How did discrimination affect Southern Blacks in the 1950s -- characterize the lives of Moody's family and acquaintances? In what ways did her life change once she left home for the big city and...

How did discrimination affect Southern Blacks in the 1950s -- characterize the lives of Moody's family and acquaintances? In what ways did her life change once she left home for the big city and then college?

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chloemink eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As an adolescent, Anne becomes deeply aware of the hypocrisies and racism in which she has been living and awakens with horror to discover the ways in which these phenomena have been disguised or hidden from her by both whites and blacks. She not only becomes aware, but she begins to form her own angry opinions about the situation, concluding that she must leave Centreville and take action to make changes. Centreville’s black residents, she has come to believe, are too passive about the events they’re observing.

In addition to forming opinions about what is happening in Centreville, she also concludes she needs to see what is happening beyond the boundaries of her own city. Her travels further cement her belief that her own life at school and in her immediate family is lacking, and compounds her feelings that the black community in Centreville is dangerously passive about its plight. This attitude further proves to her that her philosophical difference with her hometown will take her away.

While in college Anne receives a letter from Mama discouraging her participation in civil rights activities. Instead of making Anne change her mind, though, the letter makes Anne angry and strengthens her convictions about the significance of her work. Anne realizes that her priorities have changed in fundamental ways, and she realizes how insulting her family’s lack of support is to her.

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Coming of Age in Mississippi

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