- Prior to graduation, what is the mood of the graduating class and their families? How does that mood change and why?
Prior to graduation everyone was excited and happy for for. Parents were proud of their child and the young adults were excited to start a new chapter in their lives. Then when Donleavy gave his speech, it changed the whole mood. He wasn’t really supporting them to work harder, he was telling them the reality of their place in society. The only careers really fit for them were being farmers, maids, and field workers. Mr. Donleavy was basically crushing their dreams on a special day for the students. He was making sure they didn’t put their hopes so high because of the way society was at that time.
Example answer: I agree Justin as Mr. Donleavy gave his backhanded speech this was the main change of attitude for Marguerite and created a vortex of self doubt that as a black person in that time and before had all felt.
- What is the effect of Mr. Donleavy’s appearance and speech at the graduation? Explain Marguerite’s changed attitude towards herself and others change because of Donleavy.
Mr. Donleavy’s appearance and speech at the graduation had a negative impact on the students. His pompous, nonchalant attitude reflected the fact that he did not feel the education or the student’s hard work would be of consequence to their future. As far as he and the other racist white people were concerned, the Negroes would never amount to anything more than athletes, maids, handymen, farmers, etc. This changed Marguerite’s attitude towards herself and others because she initially believed she could do anything as long as she put her mind to it. Once gave his speech to the graduating class, the mood was somber and she said, “Donleavy had exposed us.” (¶. 44) Despite earlier receiving the recognition for her hard work from her family and the community, it now felt like she didn’t accomplish anything at all.