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All throughout the text, we can see examples of the mother’s pride — her pride in her dreams of getting her daughter into this school, her pride in her daughter’s appearance. Even more, we see hints that she is proud of herself. As the story progresses, we can see how her pride starts to break. We can pinpoint in the following passage the exact time those cracks start to form:

My mother is not convinced and for several more minutes she questions the woman about why I cannot attend Seaton. For as many Sundays as I can remember, perhaps even Sundays when I was in her womb, my mother has pointed across I Street to Seaton as we come and go to Mt. Carmel. “You gonna go there and learn about the whole world.” But one of the guardians of that place is saying no, and no again. I am learning this about my mother: The higher up on the scale of  respectability a person is — and teachers are rather high up in her eyes — the less she is liable to let them push her around. But finally, I see in her eyes the closing gate, and she takes my hand and we leave the building.

The first cracks appear when one of the few things she can offer to her child is taken away simply because of where they live. Immediately after this encounter, we see that she is still determined to provide for her child, but her pride is wounded. It is wounded again as she admits she cannot read and once again when she relents to the fact that this is the reality she lives in and that she cannot keep the one promise she made to her child. As she exits the new school without having played the game she and her daughter made up long ago, before the teacher takes her daughter from the auditorium, we are left with the impression that her pride is wounded, if not entirely shattered.

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