Monday, April 15, 2013

Chapter Summaries, Part 2 of 4, Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody

Book Summary

The book is divided into four parts:
1) Childhood
2) High School
3) College
4) The Movement

Below are the most important events in each of these four parts of the novel and how they affect Anne Moody and her coming of age. 

Part Two: High School

Chapter 11

One HUGE event which effects Essie Mae, whose name is now changed to Anne, is the murder of a young boy, Emmitt Till. Emmitt Till was 14 and was visiting Mississippi from Chicago. He allegedly whistled at a white woman and was killed by white men. Anne is really bothered by this issue and can't sleep or work for days.  

Chapter 12

Anne overhears her employer, Mrs. Burke, speak about the NAACP with her "Guild" (her group of white-supremicist friends). Anne asks her mother what NAACP is and her mother told her she shouldn't know, so she asks her teacher, Mrs. Rice. Mrs. Rice tells her what it is and helps her develop an understanding of black/white America. Later, Mrs. Rice is fired. Mrs. Rice was the first guiding light for Anne to the Movement. 

Chapter 13

Other unfair black/white incidents: Bess and Mr. Fox, Jerry and the operator woman, the Taplin family house burnt down, Benty and Rosetta. All these incidents show how interracial relationships lead to violence. 

Chapter 14

Anne tutors Mrs. Burke's son, Wayne, and Wayne's friends in algebra. Wayne starts to have a crush on Anne and Mrs. Burke is furious. Anne eventually quits because Mrs. Burke was making life difficult for her. An equal relationship between a black female and a white male was virtually impossible. 

Chapter 15

In order to keep herself from going crazy with all these terrible things happening around her, Anne busies herself with doing lots of extra-curricular activities at school: basketball, tumbling, piano, working for white ladies. She is very smart, gets straight A's, and does very well in school. Anne shows herself to be a girl of immense potential. 

Chapter 16

The Principle of her high school, Principle Willis is an Uncle Tom. Samuel O'Quinn, a black empowerment activist and NAACP member was trying to secretly organize a meeting in Centreville, and Principle Willis tattled on him. Samuel O'Quinn was shot by white men. Anne develops an intense hatred Principle Willis and "Uncle Toms" like him. 

Chapter 17

Over the summer, Anne goes to New Orleans to live with her Uncle Ed in hopes of finding a high-paying job as a waitress. She finds that a good job is hard to come by. At first, she is ripped off of two-weeks worth of work by Mrs. Jetson, a poor white lady. Then she goes and works as a scab worker at a slaughterhouse of chickens. She is sickened so much by this experience that she doesn't eat chickens for years after. She also goes back to school feeling more mature than the other kids because of what she had to go through and what she understands of the world after working behind the picket fence. The next summer (summer of sophomore year) she goes back and scab workers were no longer needed, but she finds a job with Grandma Winnie in a restaurant. She is a gorgeous girl and all the boys find her very attractive. She is promoted from dishwashing, to busgirl, eventually to a waitress, and she learns about every aspect of the restaurant business from cooking to managing money – another leadership skill for her. She also meets among her coworkers Lola and Lily White, two gay men who she befriends. Lily White is a queer strip club dancer. Lola teaches her to dress nicely and accentuate her body. 

Chapter 18

Everyone is attracted to Essie Mae when she comes back home from New Orleans, including her basketball coach, Mr. Hicks, and her stepfather, Raymond. Essie Mae gets especially pissed off at Raymond one day for being a horny, lazy ass, and blows a fuse. She threatens to kill him with a piece of glass. Then she runs away from home and gets the racist sheriff, Cassidy, to pick up her clothes from Raymond and her mother's house. She moves away to her Daddy's house.  

Chapter 19

Daddy's new wife, Emma, is a strong woman whom Anne learns to love. She goes with Emma to dinner with Emma's family. Emma is full of energy and warmth. Unlike Raymond, Emma stands up to her "yellow" family and makes her family love Anne's Daddy. Emma's brother-in-law Wilbert gets in a huge fight with his wife over financial issues and threatens to kill his wife. Emma gets in the way and as a result has her foot shot off by Wilbert.

Daddy carries Emma to the truck with a "supernatural force" and the reader knows that Daddy really loves Emma. Emma is good-natured in the hospital. She did not blame Wilbert for her injury but "put the blame where it belonged," on the white people and the American society which make life so difficult for Wilbert and his family.

1) Childhood
2) High School
3) College
4) The Movement

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