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Assess if Mr. P is guilty for what he did in the past.

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rubar1234 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 27, 2012 at 7:35 PM via web

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Assess if Mr. P is guilty for what he did in the past.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 29, 2012 at 2:31 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that the guilt of Mr. P is challenging.  Certainly, he admits that the attitude with which he approached teaching Native Americans early on in his career was wrong.  Certainly, Mr. P accepts his own guilt himself when he tells Junior that he "hurt a lot of Indian kids when (he) was a young teacher."  This is an admission of how wrong he once was.  Yet, I think that it needs to be stated that Mr. P was an instrument of a social and educational policy that would need to be examined in harsher terms.  The Status Quo in which Mr. P lived was one that sought to remove Native American identity and assimilate them into a construct of what it meant to be "American."  Mr. P did not make this policy, but he was compelled to carry it out.  He recognizes the failure of this policy and in speaking to Junior about his own past, he admits this.  I think that this certainly mitigates his own level of guilt and culpability.  The fact that Mr. P encourages Junior to escape the life of the reservation would also have to be taken into account.  Thus, while Mr. P might be guilty of crimes in the past, he certainly has acknowledged mistakes and has tried to do right by Junior.  Given this and a policy that was dictated for him to follow, these would have to be taken into account of any assessment of his culpability.

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