Blues Ain't No Mockingbird

by Toni Cade Bambara

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In "Blues Ain't No Mockingbird," what might have happened if Grandaddy Cain were not to have come home as he did?

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If Grandaddy Cain were to not have returned home, it is probable that the two men filming for the government would not have left the property for some time because they have ignored Granny's request and been disrespectful to her by calling her "Aunty," a term used to move her to a category of "doddering older-other."

After Granny has asked the cameraman to shut his machine off and he has not complied, she retreats into the house slamming the screen door. Once inside, she goes back to her making of cakes for Christmas. but the young narrator describes her as

...mumblin real low and grumpy and holdin her forehead like it wanted to fall off and mess up the rum cakes.

Further, the narrator explains that whenever similar incidents like this one have occurred in the past, Granny has become so disgruntled that

...she'd get up in the night and stant packin....wakin everybody up sayin, "Let's get on away from here before I kill me somebody."

So, if Grandaddy Cain were not to have returned, something drastic like moving would likely happen. Instead, after he does return and Granny asks her husband, "Get them persons out of my flower bed...." as she moans in a low tone, much as she does at funerals, he finishes what he is doing with the hawks. Then, he turns and says, "Good day, gentlemen," while also holding out his hand for the camera. Frightened, the men put the camera into that "great hand." Finally, Camera asks for his machine back, and adds, "Please, sir." But, Granddaddy strikes the camera as though he is cutting a melon and breaks it open; Camera desperately gathers up the broken parts. When Granddaddy calmly says, "This is our own place," the two men back away and hurry down to the meadow far from the Cain's place.

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