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Latest update: November 24, 2000

Respect for the Other in Love and Friendship

Teaching Essay by jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata.
Copright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata, November 2000. "Fair Use" encouraged.
Today is Thanksgiving, 2000. I want to give thanks for a career that has spanned many social movements and has seen the opportunity for the Other grow in ways that offer me a whole new career after retirement.

New material on respect, especially respect for learning and for the Other.

Today's notes are on a scene in The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, by Melissa Bank. The heroine, a 14-year-old, tells of her older brother's visit with his girlfriend to the girlfriend's family. The scene was a party, and the brother did not heed the girlfriend's request to wear a dark suit, so that brother found himself inappropriately dressed. Girflriend's family made a few hasty phone calls and provided brother with a suit, albeit one whose fit was epitomized in "too short" sleeves.

Here, Brother is an Other. Other is often not in on "the code" (Hockenberry), even when he thinks he is. Included Ones try to help, and Other rejects Girfriend, for her family is "snooty." I'd like us to analyze this in terms of excluded identities and our emotional reactions, even when the Excluders try to Include. Analyze in terms of "advocacy" by exploring the multiple perspectives involved.

Like her older brother, the heroine, Jane, learns that relationships that appear "successful" are manipulated by the adversarial game. Trying to follow the self help books on how to reel in the man she wants takes her down an adversarial path which is alien to her real feelings, and which leads to losing her fish.

Through the interdependence of her boyfriend's and her own search for their own identities, Jane learns that reeling in her fish might be less important than understanding and being understood by the Other fish.

I got the book for $12.95 in paperback at Vroman's: Penguin Books, 1999. ISBN: 0-14-02.9324-8 (pbk) and will try to get a review up shortly. jeanne