There can’t be two sets of expectations, one for them and one for me, the only girl in the class. How will I earn their esteem if I don’t pose?
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There can’t be two sets of expectations, one for them and one for me, the only girl in the class. How will I earn their esteem if I don’t pose?

-Sharon Biggs

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But, it didn’t matter that my mother suspected and knew that I was a writer. It was expected of me to take care of my share of the responsibility of making our way in the world as a family. In those days, also, it was unheard of, by us certainly, that to get any help, even from members of our own family, let alone from the government, which would have been disgraceful. Thank God that that kind of folly in thinking is obsolete. There is a temptation to feel, ‘Well, we all made it; why can’t these other poor people make it?’ And, of course, nothing is more than stupid than that attitude. I must confess that I find that attitude among many countrymen of my own who do find themselves taking undue pride in their own sense of ability — of being equal to any situation, and of seeing it through and improving it, and so on. And then, putting that against other people who don’t have that, and thereby implying that the other people are lazy. Not taking into account the whole different structure and identity and a people who have survived for centuries under very harsh conditions and members of a very great culture, and I am talking about the Indians, to begin with, in the Valley — the San Joaquin Valley, in Fresno, in Tulare, and the mountains, and there are many tribes of them, of different kinds, and I am talking about, also, the Mestizos, the mixtures of Mexican, Spaniards with Indians, making the Mexican. And I am talking about any minority which is considered by anybody as being innately of itself indolent. This kind of narrow thinking is a temptation to all sorts of people, and one has to be sympathetic with the people who are wrong, too, you see. It is not enough just to be sympathetic with the people who are belittled; it is necessary to be sympathetic with the people who belittle them. So, in worrying about the persecuted, one is obliged also to worry about the persecutors. I consider that a basic measure of growth.

-William Saroyan

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Girls say to me, very reasonably, 'why isn't it a bunch of girls? Why did you write this about a bunch of boys?' Well, my reply is I was once a little boy - I have been a brother, a father, I am going to be a grandfather. I have never been a sister, or a mother, or a grandmother. That's one answer. Another answer is of course to say that if you - as it were - scaled down human beings, scaled down society, if you land with a group of little boys, they are more ike a scaled-down version of society than a group of little girls would be. Don't ask me why, and this is a terrible thing to say because I'm going to be chased from hell to breakfast by all the women who talk about equality - this is nothing to do with equality at all. I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been. But one thing you can't do with them is take a bunch of them and boil them down, so to speak, into a set of little girls who would then become a kind of image of civilisation, of society. The other thing is - why aren't they little boys AND little girls? Well, if they'd been little boys and little girls, we being who we are, sex would have raised its lovely head, and I didn't want this to be about sex. Sex is too trivial a thing to get in with a story like this, which was about the problem of evil and the problem of how people are to live together in a society, not just as lovers or man and wife.

-William Golding

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