“Travelling” by Grace Paley

A community is a group of people living in the same place or sharing a particular characteristic. While Paley is not apart of the “Southern” community, with its social norms and segregation laws, she does share a common trait with the people there, compassion and a sense of humanity. Like her mother, Paley rejects the social divide between colored people and white, like herself, and instead creates a bridge between the gap. Even though the white man comments about not wanting to touch “that thing”, Paley hugs the child tighter and kisses his head, almost as if protecting him. The mother as well holds her hand on the baby’s head, conveying a sense of love and security. Although the social norms of the 1940s and 1950s were drastically different between the North and South, the overarching community is the same, which is why even though Paley views herself as a “stranger”, she is able to fit in. And, fitting in does not mean conforming to society’s views, rather she connects with people, particularly the mother, on a deeper level. At the core, everyone is human and shares the same basic characteristics such as kindness, honesty, self-awareness, integrity, and courage.

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