Blues Ain't No Mockingbird

by Toni Cade Bambara

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Discussion Topic

Granny's reaction to the men's intrusion from the county in "Blues Ain't No Mockingbird"

Summary:

Granny's reaction to the men's intrusion from the county in "Blues Ain't No Mockingbird" is one of anger and indignation. She feels disrespected and violated by their presumptuous behavior and unauthorized presence on her property, which disrupts the family’s peace and privacy.

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How did the men from the county offend Granny in "Blues Ain't No Mockingbird"?

Granny is offended by the men from the county in “Blues Ain’t No Mockingbird” by Toni Cade Bambara. The first mistake the men make is filming Granny’s property without her permission. They hid in the trees surrounding the property while filming as the children played in the yard and Granny worked on her Christmas cakes. When the men from the county entered the property, they continued to film and patronized Granny by calling her “Aunty.” They did not greet her, instead they spoke about the “nice things” on her property, which angered Granny.

“Nice things here,” said the man, buzzin his camera over the yard. The pecan barrels, the sled, me and Cathy, the flowers, the printed stones along the driveway, the trees, the twins, the toolshed.

“I don’t know about the thing, the it, and the stuff,” said

Granny, still talkin with her eyebrows. “Just people here is what I tend to consider."

Being an independent woman, she did not appreciate their arrogant intrusion into her private family life. They picked the wrong woman to speak about food stamps when it was evident from her property that she and her husband worked hard to provide for their family.

After the men backed away, Granny relayed a story to the children about how the press intruded on a suicide attempt she witnessed on a bridge. The cameramen were there, not only to record the incident, but to sensationalize it. This incident did not endear Granny to the press, and her disdain for their intrusion was displayed through her tacit treatment of the men from the county. 

Therefore, the men from the county angered Granny with their unauthorized presence on her property, their rudeness, and her previous encounter with cameramen during an intensely personal experience. 

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How does the men's intrusion from the county affect Granny in "Blues Ain't No Mockingbird"?

The intrusion onto the Cains' property is very disturbing to Granny because she values privacy and respect of ownership.

When Granny first spots the men, she tells her grandchildren,

"Go tell that man we ain't a bunch of trees....I said to tell that man to get away from here with that camera."

Then, by the time that the man with the camera cuts across the neighbor's yard into the Cains', Granny has already pushed open the screen door, cutting off the man's words with "Good mornin." When the other man, who smiles in a supercilious manner, asks her, "Mind if we shoot a bit around here?" Granny replies, "I do indeed," and she curtly requests that they turn off the camera.

The men back away. Turning to the children, Granny offers an example of how callous people with cameras can be. She tells the children that there once was a man in despair contemplating a fatal jump off of a bridge, and a man with a camera started to take pictures of him. In fact, he used nearly his entire roll of film, but saved a few in case the other man did jump.

After telling her grandchildren of the callousness of such a man who would take pictures of a suicide, Granny re-enters the house, and the children later hear her

...mumblin real low and grumpy and holdin her forehead like it wanted to fall off and mess up the rum cakes.

When her husband returns with a hawk he has caught as "Smilin and Camera" follow stealthily behind him, Granny calls out to Granddaddy Cain,

"Get them persons out of my flower bed, Mister Cain...."

Again she is moaning as though she were at a funeral because she suffers from the blues. Granny has suffered from these before, and even moved because people would not respect her and her privacy.

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