Mildred Taylor writes about lots of families, some are successful and some are not. She writes about poverty families have to endure, discipline that they inflict on their children, loyalties, love and care. She contrasts poor families and rich families very well. She writes about poverty mainly in the black families although she does mention poverty in white families but very briefly. The Logan’s are good disciplinarians and know when to discipline their children and when not to and when they have been promised a beating, they will get it. An example of this, is when the Logan children go to the Wallace’s store.
As they had been warned not to go there, they got their beating. Even if it was a little late in the coming. ‘We should have known better…. Papa never forgot anything. ‘ She writes the book in the first person from the point of view of the nine-year-old girl Cassie, who in some ways is quite mature for her age but is still learning about racism and the unfairness of life. The only thing that she is sure about, is her absolute loyalty to her family, which remains constant throughout the book. The Avery’s a not very successful family, are one of the poorest black families.
Mr and Mrs Avery have many children and not enough money. They sharecrop on the Granger’s land and as they do not have much money, they also do not have money to spend on medicine, which as a result means that Mr and Mrs Avery remain in a constant state of illness. This of course does not help matters and contributes to the lack of discipline in their children’s lives. TJ one of their sons is a perfect example of this, they should have taught him the difference between and wrong and they should have taught him respect. Taylor attributes many of his problems to weak parenting, a thought expressed by mama when she says,
‘It’s just that the boys gotten out of hand and doesn’t seem like anybody’s doing anything about it. ‘ When he looses his friendship with the Logan children he finds friendship in RW and Melvin Simms. They are not ideal friends and laugh at TJ behind his back. As a result of this friendship he indirectly sends the whole Avery family into turmoil. Together the three boys conspire to rob the mercantile belonging to the Barnetts. The Simms’ brothers managing to outwit TJ, blame the whole affair on him and thus bringing the most of the white, black hating community to the Avery’s house.
There, they assault Mr and Mrs Avery and TJ ends up in jail. RW and Melvin Simms are the eldest of the Simms children. All the Simms share the view that white people are better then black people. The exception is Jeremy Simms who doesn’t really like his siblings, he also does not share the same views that they hold and he is the outcast. He even sleeps in a tree house, to get away from his family, which proves his alienation from them. ‘ I just climbs in my tree and it’s like going into another world. ‘ He is friends with the Logan children and walks with them on the way to school, the only white boy to do so.
For being nice to the Logan’s and generally liking black people he gets a beating from his sister Lillian Jean who is just like the rest of her siblings and father. Maybe because of the fact that there is no mother figure to guide them that they feel they should follow their father in every way. But whatever the reason they are quite a dysfunctional family. The Jamison’s are partly to blame for TJ not finding himself killed. Mr Jamison is a lawyer and has strong family roots in the community. They have no children and are completely not racist. They are the minority who genuinely care about people.
They are comfortable and they hold quite an important place in society mainly because Mr Jamison is a lawyer. They become ostracized when Mr Jamison tries his best from preventing TJ from getting murdered even at risk to his own life. ‘we just likely to take care of ourselves a nigger lover too tonight. ‘ The Logan’s are successful as a family because they are very strong family unit. They are completely loyal to each other and they all love and care for each other. This love for family and holding family as a priority has been instilled in the children quite clearly.
They are just about the only black family to have any type of collateral whatsoever. This is because they are the only black family to own their own land. And most other white landowners resented that. ‘Harlan… resents the fact that you won’t sell it. ‘ Because of their collateral they also have a lot of independence that the others do not have. Even though the Logan’s are poor, they are not desperate like the Avery’s who can barely afford to buy their clothes. But they have had to branch out of Mississippi to get enough money to pay the bills and even then it’s a struggle.
Papa has to work on a railroad and Uncle hammer has moved to the north where he earns a good living. Even Uncle Hammer knows and understands the values that say that family comes first. This is demonstrated when the mortgage has to paid off and Papa finds himself short of money. ‘What good’s a car?… you can’t raise four fine babies on it. ‘ Big Ma play’s the roll of the head of the household. She adds to the stability of the environment in the home and increases the awareness of the Logan family history. She also knows each of the family members ‘inside out’.
All together I think in order to have a successful family it is necessary to support, love, trust and care for the people in your family. There should be a certain loyalty and a need for one another. To be able to depend on a family member is a virtue not to be ungrateful for and in the end even Uncle Hammer showed this. He fought for what was right. 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.