In works by Langston Hughes, Richard Hague, and Gary Gildner, the characters are faced with expectations reality places upon them. In Hughes “Thank You M’am,” Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones stands up for herself and makes a recognition in Rogers’ life, in Hague’s “Directions for Resisting the SAT,” he makes a point about how the standardized tests are not an accurate way of predicting a persons potential, and in Gildner’s “First Practice,” the coach automatically places high expectations on his players with his belief that ‘dogs eat dogs’. When I volunteer with Soccer Without Borders, we guide the kids to being able to express themselves in any way they wish. The expectations society puts on people today may hold some back from doing what they want, but it is important to look past these standards in order to fulfill ones desires.
In “Thank You M’am,” the little boy, Roger, who tried to snatch Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones’ purse, expected to successfully get away with this fraudulent act. When Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones caught him and wouldn’t let him go, Roger expected her to turn him into the police, but this was not the case. Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones did what Roger would have never predicted and this sure taught him a lesson. When she brought him to her residence, she wanted him to clean up and get a good bite to eat, which was quite surprising to Roger since he attempted to steal her personal belongings. With the door open, “The woman did not watch the boy to see if he was going to run now, nor did she watch her purse which she left behind her day-bed” (509). At this point Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones figured the boy would behave since she was doing him a favor. She wanted to give the boy a well-taught lesson to not disrespect others. One would never expect her to do what she did, but this situation shows her true character. Hughes named her as ‘Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones’ and not simply ‘Mrs. Jones’ because she is a powerful woman who made an impact on Rogers’s life. She is a strong woman who deserves to be called by her full name because it portrays her unique qualities.
In “Directions for Resisting the SAT,” the author looks down upon the natural standardization the SAT puts on students. The SAT has such an intimidating title that seemingly ‘predicts our future’. Everyone dreads even hearing the name “SAT” because it stresses students in ways no other test will stress them ever again. Hague pays close attention to how this test does not accurately portray a students’ individuality. Hague tells the reader to “follow no directions.” and to “Listen to no one” because being given such strict rules can often hold one back from their true success. One will pay such close attention to the specific rules that they will not be able to preform in the way they usually would. This standardization plays a big part in not letting people show their true potential as students.
In “First Practice,” the coach sets extreme standards for his athletes, expecting them to be “hungry/ men who hate to lose as much/ as” he does (15). He is a harsh coach who intimidates them even on their first day of practice. This intimidation may hold some of the players back from even speaking because of such attitude.
At Soccer Without Borders, we are fully open to letting the kids express themselves in any way they want as long as it is considered appropriate behavior. We set no expectations for them so they can interact in any way they want, providing them with more opportunities to let go of what they are feeling and I think that is very important. Social standards are an issue for many people because sometimes they feel forced to act a certain way, holding them selves back from how they would naturally act. This prevents people from succeeding in all ways possible, which can really have an impact on them.