think. Obviously it’s a very profound aspect of the story that Eldwin realizes he can’t write Brian’s story because it is not his experience, but I thought the writing about the bread specifically in Eldwin’s writing was very interesting. In the story he’s attempting to write he states “We were all like, what’s up with the yellow bread? For it was surely some white folk stuff” (173). I thought it was really interesting how something as simple as bread can reflect someone’s socioeconomic status and how all these boys were in awe at a type of bread. This is similar to “The Lesson”, in the sense that they see a toy at the store, a clown on a bar, and are all baffled by the fact that someone would pay $35 for it. Sylvia states “Thirty-five dollars could buy new bunk beds for Junior and Gretchen’s boy. Thirty-five dollars and the whole household could go visit Grandaddy Nelson in the country” (114). Something that seems so inexpensive and insignificant to one person could mean something so much more to another person who is less financially stable, similar to how something (the bread) could seem like no big deal to one person but can actually reflect their socioeconomic status.

6 thoughts on “The Symbol of Bread

  1. This is an amazing connection between The Lesson and The Conversation About Bread! I think that Brian might have also been upset about Eldwin’s interpretation of his story because it painted his experiences in a very generic, two-dimensional way. I believe he was worried that white readers would look at it as a story of all black people when in reality it was his story of his classmates.

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  2. ZACHARY B

    I love your explanation, I also thought something as simple as bread being connected to socioeconomic status really kept me engaged as a reader within the passage. I think most people see others experiences as two-dimensional until you really put yourself in their shoes which towards the end of the passage Eldwin began to realize about Brian. Loved the way you also connected The Lesson to this in addition.

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  3. Danielle W

    I really like what you said in this post because I think that is something we do everyday; we take things for granted. The way you connected the view on bread to socioeconomic status is something I never would have thought of, but it makes a lot of sense. It just shows how much things like socioeconomic status, race, gender, etc., can effect a person’s perspective.

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  4. VIVIAN S

    Hi Emma! I really enjoyed reading about your take on “The Lesson” and “The Conversation About Bread”. It is extremely fascinating that something as simple as a piece of food can be taken for granted. These stories go to show that each person has a different experience than the next. I also find the dynamic between Eldwin and Brian to be interesting because throughout the story you can tell that they are very different from each other.

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  5. Ella S

    Emma! Fantastic post. Like all the comments above me said, your post really makes you realize how much we do take for granted. I also love the connection between both stories, I for sure wouldn’t have thought about connecting them.

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  6. ABIGAIL G

    Emma, I really enjoy your simplicity in your explanation because it connects to you point that something as simple as bread can really demonstrate a difference between two individuals. I think the importance of different objects across economic spectrum is very interesting because you are able to see priorities and how people are (usually unfortunate) separated because of such simple things.

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