Mildred Taylor Essay
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Draft No. 3 TJ is an unlikable boy who has only himself to blame for the situation at the end of the novel. How far do you agree? T. J is an unlikable boy but I do not believe that he has only to himself to blame for the situation at the end of the novel. There are other sides to the story as well. TJ starts off in the novel as a happy, cheerful young boy who enjoys life, but you can already start to see the cheeky side of him.
In chapter 1, TJ says: “Look on the bright side, Jus’ think of the advantage you’ve got. You’ll be learnin’ all stuff ‘fore the rest of us … like what’s on them tests. ” This proves that TJ is a cheat.
If his mother were a teacher, then he would definitely look at the tests and cheat. TJ and his brother came from one of the poorest families. For example, when he comes into school on the first day, he is wearing no shoes. Whereas the Logans have: “… New coats and books and shiny new packards. ” One of the reasons that TJ is such a troublemaker is that he had a socially deprived background and therefore I think he needs to receive the attention that his family never gave him. His families are poor sharecroppers on Granger land. Sharecroppers were black people who work on white land, and get a small percentage of the produce.
They are weak and frail and cannot control TJ. A description of TJ’s father shows he is: “A frail sickly man with a hacking cough. ” The fact that he had a deprived upbringing and that nobody is doing any thing about TJ’s getting ‘out of hand’ is why he is not fully to blame for what happens at the end of the novel. Later on, TJ says to Stacey: “Friends gotta trust each other, Stacey, ’cause aint’ nothing like a true friend. ” However, TJ betrays Stacey. Stacey is caught with TJ’s cheat notes and Miss Logan (his Mama) beats her son in front of the whole class.
This makes TJ unlikable. We also feel sympathetic towards Stacey for being blamed for something that he did not do. Later on, TJ is mesmerised by a ‘pearl-handed gun. ‘ His behavior becomes increasingly disturbing. TJ mocks Stacey about his magnificent new coat because he is jealous. TJ says: “He looks like the fat preacher”. But the truth is, T. J. is a confused, insecure youngster. He is a character who sets much of the story’s violent action into motion; this makes him unlikable. He is a liar, a cheat, and a thief. He causes trouble for different members of the Logan family.
Firstly, TJ humiliates Stacey, who in the end disowns his new coat. In chapter 6, Stacey says: “The coat was too big for me and … and TJ said it made me look like … like a preacher. ” TJ wanted the coat very much so he could show off to his white friends. Then he initiates the dismissal of Mary Logan because he has failed the exam. In that time, if anyone fails the end of year exam, then they must redo the year, thus being with the same teacher. He tells Mr. Granger that Miss Logan erased the word ‘nigra’ on the books. This causes Mr. Granger to sack Miss Logan because she does not abide to the ‘white’ rules.
In chapter 8, Mr. Granger says: “You so smart I expect you’d best just forget about teaching altogether … then thataway you’ll have plenty of time to write your own book” Later on, in chapter 12, Papa sets fire to the land and ruins many of his crops, thus making him poorer in an attempt to save TJ from being lynched. Even though he is working away from home to improve family income. In the 1930s in the South, the Depression came and the black people often had to seek work elsewhere (Papa, for example, manages to hold down insecure work on the railroad during the Depression.
) TJ has no scruples, no morals, and will do anything to avoid accepting responsibility. This makes him unlikable. He bullies his brother Claude and he will use any devious method to avoid failing at school. But when TJ is in trouble he asks Stacey for help because he is going to fail. Stacey replies angrily: “TJ, don’t you come talking to me ’bout no more cheating! ” When TJ fails, he is full of resentment and anger, so he engineers the dismissal of Miss Logan. He is successful, but only with the help of two other white boys, RW and Melvin.
He does this because the Simms brothers are white, and they have more power over what happens to the blacks. This makes TJ unlikable and we feel sympathetic towards Mama (TJ used to hate the whites. ) Mama says: “”Well you told me Jeremy said they were laughing at TJ behind his back. Some folks just like to keep other folks around to laugh at them … use them. ” TJ does not realise that his white ‘supposed’ friends are backstabbing him. Stacey discovers that it is TJ’s fault that his mother’s beloved career is ruined. TJ’s friendships with the white boys spell trouble because they constantly use him, and get him into trouble.
This is why TJ does not only have himself to blame for the situation at the end of the novel. Mary Logan understands that TJ is insecure and has no understanding for self-respect so she does nothing to punish TJ. Mama and Papa talk about Stacey in chapter 9: “‘Mary, I want him strong … not a fool like TJ’ ‘He’s got more brains and learning than that'” Cassie overhears her parents talking about Stacey and TJ. “TJ has gotten out of hand. ” They discuss his future and what will happen to TJ if things carry on. When Cassie asks her mother if TJ is dumb, she answers,
“TJ’s not ‘dumb’ Cassie, he just wants attention, but he’s going after it the wrong way. ” This shows again why he is not totally to blame. TJ mainly needs attention. Mama says: “They’d better `figure out some way of getting that boy back on the right track because he’s headed for a whole lot of trouble. ” This quotation shows the reader that TJ will get worse if things do not change for TJ. TJ arrives with RW and Melvin (who are both a terrible influence on TJ) and he is dressed like his white friends to impress his ex-friends, the Logans.
Cassie realises that the brothers are merely using TJ. She is amazed by TJ’s stupidity. But TJ befriending white people shows just how desperate TJ is for attention. He thinks he is getting the attention that his parents and the Logan’s stopped giving him, but in reality, the ‘white’ Simms brothers are just using TJ. TJ says to the Logans: “Everything I want they give me, cause they really like me. I’m their best friend. ” TJ arrives later, badly hurt and crying with despair. He has been tricked into robbing the Barnett store but RW and Melvin covered their faces and wore gloves.
They used TJ as their scapegoat and they could not care less what happens to him. We feel sympathetic towards TJ and this is why TJ is not totally to blame for the end. The Lynch mob then come for TJ, intending to visit the Logans next. The sense of fear and anxiety felt by the Logan children, the stories told around the hearth and the consequences for T. J dominate the novel. The Author, Mildred D. Taylor is always giving very negative portrayals of TJ, with occasional references to why he is like he is. This makes him unlikable. But we do feel sympathetic towards him.
At the end of the novel Cassie cries for TJ and the land and gives them economic independence, which shows she has fully realised that blacks are the targets for racism, and her whole life will be like that, and that TJ’s life was wasted. Racism was spreading during the 1930s, especially in Mississippi, the Ku Klux Klan were very active there. Cassie already knows about the dreaded ‘Night Men. ‘ 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.