Conroy has had issues with Principal and co-teacher Mrs. Brown from the beginning of the book, but in Chapter 7 he explores their relationship in greater detail. Mrs. Brown is a black woman with an amazing sense of humor, but Conroy is in constant conflict with her insistence on sticking with a curriculum that does not work and her disciplinary tactics of using the strap to regularly beat the children into submission. Conroy realizes that the children harbor a deep hatred for the woman, not so much because she beats them, but because she belittles and humiliates them. Mrs. Brown is an enigma who wants desperately to please her white employers and despises the Negro population on Yamacraw, whom she considers to be "some of the meanest, dirtiest people in the world" (Chapter 7). Her relationship with the island people is so bad that she keeps a gun close at hand to protect herself from the threat she believes they represent to her.