The island is nearly deserted. Across a slip of ocean lies South Carolina. But for the handful of families on Yamacraw Island, America is a world ...Show synopsisThe island is nearly deserted. Across a slip of ocean lies South Carolina. But for the handful of families on Yamacraw Island, America is a world away. Now the waters are not safe. Waste from industry threatens their existence - unless somehow, they can learn a new life.Hide synopsis
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I truly enjoyed the book. Every educator should read this book and understand what some teachers go through to make sure every child has an opportunity to learn. It has motivated me to do more for my students.
Picture a lush, unspoiled island more than two miles off the shore of South Carolina, largely ignored by the world, inhabited by descendants of freed slaves. Roads are unpaved, oxcarts still in use. In the late 1960?s a young, idealistic, white teacher, reared in the segregated south, eager to change the lives of the black children, arrives at the island?s only school. This book is based on the true story of Pat Conroy?s turbulent year trying to change the lives of children living in isolation and ignorance.
?I know colored people better than you do?, the principal tells Conroy on the first day of school. ?That?s because I?m one of them myself.? She tells the children to work hard because their brains are slow and that some of them are even retarded, and reminds them about the switches in the cupboard.
This is a story of a teacher?s education about racial prejudice still prevalent in the 1960?s south. The children can barely read or write and speak in their own ?gullah?language. Conroy?s at odds with the principal?s teaching methods and the bureaucracy of the mainland school district. Finally he sees that the best education he can give the children is exposure to the outside world. How he manages to do this, against all odds, is a compelling story you won?t forget.
Pat Conroy takes reader's on an emotional journey as a young, white teacher who navigates an unrivaled segregated educational system in the deep south. Behind the story hangs a veil over the ever present, multi-layered civil rights movement of the then recent 1960's. The most powerful aspect of Conroy's writing is his ability to engross the reader so as to journey along with the characters. In The Water Is Wide, the privledge was to move from shame and pain to pride and self respect.
Are you an educator who has lost your drive for teaching? A southerner who has been removed from your birthplace? Or do you just love books?
The Water is Wide is a glimpse into the public education system in South Carolina in the late sixties and early seventies, as told by Pat Conroy. A native of the lowcountry of South Carolina, he chronicles his experiences teaching on Yamacraw Island for a year - the injustices, the rewards, the setbacks, and the beauty of home.
I think everyone will find something to love in this story, but I think that any educator, and any native of South Carolina, will find it especially real, familiar, and touching.
It is not a long read, either. Knock it out in a few hours or a day, and you will be better for it!
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