shame

Hill 1


Aaron Hill

Professor Paton

English 1102

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






Hill 2



for him.

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

towards himself.

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.

Category: English