Change go through major life stressors. Frances

Change is a natural process of life. It is part of the human condition to live and learn through cause and effect. It is something we are all familiar with, therefore many authors outline this theme in their stories through their character’s emotions. Such emotions include pride, anger, and shame, and are a common staple among stories with characters that go through major life stressors. Frances Lefkowitz is an author from San Francisco who writes about shame from poverty. While writing about her life story in “The Gifted Classes,” she learns a valuable lesson that changes her life forever, while inspiring many readers across the country. Lefkowitz’s efforts of hiding her economic status from her classmates reflects her feelings towards her hard-working mother. This can be seen with her interactions with the Jewish girl and her family, the “gifted” students walking down her street, and the college tennis player.
Lefkowitz’s efforts of hiding her economic status from the Jewish girl and her family reflects her feelings towards her hard-working mother. After attending her “gifted classes” during junior high, Lefkowitz befriends a kind Jewish girl who invites her to her home, but the parents become worried about her staying and have her call her mother. “I pretend to call my number and, speaking to the dial tone in the refined way in which my friend speaks to her mother, ask for permission to stay for dinner” (Lefkowitz, p. 13). She is attempting to hide her economic status by withdrawing herself from the possibility of her mother’s care. By pretending to speak to her on the phone, Lefkowitz is doing everything she can to prevent her friend and friend’s family to figure-out where she lives. As a last resort, she even offers to take the dangerous forty-five minute night-stroll to her house. Nobody, especially mothers, would ever allow their young children to put themselves at risk like that. Nonetheless, the Jewish girl and her family never figure-out Lefkowitz’s economic status. Her successful efforts at preserving this disguise reflects her feelings towards her mother and poverty. Her internal dialogue with herself during this situation outlines these particular feelings. “First, there are no parents, just a mom. Second, Mom’s not home — she’s either at class or at work. Also, there’s no dinner waiting on the table” (Lefkowitz, p. 12). Lefkowitz feels as-if her mother is not doing much to take care of her, but in reality, she works very hard to put a roof over her daughter’s head. This makes her immaturity towards the whole situation really shine through. As a young girl visiting a middle-class home, she notices the polite manners and unfamiliar social cues which exposed her insecurity. This insecurity was created while attended classes with financially-poor students, before she was transferred to the “gifted classes.” It was during this time in her life where she first witnessed the unfair effects of poverty and race, particularly with the role it had in shaping identity. To her, if you had money and were white, you went to the “gifted classes,” and if you did not have money or were not white, you went to the regular ones. It is understandable why Lefkowitz would think this way since problems like these have existed and affected children throughout modern history. This negative feeling of shame projected towards her mother comes from Lefkowitz successfully hiding her economic status from the Jewish girl and her family.
Lefkowitz’s efforts of hiding her economic status from the “gifted” students walking down her street reflects her feelings towards her hard-working mother. On her thirteenth birthday, Lefkowitz went home sick from school, but her classmates decided to pay her a visit and surprise her. “I had sixty, maybe ninety seconds to get the house looking clean and somewhat respectable before they figured out which door was mine” (Lefkowitz, p. 17). Lefkowitz is attempting to hide her economic status by taking matters into her own hands to fix a situation she has no control over. She still feels shame about her economic standing, but the difference between this situation and the last is the time gap. In the last example, Leftowitz was still very young and innocent and had no need to try and fit-in. This time, she is at an age where she seeks to find her identity, so naturally, she takes-on and preserves the most ideal image of herself. To her, it is the idea of being rich. By associating herself with the kids who cut class, do drugs, and shoplift, she finally finds herself. Her need to fit-in with he “gifted students” made her unsuccessful in hiding her economic status. Although some may say that Frances continued feeling shame regarding her economic standing, others who analyzed her entailing mindset would disagree and say she felt something else. After eight grade, Lefkowitz decided to channel her energy into making some money for college. “By day, I went to school and tried to pass as gifted, but by night the shame turned into anger: anger at my mother, at the flat we lived in” (Lefkowitz, p. 23). Lefkowitz’s first unsuccessful attempt at hiding her economic status had brought her a change of heart. Just like her mother working very hard to give her daughter a bed to sleep on, Lefkowitz did the same and took matters into her own hands by attempting to pull herself from the shackles of poverty. She received her first job as a telemarketer to gain useful experience and finally became structurally-integral to the workforce of society. In terms of education, she finally began to apply herself to win awards and get accepted into an Ivy league school for her scholarly efforts. Despite her mother doing everything she can to keep them both in a home, Lefkowitz’s anger towards poverty and her mother progressed. Through her unsuccessfully hiding her economic status from the “gifted” students, Lefkowitz channels her feeling of anger towards her mother into ambition.
Lefkowitz’s efforts of hiding her economic status from the college tennis player reflects her feelings towards her hard-working mother. The summer after her freshman year of college, Lefkowitz got a call from one of her roommate’s boyfriends, asking her if he could temporarily stay with her and her mom during a job relocation. “My first instinct was to stall him, come up with some excuse — the house is being remodeled, or a film crew is visiting from LA and all the bedrooms are full” (Lefkowitz, p. 31). She is attempting to hide her economic status through more-clever excuses. The shame of poverty became relevant to her even through her college years. For so long, she felt as if her past was disallowing her from reaching her fullest potential, from being proud of her home and of her mother. She was seeking an answer to her problems but it was there all-along. She decided to look-back at the times in her past when she had the power to dream and shape her reality. Back when she was a child, economic status meant nothing to her. It took her a while but she finally understood that economic status was merely a disguise. She was unsuccessful in hiding her economic status from the college tennis player, but she successfully disbanded the economic status disguise that has plagued her whole life. Her unsuccessful efforts at preserving this disguise reflects her feelings toward her mother and poverty. Her epiphany came to her once she picked-up the boy from the airport. “I couldn’t wait to stuff all that shame into his winning and benevolent smile and cram it down his throat. Welcome to my world, I thought, as I opened the door and let him in” (Lefkowitz, p. 34).
At the climax, Lefkowitz attempts to prove herself wrong. As a child, she was tormented by her own beliefs of not being good enough because of poverty. With all the hard work her mother has put-in to raising her daughter, she has nothing to be ashamed of with her economic status. No matter who it is, the mother does not care about what others think about her. Lefkowitz develops this same feeling of pride, but towards her mother. Through her interactions with the college tennis player, Lefkowitz is channeling her feeling of pride towards her mother to successfully disband the economic status disguise that has plagued her whole life.
In her story “The Gifted Classes,” Frances Lefkowitz’s efforts of hiding her economic status from the students reflects her feelings towards her hard-working mother. This can be seen with her interactions with the Jewish girl and her family, the “gifted” students walking down her street, and the college tennis player. By interacting with the Jewish girl and her family, Lefkowitz channels her feeling of shame towards her mother to successfully hide her economic status. 
Through her interactions with the “gifted” students, Lefkowitz channels her feeling of anger towards her mother, which leads her to unsuccessfully hide her economic status. Finally, while in college, Lefkowitz interacting with the tennis player during summer vacation channels her feeling of pride towards her mother to successfully disband the economic status disguise that has plagued her whole life. She is an author from San Francisco who writes about shame from poverty. While writing about her life story in “The Gifted Classes,” she learns a valuable lesson that changes her life forever. She learns that change is a natural process of life. By her changing how she views her past and her own mother, she changes the view of herself. She learns that reinforcing negative feelings can be a good thing, especially if the bad energy of shame and anger can turn into vengeful pride. Take pride in your past and it will shape you.