Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chapter 4: The Water Is Wide

“I love people and collect friends like some people collect coins or exotic pipes. So far, the people of the island had “yassuhed” me to death. I was the white principal, a figure of authority, which in itself could not be trusted”.
      In Chapter 4 Conroy began exploring the island and what it had to offer him. He found himself going to the beach and walking in the forest to get away from the school house where he spent most of his time. Along with exploring the island Conroy also met some of the locals on the island and they became his associates and some even his friends. Some of the people he met he really didn’t care that much for but he knew he had to keep a civil relationship with them because they were vital to his well-being on the island. Two people that he met, Zeke and Ida became his friends rather quickly and he found himself amongst their company from time to time. Most of the people on the island wondered why he had come there to educate the black students because he was white but at the same time they understood that somebody needed to do it. Also in this chapter Conroy falls in love and gets married to Barbara Jones. The distance from his wife and family made it even tougher on him to remain on the island. He didn’t want to leave the children behind in Yamacraw but at the same time he didn’t want his wife living on the island under such harsh conditions. He was unable to focus on teaching the students because he wanted to be with his family. His marriage to Barbara made Conroy think about why he was in Yamacraw to begin with because it seemed like what he was doing at the school wasn’t working.


  1. I really enjoyed reading about the different people that Conroy came into contact with. I think one of the people you were speaking about when you said Conroy did not like everyone but still had to be nice, was Ted Stone. Conroy did not agree with many of the things Ted said or did, but Ted was in charge of so much on the island, that Conroy did not want to make him mad. I agree with you about Conroy’s marriage to Barbara making him stop and think about what he was doing on the island. I think this was the point when he realized that he wanted to teach the children things that would be helpful in their everyday lives. Solving math problems was not necessarily going to do that.

  2. I liked this chapter because it helped me understand the life of the people on the island better. Zeke and Ida are very humble people for doing what they did quilting the church. I can not believe that people back then were so ridicules that they thought there ignorant stereo types were excepted in the eyes of God. It also made it clearer to me why there were such strong barriers between the white and the black people on the island. It reminds me of the relationship between middle class people and politicians. No matter what Conroy has in mind their past experiences just make it way to hard to trust people of his kind.

  3. I also thought of Ted. In a lot of ways, as future teachers, you might encounters some Ted Stones. You won't be on an island necessarily, but you might meet people that you don't necessarily like but have to learn how to get along with nonetheless.