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How do Lena and Campbell have false views of each other? »
How do Lena and Campbell have false views of each other?
Lena thought Campbell was a rich, white girl. Lena had no idea that Campbell had less money at any given time than she did. Lena also thought that Campbell had more of a support structure than she ultimately did. Lena had no idea that Campbell did not have family around that cared about and supported her like Lena's granddad and cousin supported her.
Campbell thought that Lena was strong and confident. The evening's events helped her realize that Lena had some self-esteem issues particularly when it came to how she should be treated by a boyfriend. Campbell also thought that Lena would leave her like her mom did. Campbell also thought that since Lena was Black, she would be accustomed and unafraid in the poor neighborhoods that they were walking through. Campbell also felt that Lena's blackness made it ok to go to the doors of people she didn't know.
Lena assumes that Campbell lives a rich privileged lifestyle. Campbell thinks Lena is very sure of herself; she also assumes Lena is comfortable in the neighborhoods they pass through that night. Some of these false judgments come because, at least at first, both girls are reluctant to share their true feelings or situations. Campbell doesn't want Lena to know about how poor she is or how few friends she has. She doesn't want to share her insecurities about being in a new school or how lonely she feels. On the other hand, Campbell misses how frightened Lena is about the police showing up. She also doesn't understand how powerless Lena often feels in social settings. Campbell sees Lena's confident bluster and doesn't realize that Lena also has her own vulnerabilities.
I am a retired teacher and I was struck by how similar these young women are to my own students. Campbell comes from white culture and privilege; privilege in the sense that much of American dominant culture defaults to white. She sees Lena at first as a black woman from the “ghetto”, thereby she must know all other blacks that live there. This is, of course, a mistaken belief. She also has seen Lena as a put together, leader type of student as school.
Lena sees Campbell as a “rich, white girl” who probably lacks for nothing. She knows Campbell is new but doesn’t cut her any slack in spite of this.
Each learns more about the other, their culture and their personalities as the novel progresses. I believe that by the end of the novel, they see each other more as individuals than as stereotypes.
How do Lena and Campbell have false views of each other?
Campbell assumes that Lena must know someone in the "bad part of town", whom she can ask for help. This doesn't go over too well with Lena. Lena assumes that Campbell is a "rich white kid" who has at least enough money to call an Uber car. Some of the assumptions about the others' culture really hits a sensitive spot and leads to some arguments between them. I think actually neither of the girls seems to have strong feelings against the other race. But probably Lena, due to being black, has been treated negatively so many times by white people, that it is a sensitive spot to her. Campbell probably doesn't realize either, that some assumptions she holds subconsciously (such as the thought that a big black guy in an elevator is more likely to be unsafe than another guy) are totally inaccurate. She doesn't realize some of the privileged views she has and feels like she is totally non-racist, so this is offensive to her when Lena gets in a heated discussion with her on this topic. I'd say, being white, that this is a common feeling, that we don't even know what views we carry around, so we think we're color-blind and we could be offended by people saying we have a privileged mind-set.
I feel as if I’m the beginning, Campbell felt as though she was alone in a school full of black people. When walking to seventh street, Campbell makes a statement that Lena finds racist. However, throughout the story, Lena thought that Campbell or “Becky” was just a rock white girl. However, none of the accusations were true, and I loved how even though they had racial differences, they learned after spending so much time together, that they could be really good friends, despite the difference in skin color.
I feel as if I’m the beginning, Campbell felt as though she was alone in a school full of black people. When walking to seventh street, Campbell makes a statement that Lena finds racist. However, throughout the story, Lena thought that Campbell or “Becky” was just a rich white girl. However, none of the accusations were true, and I loved how even though they had racial differences, they learned after spending so much time together, that they could be really good friends, despite the difference in skin color.
The author used these false assumptions to create an angry emotional response from the reader. I agree with what you said, and because of their misinterpretations of each other's lives, there is tension, hostility, and quarrels. As the reader, we know each of the girls' real lives; this makes the story more memorable as well as showing us that our stereotypical way of thinking does not help and creates more arguments and division in society.
The lack of communication and assumptions between the two girls mirrored what was happening in the community. I think you're right about the author using the misinterpretations to provoke a response from readers. I've seen this theme of non-communication so many times in books--expressed in all kinds of situations. I always think, "Can't these people just talk to each other?" Apparently not! Too much baggage, shame, fear, distrust, prejudice etc. gets in the way.
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