Mrs. Bibbs, like most white characters in the novel, represents one facet of the oppressive society that confronts Richard from birth. In this case, she articulates the white assumption that blacks are inherently suited to menial labor. Therefore, when she hires Richard to do chores around her house, she is astounded to learn that Richard cannot milk a cow.
In the novel, Mr. Crane stands for the liberal whites who are well-meaning, but ultimately too weak to stand up to the prevailing racism of their society. Mr. Crane is a Yankee...
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