The Good Samaritan

Life Issues: The Good Samaritan



Conscience/ Standing up for what you believe in

Jess battles with his conscience right the way through The Good Samaritan. At the beginning of the episode he says that he fully supports the Civil Rights movement and it is obvious that he genuinely feels sorry for Lucy when she is turned away from the school.

However, something stops Jess from standing up for Lucy and acting upon what he truly believes in.

Why do you think Jess is reluctant to express his views on civil rights? Is it:

a. Because he secretly agrees with the Wild Ones’ attitudes
b. He wants to be part of the crowd
c. He is scared of the Wild Ones
d. He is preoccupied with thoughts of playing his slide guitar with John Lee Hooker

It could well be a combination of two answers – b and c.

The major factor keeping Jess quiet is peer group pressure. He feels scared to be seen as different and fears attracting negative attention from the Wild Ones. Somehow it seems easier to just go along with the crowd.

Many of us can understand Jess’ dilemma as we find ourselves in these situations all the time. It takes a huge amount of courage to stand up for what you believe in. Like Lucy says “somebody has to light the fire;” one person needs to actually act otherwise nothing will change.

If the friends that you keep are regularly putting you in a situation that you feel uncomfortable, I suppose you have to ask yourselves if they are true friends. You should feel free to express your individual opinions around your peers.

Annie and Lucy exemplify the ideal of standing up for what you believe in.


Annie befriends Lucy and offers her support in the face of much adversity and ridicule in the diner. She is prepared to risk losing face for what she believes is right.

Lucy, too, shows tremendous courage. She has dreams of a successful career and nothing, it seems, will stop her from achieving her ambitions.

It is worth thinking of a situation that we have found ourselves in when someone has gone ‘against the grain’ and spoken up for what they believe in. It may have even been you. What was the reaction of those around you?

At the end of the episode Jess is ‘caught’ with Lucy by the Wild Ones. They pursue him over the stream and through the woods. Jess asks the help of two white people, including his own school principal, but he is turned away. Both the principal and old lady are scared to stand up to the Wild Ones.

They probably would agree that Jess deserves what is coming to him. Ironically it is Lucy’s grandparents who take Jess in. This is despite the fact that Jess had been partly responsible for the destruction of Grandpa Joe’s stall earlier. It would have been so easy for Joe and Grandma to bear a grudge and to turn Jess away. Why should they help him? What had he done to help them?

Joe and Grandma show true forgiveness and integrity through this action. Like Lucy and Annie they are prepared to put their ‘money where their mouth is’ and make a stand. It is something definitely worth doing and something that will earn others’ respect very quickly.