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Going Home to Teach by Anthony Winkler

Essay by   •  June 22, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  3,400 Words (14 Pages)  •  1,480 Views

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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 in the book Going Home to Teach by Anthony Winkler is a continuation of Chapter 1 in which he describes his family who lived in Jamaica before he was born. During this time, the author had made up in his mind after living in America for thirteen years to return to Jamaica. Winkler begins with describing his mother's side of the family. They had migrated from Lebanon in the early 1900s. During this time, Christians and Muslims were at war. Winkler's grandfather had a friend in Lebanon living in Jamaica and wrote to him describing "the island as a paradise where a Catholic family could live in peace' (Winkler, 1995, pg. 9). However, the opposite was true. When his grandfather and family came to Jamaica they were shocked that most people there were black. Grandfather's wife was pregnant and had one infant son.

Winkler really did not know his grandfather (mother's father), but he described him as a "typical unbending Middle Eastern paterfamilias, a rigid martinet... (Winkler, 1995, pg. 9). He was a stern man that was obsessed with protecting his eight daughters from having sex and marrying a black or brown Jamaicans on the island. For marrying or even association with a black or brown Jamaican was considered to be "zero tolerance" among the Winkler generation. Being that they were white Jamaicans, this would mess up the blood line. Winkler's grandfather took this as a full-time job by giving the girls horrible beatings, enforcing curfews and arranging marriages. This grandfather was considered to be unpleasant man. There was a time when, he married off his oldest daughter when she was sixteen. The guy was from Lebanon and thirty years older than her. The older man beat the daughter (Winkler's aunt). She bore him a son and the older man regularly beat him too. The son grew up and went crazy. He was committed to the insane asylum and died there. Winkler's aunt went mad and her husband got old and was not in his right mind. She started eventually started boxing her husband in Winkler's presence.

Winkler's unpleasant grandfather, in the early years, purchased a donkey, sold dry goods on credit door-to-door to poor neighborhoods on the island. Grandfather grew to despise the island he very once thought was a good idea to live on. He did business with the poor black people of Jamaica which made him more and more hate them. At times, the poor black people helped his business boom. Grandfather would get mad at his customers and yelled out for everyone to hear sayings like "negro is a monkey without a tail". One day his insulted a black policeman on the island and the officer hit Winkler's grandfather with his police club. After that incident, grandfather contracted liver cancer and died.

In spite of Grandfather's nasty ways, his did very well in business. He eventually trained his three sons to run the business he started once on a donkey. He later owned many shops which were owned by each son. The family grew to become rich in the dirtiest parts of Kingston, Jamaica. Winkler goes on to describe his uncles (Grandfather's sons). They became so rich that they were stingy men, but spent lots and lots of money. They owned race horses and gambled heavily on weekends. All but one uncle was born on the island. They live nice and sent their children to the best schools. Yet in still, they hated Jamaica just as their father.

Winkler's father and his family had been on the island for about two generations when his mother's family decided to come to Jamaica. They owned little land however; they owned a prosperous music business company started by his native, Hungarian Great-grandfather in 1880s. Great grandfather Winkler was a successful businessman and was owner of the only music import store on the island of Jamaica. Great-grandmother did not have a positive mind about living on the island. Great-grandfather established a household in Philadelphia and for many years traveled back and forth to Jamaica. The music company business basically paid the bills, so in the 1920's, Great-grandfather retired from the island and left the music business company to Grandfather. Great-grandfather moved to California and to live with his daughter where he later died at the age of eighty-one.

This chapter also compared the family on his mother's side of the family to his father side of the family. His father's family took pride in the European heritage and was so what snobbish. His father's family thought that his mother's family as "vulgar shopkeepers" (Winkler, 1995, p.12). A marked difference in families where the author stated that "my mother's family spewed over with hate and contempt for Jamaica and its people; my father's did not" (Winkler, 1995, pg.13).

In was in the year of 1975 when Anthony Winkler decided to go home. During this time the government was being run by Michael Manley. The shift toward socialism was fresh and new. Winkler knew little about Manley government policies. He only heard little information from relatives and friends. The author made mention of Jamaican especially the rich people was nasty towards the poor people. Winkler believed that Manley would make things right so to speak. Winkler describes Jamaica as being a little different than other third world countries.

The author reflected on him going back home and felt like being white was an issue. Winkler thought of the time he first discovered he was white. He felt shameful. He was riding with his father to take the black nanny, Louise home. He saw where she lived and it was not the condition he lived in. He was six year old at the time and thought that only black were poor and whites where not (Winkler, 1995, p. 15). But reality later him, when he encountered with their landlord and his childhood bully.

The chapter continues to tell the story how Winkler flew to Jamaican and saw an ad in the Gleaner for a tutor in a rural teacher training college. The college was called Longstreet College. Winkler talked about his interview with the principal named Dr. Levy. He gave a hilarious description him as being a "black Jamaican with a doctorate from Cornell University and the owlish squint of a cataract suffer" (Winkler, 1995, p. 18). An odd moment occurred in the interview. A small lizard appeared from under a stack of paper on his desk. Dr. Levy almost had a close encounter with the lizard at one point, but paid no mind. Winkler was selected for the position and came back to Kingston the next day.

Chapter 5

In Chapter 5, Tony and Cathy got their home in a small backwater village on a plateau in Jamaica. This was a small village that "consisted of some five or six churches, two ratty shops,

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