“A Father” by Bharati Mukherjee, “Serving up Hope” by Stephanie Shapiro, “Directions for Resisting the SAT” by Richard Hague, “First Practice” by Gary Gildner; each of these pieces have one thing in common: they all focus on expectations.
“A Father” by Bharati Mukherjee concentrates on the life of a traditional Indian man and the expectations he has for his daughter; while she excels at these expectations in her career, and is self-sufficient, she utterly fails his expectations socially. She is unattractive and rude, and though she wants a baby, she cannot find a father, so she obtains a sperm donation in order to get pregnant. This violates her father’s expectations of her future in regards to a family, and it ends violently for his daughter and her insolence concerning his expectations.
“Serving Up Hope” by Stephanie Shapiro details the restaurant in Baltimore that provides jobs for recovering drug addicts that are trying to get back on their feet. The couple that runs it defy society’s expectations to treat addicts like pariahs, turning down the idea that they are unfit to even share a street with and allowing them to do something as intimate as preparing food for people every day.
“Directions for Resisting the SAT” by Richard Hague is an instructive poem on how to, again, turn down society’s expectations to treat the SAT as the most important thing in the world, and rather, not prepare for it. This is an interesting concept, as one of the most common expectations of the general public is to do well in life, the root of which is hinted at being high SAT scores.
“First Practice” by Gary Gildner depicts the first practice with a new coach, during which the coach forms expectations of each player. The first practice is where first impressions are made, and those are the impressions that form the basis for the rest of the entire season.