Coming of Age in Mississippi

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Sergio Antuna
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Coming of Age in Mississippi

The first two or three decades of a person’s life is often considered as the most crucial stage in the process of growth and development. Not only do these years see the physical transformation of an infant into a fully grown individual but are also the time when character, beliefs, and principles are developed – a stage known as coming of age. Ideally, the place a person lives along with the people and conditions surrounding him should be nourishing and fostering in able for him to achieve optimal development. Yet in reality, not all people are born and raised in an ideal environment. In many instances, a person may be born into a life of struggle and challenges, in which case coming of age becomes a matter of interaction between the influence of elements in life to a person and the same person’s response to such elements. In Anne Moody’s memoir, Coming of Age in Mississippi, published in 1968, the reader sees the author’s remarkable coming of age. In a way, it can be said that the elements in Anne’s life has caused her to witness conflict between discrimination and inequality. Major elements such as characters, setting, and conflict contribute to the plot that traces her development from a young girl to a highly principled woman. To begin with, it is important to know that the setting plays a part in Anne’s development. Anne was born in Centreville, Mississippi in 1940 to an impoverished African-American family. Already, the time and place of her birth give clues to what kind of life she is destined to face. Firstly, life in Mississippi is obviously varied as factors such as time and socioeconomic standing affects its quality. But because Anne was born in a specific time in Mississippi, it is easy to assume what the type of setting it was. Mississippi in the 1940s was a place deeply entrenched in the practices of racial segregation. It was a time when it was legal for society to treat...
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