Why is "Blues Ain't No Mockingbird" entitled what it is called?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The conflict of Toni Cade Bambara's "Blues Ain't No Mockingbird" is a conflict of race and representation.  When the men arrive on Granny's property they take the liberty of filming the house without even speaking to her or asking permission.  While the filmakers see Granny's house as "typical," and her and the children as just some of many poor black rural folks--they call her the stereotypical "aunty--, Granny feels that she is an individual as well as the members of her family.

The callous attitude of the camermen reminds Granny of the poignant story of a young man who once considered jumping off a bridge:

"So here comes...this person...with a camera,.... takin pictures of the man in his misery about to jump, cause life so bad and people been messin with him so bad.  This person takin up the whole roll of film practically.  But savin a few, of course."

The man's misery--his blues--are treated callously by the cameraman; he makes a mockery of this man's desperate decision to take his life.  But, this man's blues should not be made a mockery because the "blues ain't no mockingbird"--feelings are not to be mocked.  Likewise, Granny and her family are not to be treated as some "typical" case without consideration for their family.

 

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Blues Ain't No Mockingbird

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