Discrimination In Pat Conroy's The Water Is Wide

1023 Words 5 Pages
In the late 1960 's, segregation had just been outlawed in the United States after a strenuous, nearly 15 year long civil rights movement. Still, despite this great achievement, racism and white supremacy still existed in the South. These tensions are seen throughout Pat Conroy 's memoir The Water is Wide, in which he shares his experience as a teacher on the extremely isolated Yamacraw Island. Here, a majority of his preteen students were severely undereducated African Americans, many of whom didn 't even know the alphabet. Its Pat 's writing that offers a glimpse into lives his students, their year of learning, and also the hardships they faced against their racist school system.

The Water is Wide was both set and written in the late
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Piedmont during the writing of this book due to their personal experiences. Throughout The Water is Wide, superintendent Dr. Piedmont is displayed as a racist who fires Pat for trying too hard to educate these isolated black kids. Pat implies that Dr. Piedmont at least had some picture of how undereducated the students at Yamacraw are, when in reality, he could have truly had no idea. With this in mind, all those trips that Pat thought necessary for the kids due to their lack of contact off the island, Dr. Piedmont really saw as an unfair privilege because none of the kids on the mainland got such long distance field trips. Also, if this was the case, then Dr. Piedmont would 've thought that the kids were decently educated and that Pat 's unconventional teaching methods were just him not taking his job seriously, which were grounds for him to be fired. But, it is because of the bad history between Pat and Dr. Piedmont, he 's displayed as the bad …show more content…
For one, to show that racism and discrimination is a choice. In the beginning of the book, Pat Conroy admits to being raised a racist, even saying that the “n-word” sounded nice on his tongue. It wasn 't until college that he realized the error of his ways. Throughout The Water is Wide, it shows how Pat 's views and judgments about the people of Yamacraw evolve for the better. This book was written, secondly, for revenge on the school board and Dr. Piedmont. After a long fought battle between Dr. Piedmont and Pat, which ended up being taken to court, he ends up being fired because of his “unconventional teaching ways”. Pat, upset because of his wrongful termination and not being able to teach at Yamacraw, fires back at the School Board with this book to show their racism against those on the island. And finally, Pat wrote to show people what discrimination and prejudices do to people like the ones on Yamacraw. Pat was shocked at the lack of education these kids had received because of their race, and throughout the book he attempted to correct what the school board had done, even if it meant teaching in nontraditional ways. He was disgusted at the lack of sympathy and the threats made by Dr. Piedmont, that Pat felt the need to expose these peoples hardships to share what exactly racism does to the people its targeted

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