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What are the most important events in the book Coming of Age in Mississippi?

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torrie | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2007 at 4:35 PM via web

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What are the most important events in the book Coming of Age in Mississippi?

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 14, 2007 at 12:27 AM (Answer #1)

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The book is divided into four parts that reflect the life of Anne Moody. Part One is about her childhood growing up near the town of Centreville, Mississippi. Her dad leaves the family, and her mom struggles to support them. Her mom remarries Raymond. Anne is an excellent student in school and starts playing basketball.

Part Two deals with Anne's high school years. This is when Anne realizes how severe the racial problems and violence are in Mississippi. She first experiences fear she'll be killed. Anne focuses on her studies and work. In her last year, her step-father, Raymond, shows his desire for Anne sexually, so she goes to live with her father and his wife.

Part Three is her college years. She goes to a two-year junior college on a basketball scholarship. She leads a boycott of the school cafeteria, her first act of political activism. She then goes to Tugaloo College and joins the NAACP. She helps register African-Americans to vote.

Part Four deals with the Civil Rights Movement. Anne is one of the students who stage a sit-in at Woolworth's lunch counter. Anne becomes more involved in the movement, attending the March on Washington, D.C. in 1963. She learns she is a target of the Ku Klux Klan. At the end, she joins a group going to Washington, D.C. to testify before Congress.

These are very general events of the book. Please read the book because it is very much worth it. For more in-depth information, go to the link below.

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janeyb | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted May 14, 2007 at 12:33 AM (Answer #2)

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There are many important events in the book Coming of Age in Mississippi. I think the best way to look for important events is to consider the themes in the novel, and then the events that highlighted them. Take racism, for example. Clearly, racism is an important theme in the novel, so you know that the events surrounding the theme are important for the novel as well. For example, under the theme of racism Anne almost turns down the scholarship to Tugaloo because she hears that all the other students are mulattos and fears that they will mistreat her. This also leads to Anne joining the civil rights movement, one of her most important actions.
ANother theme is the theme of poverty. Anne and her family are very poor, so poor, that even though anne is prom queen she almost doesn't go to the dance because she cannot afford a dress, that leads to Anne, with her first paycheck, buys school clothes and supplies for two girls who are unable to attend school without these necessities. She sees in these girls echoes of her own life. This is an important event.
FInally, one last theme is family. Moody's relationship with her family is not a good one, in fact, her relationship with her stepfather caused her to leave home when she was still in high school, clearly an important event.
If you look at the themes, it should help you develop even more important events throughout the novel.

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