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Stupid Rich Bastards by Laurel

To him, these teachers never really crossed the barrier but are merely bridges that connect the two territories, speaking both the language of the rich and of the poor. Because of this, the only ones that the narrator ever trusts aside from the poor people are his teachers. This paved the way for the narrator to make them an exception from the “stupid rich bastards” that do not understand the poor. For him his teachers are the only noble people outside the territory of the poor, standing between the “stupid rich bastards” and them. The narrators vision of a good life is greatly influenced by these teachers. He even considered being like them someday.

But the narrator was not fully convinced that being a teacher would help him give his family a comfortable life. He judged that being a teacher would not help him in his pursuit of his dreams because his teachers, despite their knowledge and skills, still live in their poor town and drove rusty cars just like what his family had. This is another instance where the narrator judged by what he sees and thinks, not asking whether this is true or not. This is a manifestation of his fear of really communicating with people that are not poor. So, he decides to pursue professions other than teaching such as law and, after he failed, archeology, thinking that these will help him achieve his dreams.

The narrator respects his teachers but his experiences with them did not teach him the importance of understanding people expanding his social interaction in breaking free from the clutches of poverty. He still doesnt want to cross the barrier that separates the rich from the poor because, for him, to be one of the rich means betraying his family and his people. For him, the poor peoples way of living is the only true way of living.

This is ironic because he dreams of escaping poverty. And due to this belief, greatly magnified by his lack of communication with successful people, all he sees are his familys poverty, the rich people who caused them suffering, and his teachers. His dreams becomes limited by what his mind could comprehend — and his mind does not accept any other way of living other than what he already had with his family. He had a vision of leaving the life of poverty but this vision is blurred and limited.

So even though he himself had the chance to get away from their poor town, he was not able to help his family and give them a life away from poverty. In the end of the story, his family is still poor and living in Massachusetts and the narrator, who becomes a teacher of composition, is satisfied with this.

The individual person is a human system who is both cause and effect of social systems — or social groups (R.E. Anderson and I. Carter, 1999:198). Therefore, the narrators lack of communication with a particular group in the social system (i.e. rich people) prohibited him from maximizing his potentials and breaking free from the bonds of poverty.

The figure above shows that a normal person expands his/her social interaction as the life cycle unfolds. It shows that a persons growth and development is in a pattern of expansion, a movement outward (R.E. Anderson and I. Carter, 1999:198). However, the narrator in the story grew up in an environment that has firmly established the belief that all rich and successful people are oppressors thus limiting his growth as a person. This in turn resulted in him not achieving his goal to help his family.

Reference

Anderson, R., I. Carter and G. Lowe. (1999). Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Social Systems Approach. NJ: Transaction Publishers..

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