Your Blues Ain't Like Mine

by Bebe Moore

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Floyd and Clayton's lives are similar by what facts?

Floyd's and Clayton's lives are similar by the fact that their characters have been formed by their fathers. Floyd thinks it acceptable to beat his wife largely on account of the warped vision of manhood handed down to him by his father. As for Clayton, he cannot completely break free from his father's domination. Though he has different values to his father, he isn't strong enough to assert himself against him and live his own life.

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Both Floyd Cox and Clayton Pinochet remain, to a considerable extent, in their respective fathers's shadows. Floyd was brought up in a poor Southern family, with a father who followed a very traditional ideal of masculinity. Among other things, this leads to Floyd developing certain ideas about women that are positively retrograde.

In his macho world, men are firmly in charge and have the right to treat women as they please. This means that Floyd has no compunction about subjecting his wife Lily to a terrifying regime of domestic violence. It also means that he's quick to take offense when he feels that his manhood is being impugned.

Clayton Pinochet also finds it hard to escape from underneath his father's thumb. Though he himself is mercifully free from his old man's vicious racial prejudices, he still finds himself unable to escape his domineering control.

Though Clayton's value system may be completely different from that of his white supremacist father, he ultimately lacks the strength to be able to stand up to him, to be his own man. This weakness is picked up by his black mistress, who refuses Clayton's offer of marriage as she knows he won't be able to break free from his racist father's dominating influence.

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