Gregory experiences both external shame and internal shame. Gregory conveys his message by revealing how his life in poverty took a toll on him as a person. He shares many incidents to support his message. The girl that he wants the most does not even notice him. He is invisible to her and not even worthy of her acknowledgment, unless he is good. He explains how the students at school segregate him, as well as his teacher, because he is poor. He ends with his internal shame caused by his own actions with the wino. These events support the fact that all of the inhuman acts made towards him changed him as person and the way he acts towards others.
Gregory’s first example of individual inhumanity begins with Helene Tucker. He demonstrates how much he does for her every day in order for her to never see him dirty. He gives details of how he would come face to face with her and she never fully acknowledges him. He shovels the snow out of her path home, ““Here comes Helene,” and I’d rub my tennis sneakers on the back of my pants and wish my hair wasn’t so nappy and the white folks shirt fit me better. I’d run out on the street. If I knew my place and didn’t come too close, she’d wink at me and say hello. That was good feeling” (583). Helene is just polite when she comes across him, but she never really interacts with him.
His example for social inhumanity is in his classroom. His teacher separates him from the class. The incidents indicate that the teacher has something against him. His chair has a circle drawn around it and is called the “idiot seat”. Gregory begins to explain why he finds himself in the predicament of being seated in that chair frequently. He implies that his hunger is the fault for why he can never concentrate in class, making his teacher to presume he is stupid; “The teacher thought I was stupid. Couldn’t spell, couldn’t read, couldn’t do arithmetic. Just stupid. Teachers were never interested in finding out that you couldn’t...
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