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Water Is Wide

Water Is Wide Politically speaking, most people involved in academia are liberal. As a teacher, Conroy’s views have changed tremendously during his lifetime. When Conroy was a youth, he was a racist. Presently, Conroy is a liberal. Pat came from a conservative background starting at high school.

“..when I rode in the back seat of a ’57 Chevrolet along a night blackened Carolina road hunting for blacks to hit with rotten watermelons . . . We called this intrepid form of entertainment ‘nigger-knocking,’ and it was great fun during the carnival of blind hatred I participated joyfully in during my first couple of years in high school.” (p. 6) Within a group of other white high school kids, it is very hard to grasp equal freedom for blacks and whites within a racist school.

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Pat’s transformation first started while visiting a concentration camp in Dachau. “The imprint of Dachau branded me indelibly and caused me to suffer the miscarriage of my hopeful philosophy. If man was good, then Dachau could never have happened.” (p.10) The second imprint on Pat’s life came after Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. Pat noticed that the white students reacted passively to the event. “Since the faculty was all white, the black students walked the halls in silence, tears of frustration rolling down their cheeks and unspoken bitterness written on their faces in their inability to communicate their feelings to their white teachers.” (p. 11) This reaction to the assassination stayed with Pat for many years.

Pat Conroy’s view have changed drastically. He is currently a liberal after watching and witnessing many acts of brute force against blacks. “I lobbied for a course in black history in a school 90 percent white.” (p. 13) Pat wanted change but he wanted to try something new and adventurous. When his friend Bernie presented Pat with the Yamacraw job, Pat was thrilled.

“I did not wish to return to the high school. I was through with teachers more concerned with the length of mini-skirts and hair than with education.” (p. 16) Pat was eager to accept a job with mostly blacks who could neither read nor write. Pat wanted to make a change. Pat Conroy changed for the good.

Pat started out as a racist who used to try to bash blacks and then transformed into a liberal. Pat Conroy is currently a liberal.


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