The writer Toni Morrison tells a story between a fisherwoman and her. Toni met this strange fisherwoman at the fence set between her house and her neighbor’s. She formed her good impression of the woman at the first sight. She holds the good attitude to the woman, and she came up to her and talked with her for 15 minutes, during which she confirmed herself that the woman was a kind of old woman who tends to have a lock on the wit and humor. This is the first hint to me that the writer was cheated, although she knew nothing about the fisherwoman, she confirmed herself about the good quality the fisherwoman, without considering the fact that she only appeared when the neighbor wasn’t at home. She was wrong at the beginning of making the judgment on someone she didn’t know. Then the stranger left without coming back ever, leaving the writer in confusion and endless waiting. And during her waiting, the writer found out gradually that the contents of the 15-minute conversation were fake largely partially, such as the fisherwoman’s name (which was made Mother Something but actually who knows), and she didn’t know her neighbor, and she actually was an intruder into someone’s wall. After finding out that she was cheated, the writer had a mixed feeling, and she felt confused, annoyed, bitter, and eventually angry. She couldn’t figure out why this fisherwoman chose to lie to her when she opened her heart to make friends with her. She didn’t realize that at the beginning of the story she had been someone’s target to lie, and the aim of the lie was just as simple to succeed in letting the old fisherwoman get away from fishing at other people’s wall without the owner’s permission. Here, the writer’s feeling hurt because of two reasons at different levels. The comparatively lower kind of hurt was that the fisherwoman failed to tell the truth and lied to her, and lying is no good. The comparatively severe kind of hurt was just as what the writer wrote in the latter sentence,” Now she is gone, taking with her my good opinion of myself, which, of course, is unforgivable.” The writer pointed out that the fisherman betrayed her, converted her good wish and goodness towards the fisherwoman. In order to make her feel at home and comfortable, and, the writer showed her respect to the stranger and had this happy and easy conversation with her, and she felt good about her doing so and considered herself a good and conscious person who was good at making strangers feel at home, but the old fisherwoman took with her good opinion about herself by the act of betraying, which certainly made the writer feel that she acted like a fool, she was chatting with someone with a wrongful aim. Here, my instructor told me a resembling story happened to her when she was in Columbia, she gave a little money to an old man in the subway station, who claimed to have no money to go home, but later she found him begging for money in the nearby places with the same reason, which really hurt her, dismissed her willingness to help people, and made she feel like the money she shared, though little, was totally worthless. It’s this kind of things that some of the strangers would do to hurt those who tries to help them at the very beginning, they not only hurt the feeling, the self-respect, but also taking away our trust and goodness towards strangers as a specific group.
After reading the essay for so many times, I realized that I have played the role of such hateful strangers for several times. As I am a freshman in college, on the very first day of my enrollment on campus, I as a stranger to other students met a lot of strangers and tried to leave them the so-called good impression, by sometimes faking myself and substituted myself for the good pattern. And I constantly did this, I thought if I am to talk with a stranger, it’s better to show the best part of me, even though this part is not real, so I just blab about some about the books I’ve read, the films I’ve watched, and the music I’ve listened to. And I used some big words and maybe some beautiful sentences which in daily life I would not even give a thought about it, acting like I am a knowledgeable person faced with a fool. I thought it was ok to exaggerate things a little bit, since I would never have to face this stranger later I am talking to right now, and it would be indeed embarrassing if I had to stay in the same room with an acquaintance who used to be a stranger to me. Just thinking about the crap we have been talked about is ridiculous and humiliating. Anyway, I have also played the role of victim like Toni, and I felt the same with her after finding out. It is the strangers like me and the fisherwoman that “turned the personal world into a public hell”, it is us as hypocritical strangers that make it difficult for people choose to trust, to help.