Coming of Age in Mississippi

by Anne Moody

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 What roles does violence play in Moody's life and in the lives of African Americans in Mississippi? What are some examples of this in the book? What would be good examples for an essay?

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Violence and the threat of violence plays a pivotal role in Moody's life.  Even before she experienced violence first-hand, she understood the possible threat of danger from being too bold or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.  While Anne feels frustration that her family and other blacks just seem to accept injustice, she also understands the fear of possible backlash against those who might question or complain.   When Moody learns of the lynching of Emmett Till, this fear is realized, "the fear of being killed just because I was black."

Violence hardens Anne when she encounters it first-hand at the sit-ins at the white lunch counters.  She evolves from being the quiet girl mistreated by her cruel, white employer to a strong leader, unwilling to back down.  Her experiences with violence challenge her and only make her that much stronger and more resolved to make her voice known.

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