“In the long run, baby, you’re on your own…”, Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt, the famous author of the popular Angela’s Ashes, wrote an entertaining memoir of his time as a High School teacher in New York. Towards the end of the book McCourt writes that he is still learning and in this context he mentions Krishnamurti: “I’m reading a man named Krishnamurti and what I like about him is that he doesn’t hold himself up as a guru. […] He refuses to be a guru or wise man or anything else. He tells you, suggests, that in the long run, baby, you’re on your own.”

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Inspired by Krishnamurti, he then asks students to read Thoreau’s “chilling” essay “Walking”. They discuss whether they could ever walk out the door in total freedom like Thoreau suggests. Students say, “Oh, no, they could never do that.” He continues, “When I talk to those kids I’m talking to myself. What we have in common is urgency.”

“Teacher Man” was published in 2005 by Scribner. Quotes from page 243.

 

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