Free «Coming of Age in Mississippi» Essay Sample

Anne Moody is an African-American writer famous for her detailed autobiographical book Coming of Age in Mississippi. She was born in a poor family and after parents’ divorced used to work a lot for “white people”. Being only a teenager, she is involved in civil rights movement. Not fully grown-up, she realizes that “white people” have superiority and something just should be done about it. According to autobiographical data written by Carrie Starks,

“In 1968 she wrote her autobiography Coming of Age in Mississippi, an articulate and moving account of the often frustrating struggle of growing up black in the south. She clearly recalls the succession of shacks in which her family lived and the hunger, the white prejudice, the black apathy, and the beginning of racism.”

Throughout the whole text Anne Moody highlights her points of view with the help of parallel structures. The whole thesis is built on a “road-and-pavement” statement. This combination of words may sound hilarious, but this so-called “term” precisely characterizes it. There are constantly two lines to be seen, one of which is usually wider (as the road): “white people” against “black”, the wealthy and the poor, understanding and misunderstanding, biases and reasoning. This list may be endless because of the presence of diverse inner and outer conflicts in the book, which the writer is intended to solve. Nevertheless, the central position in thesis takes racism with all its effects in society. The author tries to show her personal opinions about the problem as well as depicts her own understanding of its solution.



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There are some marked dissimilarities between ordinary literary works and Anne Moody’s autobiography. In most cases the development of a thesis is primary seen in the middle of the narration. On the contrary, the progress in Coming of Age in Mississippi can be seen from the very first pages. The conflict is introduced when Moody has to work to help her family financially and “triggers” the action. Every part of the book is the next point of the life of Anne. Portrayal of school years, college etc. is a succession of components which are placed in accordance with real time. The sequence of book is realized with the help of consecution of facts starting from the childhood up to the adulthood. Moreover, there are no time and spatial gaps in the narration, so that it makes easier for a thesis to be realized.

While analyzing the nature of documentation, personal narration should be highlighted. The author depicts everything from her point of view while being a narrator. Moreover, mostly primary sources were utilized. Generally, this is explained by inevitable fact – this is an autobiographical book and, therefore, primary sources are widely used. Moreover, there are examples of citation of other works. One of them is when Anne listens to the speech “I have a dream” and evaluates its value, thinking that it is embarrassing of people just “have a dream” but do nothing to achieve it.

Indisputably, Anne Moody has made a great contribution into highlighting the real problem, about which many people were even afraid to speak about. The value of the book can be again seen from two perspectives – the general and personal. From the general point of view, the publishing of the book made many people just “stand up and applaud”. Not all people can explain the problem so vividly, that persuasive effect is reached when you read only the first pages. The language is full of details, dramatic intensifications, which makes a reader feel everything on their own: “Daddy must have beaten me a good ten minutes before Mama realized he had lost his senses and came to rescue me”. Therefore, it is just enough to mention that the book has a great value. The book is more than something valuable. It makes every reader think and evaluate. It is not just a light reading. This is actually the point, when the author persuades us to critically analyze the problem, which, to some extent, may be not solved at all. It should also be mentioned, that the writer won several awards for the book and it is included in school as well as university reading. Therefore, the book has its importance till now just because it is still widely readable now.

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Obviously, as it was already mentioned, the book has a particular kind of influence on everybody because of depiction of universal problems. From my personal point of view, the portrayal of problem-solving process is very compelling and even stunning. At one point, there are so many problems: financial, racial etc, but Anne wants to depict herself as a strong-motivated person, who does not need sympathy. She just tries to prove her standpoints and does not want to accept things as they are. The usual “flow of life” is not acceptable for her and from now on it is very interesting to see how a person tries to change the world with its unreasonable prejudices. That is why, the text has a great influence on me. The writer paid attention to the every detail and meticulously outlined it. Such detailing brings nothing but frustration and acute disappointment, for instance, after reading such kind of words: “known the fear of hunger, hell, and the Devil. But now there was…the fear of being killed just because I was black.” Therefore, the writer’s primary focus - to persuade that the society is reluctant to changes is definitely achieved and due to this catches its blaze of publicity.


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