On the Edge of a Bank: Contemplating Other Models by Which to Live


  • Michelle S Hite Spelman College


Quiet, Attentiveness, Identity, Other Models


This essay examines quiet, introspection, and reflection as markers identifying aspects of living well. Drawing on the work of Toni Morrison, Natasha Trethewey, and Kevin Quashie among others, "On the Edge of a Bank" offers examples both actual and fictive that can be used in classrooms to provide substantive models for reflecting on the range of complex and interesting choices people have made regarding how they want to live and find satisfaction in doing so. While mostly narrative, two questions drive the interrogation: 1.) What are the risks of living quietly? 2.) Why does becoming enlivened by the pleasure's of one's own company appear threatening to others?

Author Biography

Michelle S Hite, Spelman College

MICHELLE S. HITE is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Spelman College. She is currently working on a manuscript exploring “other models by which to live” as articulated through the daily lives of mostly working-class African Americans since the mid-twentieth century. She serves on the South-View Cemetery Historic Foundation Board. She also works as a researcher for Atlanta’s Families First. 


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