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Mama takes time to explain the prejudices that underlie racist attitudes saying ‘you have to accept the fact that in the world outside this house, things are not always as we would have them to be. ‘ Mama explains prejudice used and also explains in a gentle but effective way to Cassie that ‘everybody born on this earth is somebody and nobody, no matter what colour, is better than anybody else. ‘ Mama also gives Cassie a lesson about the past, illuminating the family’s past and their struggles.
She is a caring mother who brings her children up right in the hope that they do not be influenced by the prejudice from whites but to accept everyone equally. In some ways this could be Mary Logan’s own little contribution to the improvement of the world in the future. Although she is strict with her children, disciplining them when they are disobedient she listens when they have troubles. Usually Mama’s beatings consisted of a whipping from her belt but the punishment for Stacey’s fight and the visit to the Wallace store seemed lenient to the children.
At first they were scolded but the children ‘ didn’t consider that a punishment, and we doubted Mama did either. ‘ The real punishment Mama placed upon them was a lesson. She took them up to see Sam Berry and the punishment given to him from whites for disobeying. To me this is a good punishment because not always does a beating make you learn from your mistakes. This however remained in the children’s mind and they did not enter the Wallace store again. The children accept her punishments because they love and respect her.
She shows her firmness and strength also when we see her splitting the children up when they are giggling, whipping Stacey and standing by her principles when Harland Granger visits the school. Another characteristic of Mary Logan’s personality is her cautiousness. For much of the time Papa is away working so therefore Mama is responsible and is the provider for the family. We see her cautiousness at times of increased anger when Papa or Uncle Hammer threatens to confront Mr. Simms or the mob.
In both cases Mama tries to prevent them from using violence, it is clear that she prefers to settle things out through non-violent means such as the boycott. Mama fears for the lives of David and Hammer when they reach for the shotgun because she knows the power of the white people is stronger than that of the black man. Another incident where Mama is weary of their actions is when, on their way home, Hammer drives through the bridge where it can only handle one car at a time. Blacks often have to back down for whites to cross it first. Hammer meets the Wallace’s and drives on.
Mama says that ‘ they’ll have to pay for that later. ‘ Again there is a reminder of the fact that Mama prefers not to use violent mean to settle a conflict when, driving past the Wallace store Hammer makes the comment that he would like to burn the place down. Mama quickly replies saying there are other ways. We are aware that Mama was loved as a child as we hear from Papa referring to Mama’s father that ‘ every penny he’d get his hands on he’d put it aside for her schooling… ‘ This again gives us an idea as to where Mama’s kindness and deep need to provide come from.
Mama’s an educated woman as she learned in a teacher training school and has been employed in the local school for fourteen years. We are also made aware of her education, as her spoken English, like the prose of the novel, is perfect and relatively free from colloquial Americanisms unlike the rest of the Logan family members. We hear from Cassie’s description that Mama is a beautiful woman. With a ‘slender body’ and ‘smell of sunshine and soap’ Cassie feels her Mother is pretty. Mary Logan makes the best of what she has. She uses cardboard lining to disguise the worn out shoes, which Cassie felt ‘uncomfortable for Mama.
‘ She cares for the family very much so and has dinner ready when any are hungry, she uses half the ingredients so she will have enough for the next time, this shows Mama plans things out and genuinely cares. The points above all describe how Mary Logan is a strict but loving and understanding parent, a Brave, noble citizen and courageous teacher. I admire greatly how she gives up so much to offer a small part of pleasure to the lives of her children. In many ways Mama is unflawed, proving right in many circumstances and standing up for what she believes in.
This woman is an inspiration to all blacks, mothers or people who find it hard to be recognized or respected. I feel she has done her best to bring up children who may be different and change the future, to accept people not by their skin colour or religion but by the content of their character. By Claire Reid 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.