Blues Ain't No Mockingbird

by Toni Cade Bambara

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Why does Granny and her family move so much in Toni Cade Bambara's "Blues Ain't No Mockin' Bird"?

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In Toni Cade Bambara's "Blues Ain't No Mockin' Bird," the narrator explains why Granny moves around so much soon after Granny relays to the kids her story of the man being photographed who was about to jump off a bridge, a story she uses to explain that she feels photographing human suffering is a major infringement of human rights.

According to the narrator, people drive Granny crazy to the point she feels the need to "get up in the night and start packin'," saying, "Let's get on away from here before I kill me somebody." The narrator further explains in what way people drive Granny crazy by listing a few examples. For example, Mr. Judson drove Granny crazy when he brought her "boxes of old clothes and raggedy magazines," and Mrs. Cooper drove Granny crazy by coming into Granny's kitchen and complimenting her cleanliness. However, since the narrator is young and limited in understanding, the reader must draw inferences from these examples as to exactly why Granny feels driven crazy.

One inference the reader can draw is that all troubles in the story relate to racial discrimination. Therefore, the man in the story who was about to jump off the bridge may have been driven to do so in part due to racism. In addition, Granny was angered when she was brought discarded clothes by Mr. Judson because she understood he did so based on racial discrimination: based on the color of her skin, he had reached the conclusion that Granny was too poor to take care of her own, when in reality she works hard enough to get by. Furthermore, Granny was angered when Mrs. Cooper complimented the cleanliness of her kitchen because she knew Mrs. Cooper did so based on the assumption that people of Granny's class and race are not clean people. Hence, after drawing inferences, the reader is able to see that Granny is angered by racial discrimination and moves frequently in an effort to escape it.

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