The play Death and the Maiden, written by Ariel Dorfman and the poems “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost, “Accident, Mass. Ave.,” by Jill McDonough and “Learning to Read” by E.W. Harper present worlds filled with inequalities, while Fr. Peter-Hans Klovenbach states in his essay “The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education,” that equality is possible. Although Father Klovenbach presents a wonderful case for equality being reached through education, the reality of the situation is that true equality cannot and will not be reached. The history of the world is not one of acceptance and toleration, it is quite the opposite; history is filled with discrimination and hatred that dates back to the beginning of man. However, by no means should anyone stop trying to attain equality for the fact that it is impossible, for it is then that inequalities will grow and further divide us.
Robert Frost notes that “we keep the wall between us as we go,” as a barrier to protect our ignorance. Though no matter how many times we build up the walls, you need “to use a spell” to keep them in place (lines 15, 18). The repetition of the phrase “Good fences make good neighbors” confirms that people are blissfully ignorant in their misunderstanding of each other (lines 26, 45). These misunderstandings easily lead to unwarranted hatred, as Jill McDonough displays in her poem. Although the ignorance displayed in the interaction between the young driver and the older, foreign female driver ends on a positive tone, it does not began that way. Based on assumptions and preconceived notions of how people are supposed to react to car accidents in Boston, hateful words are shared between these two strangers without a tangible reason. The narrator assumes that the old woman is a careless driver based on stereotypes created from inequalities conceived long ago. But once the narrator realizes her mistake, she begins to realize how silly her assumption was. These inequalities we construct lead to stereotypes that everyone believes and most of them can be traced back to fear.
As the narrator discovers that they “were scared” and the older woman simply nods in agreement, it become clearly obvious that our inequalities are formed from our fears. Fear that the black man will over take our plantation and kill us. Fear that we will lose our power. Fear that without the wall we will not get along. Father Klovenbach sees that “When the heart is touched by direct experiences, the mind may be challenged to change,” but what he does not see is that fears cannot always be so easily changed. In the case of the car accident, the mistake was easy to spot and forgive, but the process of education takes a lot longer when years of hatred have been passed down for generations and have been fueled by monetary wealth and prosperity. Fear and a lack of education is a lot harder to overcome when it means uprooting your entire lifestyle. Although we should never give up on our hope of abolishing inequalities in our world, it is a dream that may never truly be realized.