In Gilb’s “Pride” one can sense pride and humility. With his use of descriptive imagery of a corner in El Paso, Gilb sets up a positive connotation of pride. While there are many beneficial aspects to pride, there are also negatives. Pride, being one of the Seven Deadly Sins, obviously has thin line between humility and arrogance. At times the off-putting aspects will shine more than the positive. Gilb writes that there are many ways to gain a sense of pride, such as previous generations of family or even a future generation graduating from high school.
When one has a positive sense of pride, one feels a sense of confidence and ambition. “Pride is the deaf and blind confidence of the good people who are too poor but don’t notice” (384). The reader can obtain a sense of humility from this statement alone. What the writer means is that, even though one might be poor, he does not let it get to his heart. He still has pride in himself to be able to live their lives. The writer offers the example of a son’s high school graduation. The father, like any parent, is very proud of his child and his accomplishment.
He is about to shed a tear of pride, expressed as an “embarrassing sob” (385). He then holds back because of the pride in himself and the aspect of being a man. “He holds it back, and with his hands, hides his tears that do escape, wipes them with his fingers, because the chavalitos in his aisle are playing and laughing and they are so small and he is so big next to them” (385). The father lets his true emotion be hidden by the fact that he is trying to show his “strength” in front of young children instead of showing his pride for his son.
By hiding this sob, the father demonstrates a negative characteristic of pride. He is just too proud to show his true joy. Gilb also shows an undying gratitude toward his family. After all, it is his family that has showed him pride and he will pass it onto future generations, like his son. When he speaks of family Gilb uses the term “ones” many times. By using this, the reader can easily relate it to their own family. The writer speaks of the ancestors of his own family and any other family and their hardworking past and how that gave them pride.
The ancestors, as in any family, passes on their lessons and pride onto their future in hopes of continuing traditions. For Gilb, pride has made him who he is and is extremely important to him. Although negatives may well surpass the positives, pride is something one should never let go too far. The writer found his pride through his and his family’s hard work along with his community. It is a lesson to be learned to be able to take pride in oneself, their family, and community without going to the extent of becoming arrogant.