What is the author's purpose for writing this story?  "Blues Ain't No Mockin Bird" by Toni Bambara

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Published in 1971, like many of Bambara's narratives, this story reflects issues that are relevant to the African-American culture.  At the time of her writing, the Black Power Movement was growing stronger.  Among other things, this movement promulgated the importance of self-definition and pride.  Bambara joined the cause of expressing this awareness of a unique African-American culture and traditional oral expression. 

Bambara's depiction of Granny and her courageous resistance to the photographers' efforts to patronize her--when they call her "aunty," she replies, "Your mama and I are not related"--as well as their efforts to exploit her family by taking pictures of them as though they are curiosities are thematic of both black pride and self-definition as well as the assertion of the power of the female. In addition, the narrator Cathy's astute understanding of the conflict in the events establishes her as not only a strong female, but also as an effective storyteller.  Thus, "Blues Ain't No Mockin Bird" underscores the independence and pride of the African-American, male and female, and it also places an emphasis upon the importance of storytelling as a tradition.

 

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