Any normal grandmother would visit you with open arms, chocolate chip cookies, and comment on how amazing you look. However, in Mare’s War, by Tanita Davis, Mare is not your average grandma (unless you consider normal grandmas to wear auburn wigs, stiletto heels, and padded push up bras). Therefore, Mares granddaughters, Octavia and Tali, are dreading to accompany their 80 year old grandmother on a road trip across the country. As the three travel further into their journey, they begin to build a closer relationship and understand Mare’s past. Mare’s War was written in a particular fashion to express two different point of views. One is in the past representing Mare’s perspective, while the other is given from her 15 year-old granddaughter Octavia, during the present. Ultimately, both sides represent the struggle of equality: Mare’s battle of racism in the past, and Tali’s judgemental thoughts of her sister, today.
In Mare’s War the 6888th battalion wasn’t the only battle Mare was fighting in, but also the battle of discrimination. Throughout the novel, prejudice between blacks and whites were clearly expressed during the 40’s. However, the most expressed struggle regarding equality is when Mare’s Army Corporation is stationed to another location. This new area yells out discrimination by having separate tables to eat at between blacks and whites and having separate water fountains. After vigorous training, all the black girls are lined up to get their drinks at the water fountain. Mare happens to notice the white fountain is empty. Although she knows it is wrong, Mare bravely stepped out of her line and goes straight to the white water fountain. After doing so, other black women decide, they too, would drink out of the white water fountain.
This daring move made by Mare shows other black women that it is possible to express subtle ways of yearning for equality. Steps similar to this have shaped our generation today to have an equal foundation for any ethnicity or race. Fast forwarding to the future, 17 year-old Tali always finds a way to make Octavia feel worthless. When they were younger they had a close relationship with one another, but once Tali grew older she made her friends a priority and treated her sister like a stranger.
This unfair rank between friends and family makes Octavia wistful for her sister to make her higher, or at least equal, to her friends. As the road trip continues to proceed, Octavia tries different ways for her sister to look highly of her. One night when Mare falls asleep in another room, Octavia agrees for Tali to put on makeup and dress her up for dinner. Although Octavia is a goody good, she plays it cool when Tali orders an alcoholic beverage. Although Tali is very judgemental, that night she looked at her sister highly and treated her equivalent to how she would treat her friends. From there on out Octavia and Tali began creating a connection as sisters.
Whether it being a widespread problem like racism, or an individual conflict, Mare’s War presented how to deal with overcoming and expressing equality. Overall, this novel shares many life lessons and has a unique structure for portraying the past and the present.
Courtney from Study Moose
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