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Epilogue: A Jamaican Story

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Reyna DeLaCruz

on 15 April 2014

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Transcript of Epilogue: A Jamaican Story

Luck or Dedication?
"The outlier in the end is not an outlier at all."
This excerpt pointed to major civil strife in Jamaica as a possible contributor to his own current success. Gladwell describes the success of his own family as a series of lucky breaks that were not clearly designed to reach the current state. All the way from his great-great-great grandmother picking sugarcane in the plantations of Jamaica to his mother being a successful writer in Canada.

Gladwell's Journey To Success
Beginning with his great-great-great grandmother, a slave in Jamaica taken as a mistress by an Irishman named William Ford,

Gladwell traces his history down to his mother, Joyce Gladwell. She is a successful writer in Canada. Gladwell explains the outrageous events that had occured leading his family into the path of success.
Epilogue: A Jamaican Story
He writes, “My great-great-great grandmother was bought at Alligator Pond. That act, in turn, gave her son, John Ford, the privilege of a skin color that spared him a life of slavery … and my mother’s education was the product of the riots of 1937 and industriousness of
Mr. Chance. These were history’s gifts to my family -- and if the resources of that grocer, the fruits of those riots, the possibilities of that culture, and the privileges of that skin tone had been extended to others, how many more would now live a life of fulfillment, in a beautiful house high on a hill."
out•li•er (noun)

1: something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body

2:a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample
So, is success brought forth by luck or dedication? Gladwell explains that his fate had relied on a white man who had raped his great-great-great grandmother repeatedly, causing her to have a son with a skin color light enough for him to avoid slavery. The riots based on racism in Jamaica allowed his mother to pursue her aspirations of education. The courtesy of Mr.Chance lending her money for the university had helped shape the success in the family.Was it luck or was it a dedication to something that allowed the Gladwell family to succeed. If others had those privileges, would they be living in a house high on a hill?
What does Gladwell mean when he says this? In the end, he who is labeled as an outlier, is not alone. Throughout the journey of life, there will always be another person ostracized by society such as himself.

“Their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky – but all critical to making them who they are. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.”
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