Race And Social Themes In Separate Pasts By Mclaurin

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Separate Pasts is a novel that has won many awards that takes a look into America in the 1950s. The 1950s is a well-known time for racism in America. McLaurin explores the relationships he had with his white peers as well as his African American peers during his upbringing in the small, one mile long southern town in Wade, North Carolina. The theme of relationships between whites and blacks appears throughout the book. The relationships talked about are not only between McLaurin and his peers, but also between his grandfather and the citizens of the town. These relationships talked about throughout the book prove that the town of Wade, and the south in general, was in a segregated state based on race and social economic status.
One of the first relationships that McLaurin describes is the relationship between him and his friend Bobo. McLaurin struggled to deal with leaving his boyhood behind and coming into manhood in dealing with the African Americans in the town. When he was young he paid no attention to race of the children in the neighborhood. Children are often very unaware of the social issues going on around them because children are innocent and then when they start growing up they begin to become aware of what is happening. McLaurin was playing a game of basketball with the black and white children in the neighborhood and needed to air up the ball at his grandfather’s store. McLaurin and a couple of his black peers, including his friend Bobo, went to the store and McLaurin became frustrated with Bobo after he failed to air up the ball with enough air after he already put the needle in his mouth to get it into the ball. McLaurin then placed the same needle into his mouth and immediately was overcome with emotion. This ev...

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...e views of his elders pushed down him made it a struggle growing up in the small town.
Overall, the novel Separate Pasts tells the story of a young white man growing up in a small, southern, segregated town. McLaurin is confused during his youth as to why whites were seen as superior, and if there was any truth behind that. With the development of relationships throughout the novel he begins to see that there is no real reason why there is segregation, but there is segregation nonetheless. McLaurin paints a vibrant picture of the way the segregated south was in 1950s. There is no denying the segregation in the south and McLaurin’s novel gives an inside view of the way of life. It seems McLaurin had a more progressive way of thinking because he did not want to be viewed as a superior to blacks. The novel gives true insight on the racism and segregation of the past.

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