Discuss the role played by Mr. Morrison Essay
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Mr. Morrison symbolises the strength of Afro-Americans in the face of adversity. He is a source of courage and protection for the Logan family, acting almost as a guardian angel when papa is not home. There is an air of myth surrounding Mr. Morrison, created by factors such as his stature, his deep voice and scarred features. This makes him an interesting and thus successful character for Mildred Taylor. When the children first meet Mr. Morrison, his description relates directly to Mildred Taylor’s imagery.
The attention that she pays to the significance of trees as an emblem of strength, influences her description of the powerful Mr.
Morrison: “The man was a human tree in height, towering high above papa’s six feet two inches. The long trunk of his massive body bulged with muscles… ” The living strength and permanence of trees are a symbol of the strength which the black community draws from its history, tradition and inheritance, and the ‘roots’ which have been put down in their land. Thus, the description of Mr. Morrison is in keeping with such imagery. The timing of Mr. Morrison’s arrival assists Mildred Taylor in developing tension and suspense. He arrives on the scene in the wake of the news of the attack on The Berry Family.
Mr. Morrison, we learn, was wrongly accused of starting a fight and then sacked from his job. This gives us an example of institutionalised racism and also hints that there may well be more incidents and fights. The children immediately warm to him and are deeply fascinated by his giant-like appearance. Mr. Morrison’s attributes make him immune to the physical threats by which the local whites terrorise the black community. This gives the children courage and inspiration. As a result he is a figure who earns Stacey’s respect. Stacey becomes much closer to Mr.
Morrison after he makes it plain that he will not be reporting the matter of the fight to with T. J to Stacey’s mother. Indeed, such is Mr. Morrison’s positive influence, that Stacey shows increased maturity by telling his mother about the fight himself. On their way back from shopping in Vicksburg, Papa, Stacey and Mr. Morrison are ambushed by the Wallaces. Mr. Morrison shows his tremendous power by taking on three attackers and badly injuring two of them. In the following chapter he again demonstrates power and shrewd judgement too by lifting Kaleb Wallace’s truck.
This act is enough for him to avoid being drawn into fighting whilst still standing up for himself. By checking the truck for a gun first, Mr. Morrison shows an admirable measured determination not to be bullied. Furthermore, Mr. Morrison is a vital calming influence upon the headstrong Hammer when the children’s uncle is seeking to avenge Cassie’s humiliation in strawberry. The image of Mr. Morrison sat watching on the porch for the nightmen is a very powerful one. To the Logan’s he is a guardian angel figure, who protects with great strength, yet is otherwise the perfect example of calm.
In the stories he tells to the family we learn of an horrific past in which his family were murdered by racists. His scars symbolise the healing power and capacity to endure that are characterstic of the persecuted black people. His voice – “like the roll of low thunder” – further emphasises Mr. Morrison as a key symbolic figure in the book, as this simile echoes the title. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mildred Taylor section.