In "Blues Ain't No Mockingbird," what do the men fail to understand about the family

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The two men who come to make a film for the Food Stamp Program failed to understand the pride of the family.

When the men the young narrator refers to as Smilin and camera man move from the meadow into the front yard where the children are playing, Granny comes out, resentful of their having trespassed upon her property. When camera man comments on the "nice things," he is given this reply:

“I don’t know about the thing, the it, and the stuff,” said Granny, still talkin with her eyebrows. “Just people here is what I tend to consider.”

Then the other man appears, saying "Good morning." He addresses Granny as "aunty", a named used in the Jim Crow South to refer to an older woman. When this word aunty is used to address Granny, she feels insulted by Camera man.

“Now, aunty,” Camera said, pointin the thing straight at her. “Your mama and I are not related.”

Clearly, Granny resents the depersonalizing of herself with the use of a word from the Jim Crow era by Camera man and Smiley. When the men do not depart, this further act of rudeness is insulting. She makes it clear that the lives of her family should not be publicized simply because they are poor.

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