What types of traits help Sarny and Lucy overcome their obstacles and reach their goals in "Sarny:  A Life Remembered"?

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Determination is the most obvious trait Sarny and Lucy exhibit in overcoming obstacles to reach their goals.  One of the first decisions Sarny makes once she is free is that she will take "no more abuse at the hands of white masters", and Lucy "(takes) to freedom right smart and (isn't) anybody going to step on it". 

In addition to their fierce resolve, both Sarny and Lucy are open-minded and willing to learn.  Sarny discovers that not all white people are bad, and Lucy learns to temper her tendency to be flirtatious and settles into a stable and productive relationship.  Because of their openness to new ideas, both women mature as the story progresses, and gain a better understanding of world in which blacks continue to inhabit a position of inequality.

Sarny in particular has a deep capacity for love.  Her desire to be reunited with her children drives her to search for them against great odds, and she is compelled to share her intelligence and passion for learning with others.  She starts a school to achieve this end, and, with characteristic tenacity rebuilds it time and again when it is destroyed by whites who want to keep the Negro down.  Sarny manages to promote the wonders of literacy and history long after her body "stops cooperating with her" because of age.  Her mind remains sharp to the end, and she continues to share her story through the narrative that is this book.

Read the study guide:
Sarny: A Life Remembered

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question