Coming of Age in Mississippi is the amazing story of Anne Moody's unbreakable spirit and character throughout the first twenty-three years of her life. Time and time again she speaks of unthinkable odds and conditions and how she manages to keep excelling in her aspirations, yet she ends the book with a tone of hesitation, fear, and skepticism. While she continually fought the tide of society and her elders, suddenly in the end she is speaking as if it all may have been for not. It doesn?t take a literary genius nor a psychology major to figure out why. With all that was stacked against her cause, time and time again, it is easy to see why she would doubt the future of the civil rights movement in 1964 as she rode that Greyhound bus to Washington once again. The events that had occurred to her up to the point of the end of the book could clearly have disheartened anyone.
Throughout the novel Moody shows displeasure with her family and fellow black citizens for simply accepting the circumstances and the position in which they lived. Multiple times she refers to the elder blacks as brainwashed by Mr. Charlie, referring to the white plantation owners. She condemns how anytime something clearly unacceptable happens, the black community hushes itself and moves along about their business. This is evident even when she is fourteen years old and just entering high school. Upon the murder of Emmett Till, she questions why was he murdered and what was going to be done about it. Her mother responds to her questions with hostility, and this upsets her more. She wonders why she should remain quite about the incident, pretending she doesn?t know. After learning that Emmett was murdered because he got out of line with a white woman, she questions this rationale. Does that make it OK to murder him? How were his actions any different from how young white men treated black women? To ask these questions at this point in time were unthinkable to her mother and most anyone else she associated with. She was just a young black girl and should keep her concerns to herself. Moody clearly portrays herself as someone unwilling to accept society in its condition from a very early age, which obviously foreshadows her involvement in the activist?s community.
I would argue that the mentality of African-Americans to...
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...ndmother would not let her in her house for fear that she might cause trouble! At her mother?s birthday party no one would really speak with her, afraid of what she might say. While her sister and younger brother still respected her, to be shunned by the majority of ones own family would have to be a very traumatic experience.
Seriously, how much can one person take on a mission and constantly have little or no success and maintain a positive outlook? Throughout the reading I was amazed and impressed with Moody?s determination and drive. I am thankful that I was not placed in her shoes, because I am not sure that I could have maintained her level of courage or optimism. I feel she has the right to be somewhat questionable towards the end of the book, if not for her own experiences, to encourage anyone who reads her book to never give up on one?s own dreams. With all her doubts, look at all that has been accomplished in the area of civil rights, and what might never have been if not for people like Anne Moody.
Moody, Anne. ?Coming of Age in Mississippi.?Literary Cavalcade Apr. 2001 : 31-33. Proquest Kamiakin Library, Kennewick, Wa. 10 May 2001.
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