Steady Going

841 Words4 Pages
In general when we talk about what the rules are and if the character understands them, we need to ask ourselves, "what rules are we playing by?" We are playing by Jim Crow laws that were passed after the civil rights movement. These are the rules we are all suppose to abide by, or we are playing by the rules of life where white people still wanted to be segregated. By this I mean those rules and values that white people were supposed to follow as a way of life such as, the black man working hard, getting by with little sleep and with little money. Also working more than one job just to keep themselves in poverty. Even though times are changing these rules were still expected to prosper. However, we can see that Jim Crow laws are easier to change than people. We see black folks still sitting in the back of the bus and going into colored bathrooms and we see white folks still trying to keep the black folks separate from them. There are also morals and values that we all are expected to live by. These morals and values may force us into situations that we normally wouldn't have to deal with. Robert, a character in "Steady Going Up," by Maya Angelou, has a life changing experience due to these laws/rules that conflict with his family morals and values, and hard working attitude. "In Steady Going Up," a black man named Robert is playing with both the said and unsaid rules, rules of white people who don't want to change and black people who do things out of pure habit because they want the respect they deserve. The black men and women feel that if they play by the white mans laws to keep segregated, they will get some respect from the white men and women. In most cases this will not happen. Some of the Jim Crow laws that we are suppose to be playing by in this story are the integration laws and equal rights laws. Robert knew what these rules were but he really didn't want to live by them, just like all the black folks back then. On the other hand the black woman on the bus, who knew these Jim Crow laws as well, but the unsaid white laws were stronger. She was afraid to break these unsaid laws and cross that line, where Robert was not.
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