Beauty and The Beast
The most important stage of life is childhood; it shapes us when we become as adults. In the story “A Teacher’s Rewards” written by Robert Phillips and “Long, Long After School” written by Ernest Buckler, there are two kids, Wes and Raybe, shaped by their teachers, influencing their futures. At first, Wes and Raybe are both innocent and kind, but they are still isolated by their classmates because Wes is negro and Raybe is dirty. The difference is, Wes’s teacher, Ms. Tretheway, who gives a lot of support to Wes and saves his life, makes a big difference for Wes’s life, making his future more confident and successful. While Raybe’s teacher, Ms. Scofield, who is the same as Raybe’s classmates, mercenary and evil, looking down upon on Raybe because of his family, making Raybe become a paranoia from a kind and innocent kid. Children are like the growing trees in the farm; they need someone to take care of them, giving them nutrient, not poison. Once they have grown up, they will produce fruits to recompense their farmers. But the fruits are not always “sweet”. it could also be “poison” depends on how much their farmers take care of them. Growing environment is very important to kids.
School days is the similar as the adult society, once it isn’t processed well, it would be the disaster. Wes is isolated by his classmates because he is negro. On the dance party, the girl named “Jane Evans who is right opposite Wes, she chose to dance with Toby instead—–and the girl next to Jane just glanced at me [Wes] and then went and sat down.” (Buckler 50). Because all the girls don’t want to dance with Wes, which makes him angry, so “I [Wes] went down in the basement and drove my [his] fist through a window.” (Buckler 51). School life almost makes Wes depraved. He can hardly control his mood and kill himself. Thanks to Ms. Tretheway save Wes’s life again. Because his stupid behavior, he bleeds too much which almost kills himself. What’s worse, “only seven per cent of people have it. [odd type blood]” (Buckler 52). Wes is lucky, because Ms. Tretheway is one of the seven per cent of the people. Ms. Tretheway not only teaches Wes the truth of being a human being, but also saves his life. She is like the angel, Wes’s angel. For Raybe, Ms. Scofield would be the devil of Raybe who takes his hopefulness away. Everyone is school tries to tease Raybe and bully him, “I [Raybe] remember the day you wrote nasty, nasty words on the wall in the supply closet. Horrible words. And then when I [Raybe] went back to get papers to distribute, I [Raybe] saw those words. I had to read them, and I knew who wrote them, all right.’” (Phillips 386). Raybe is the one tries to tell Ms. Scofield who wrote those nasty words, but “‘You [Ms. Scofield] whacked my [Raybe’s] knuckles good, but I [Raybe] didn’t write those words.” (Phillips 386). Ms. Scofield punishes Raybe without knowing the true: Nathan Pillsbury writes those words. She whacks Raybe’s confidence so hard that he lost his mind, picking up the hammer and revenging back on Ms. Scofield. Both Wes and Raybe are the birds who can fly higher and further in the forest. Ms. Tretheway is like the sun, guiding Wes to the correct direction; Ms. Scofield and the students are like hunters, trying to shoot Raybe and killing him.
A teacher’s responsibility is to let students to grow up in a good environment, not a disaster. In Wes’s childhood, everyone in his school keeps a long distance from him because his skin is black, except Ms. Tretheway. Only Ms. Tretheway is willing to talk with Wes, when other students try to tease Wes, Ms. Tretheway will tell them seriously not to do it. One time, Ms. Tretheway is showing them a new game in the school yard. Wes is disliked by the biggest banks girl. “I[Wes] out my[his] hand out to close up the ring with the biggest Banks girl, but she wouldn’t take it. She said, ‘Your hands are dirty.’ Miss Tretheway made us[them] both hold out our[their] hands. She said, ‘Why, Marilyn, Wes’s hands are much cleaner than yours. Maybe Wes doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, dd you ever think about that?’” (Buckler 50). Ms. Tretheway uses an irony way to criticize Marilyn’s behavior, making Wes feel safe and warm when Wes hold her hands. “Her hand felt safe and warm, I[Wes] remember…and I[Wes] guess that’s the first day I thought she was beautiful.” (Buckler 50). Ms. Tretheway’s good-natured and gentle morality is making Wes go on the way to success. Back to “A Teacher’s Reward”, Raybe is having a totally different life in school. His family is too poor to offer him to have clean and beautiful clothing, so everyone in the school doesn’t want to make friend with him, which makes him inferiority. What’s worse, his teacher, Ms. Scofield is also that kind of person. She likes to rap students’ knuckles for no reason, or just for fun. While Raybe is talking with Miss Scofield, they mention it, “‘You [Ms. Scofield] did it lots of times,’ he [Raybe] continued, ‘In front of the whole class. They laughed at me.” (Phillips 384). Miss Scofield is destroying, exterminating, ravaging Raybe’s confidence. Raybe is not only suffering from his classmates, but also suffering from Miss Scofield’s rapping his knuckles. A good teacher will always pour all their heart to take care of students, no matter how bad they are.
It shows what education an adult has received in his childhood by his action, talking way and attitude. When Wes knows Ms. Tretheway passed away, who saves him from the pain and despair, he is sad and regretful: “You couldn’t say that he [Wes] turned pale, but his stillness was quite different from the conventional one on such occasions.” “He [Wes] didn’t go to her funeral. But he sent her flowers of his own. Or brought them rather. The following day, when I [narrator] took the short cut again, I surprised him on his knees placing them.” (Buckler 48). Wes’s polite and nice morality shows that he receives a good education in his childhood. That’s because he has a heart-beautiful teacher, Ms. Tretheway. While Raybe only wants to get revenge at the beginning. He asks Ms. Scofield about their school days, enraging his mood, determining his revenge plan. “‘Nathan Pillsbury, that’s who!’ he [Raybe] shouted, clenching his teeth and shaking her frail body within his grasp. ‘Nathan Pillsbury, Nathan Pillsbury!’” (Phillips 387). Raybe repeats his sadness and anger to Ms. Scofield, saying with a pale smile. As a result, both Wes and Raybe are influenced by their teachers when they grow up, but different. Wes becomes a gentleman while Raybe becomes a gangster.
Because something happens in the childhood, earth-shaking changes happen in Wes’s and Raybe’s futures. Thanks to Ms. Tretheway’s kindness, Wes doesn’t become a devil like Raybe, whose confidence is destroyed by Ms. Scofield totally. On a hand, it’s a beauty, making Wes get rid of the racial discrimination; on the other hand, it’s a beast, destroying Raybe’s confidence, letting him to be a devil. They have the same identity—teacher, who is the most important character in the childhood. But once handled improperly, it could also be the most dangerous person who kills your life.
Beauty and The Beast