"The Trouble I've Seen: Erma Motton" from American Dreams: Lost and Found by Studs Terkel

Prepared by Dr. Loretta Kasper

As you have read in this week's assignment, Erma Motton had a very strong work ethic and a deep belief in her abilities. Yet, because she was a black woman, she suffered the offense of bigotry and was looked down upon.

In spite of this, Motton took positive action, getting a job and taking college courses. Motton believes that this helped her to think about others as well as herself.

As Motton says, "When you start doing good things for yourself, then you do good things for other people too..."

In a well-organized essay, express your viewpoints on the above quote. Here are some points to guide you in constructing your essay:

  1. Do you agree with Motton that doing good things for yourself leads you to do good things for others?
  2. Have you, or someone you know, ever had a similar experience with bigotry?
  3. If so, how did you, or they, react? What was the result?
You should use specific examples from your reading and/or personal experience to support your argument.

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Professor of English

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April 19, 2004

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