“Travelling” Reflection

In “Travelling” written by Grace Paley, the topics of social injustice and societal norms are addressed. Paley describes her mother’s and sister’s experience with segregation on a bus ride to Virginia, as well as her own personal experience with segregation and racism on a bus ride to Miami Beach. In both instances, the members of the Paley family reject societal norms and question the status quo by refusing to be complacent about the laws of segregation. Paley’s mother expressed her disapproval of racial injustice by refusing to move to the front of the bus, despite the law of segregation, showing that though a law may be a law, it does not mean it is just. In 1943, Paley offers to carry a black child from a tired mother as an act of kindness and humanity. She uses her privilege to help those who are marginalized. However, the shocking ignorance of the white male passenger referring to the innocent black baby stuns Paley. As an act of defiance and as a reaction, Paley shows even more affection for the baby by using compassion to convey her message of acceptance and tolerance. These interactions have had a lasting impact that has shaped the author’s perspective, emotions, and relationships; they have caused her to self-reflect and eventually dedicate her life to activism.

 

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