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merehughes eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the entire novel, the young boy is confronted by the harsh realities of a black boy growing up in the south. Jim Crow laws affected him in several ways.

Firstly, he sees the men and women in his family and community being forced to humiliate themselves in front of whites as a result of the discriminatory Jim Crow laws. He also learns that this behavior is not something he or anyone can easily escape. He becomes aware of the patterns that are set up for every black boy in the south as a result of Jim Crow Laws. As he grows up and realizes he is different and his inability to be subservient causes him to defy the traditional ways of behavior that the black community was forced to adopt as a result of living with Jim Crow laws.

Finally, his 'fate' is sealed as it becomes clear that in order for him to live and become a writer, he must leave the south and move north to Chicago where, while racism also existed there, it was not as extreme as in the south. He is also motivated by the idea that if he can become successful in the north then he has somehow gotten revenge on the system in the south of discrimination which was set up to destroy him and keep him in his place.

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