: Prejudice and self-hatred.
: From experiencing prejudice and discrimination, some members of minority groups develop strong feelings of self-hatred.
: Students will read a true account of how one young person reacted to prejudice.
: “The Odyssey of a Wop,” from
Children of the Uprooted
by Oscar Handlin, pp. 387-401.
John Fante was born in Denver, Colorado in 1911 and lived much of his early life there and in San Juan, California. This autobiographical piece gives a bitter-sweet account of the prejudices of non-Italians he met in school and conflicts between his proud Italian family and heritage and his own “American” aspirations. It strongly illustrates the shame, humiliation, and feelings of self-hatred experienced by many when they confronted the hostility and prejudice of members of the dominant culture.
: Students will read Fante’s account orally. Its strong dramatic and narrative qualities make it especially suitable for oral reading. Students will discuss:
- the actual prejudice experienced by Fante
- examples of the resulting self-hatred
- examples of the conflict between his parents’ generation and his own
- the comparisons one might make with experiences of other races and ethnic groups.
Students will write a paragraph explaining the title of the story and how Fante’s sense of being Italian had changed at the end of his account.