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Coming of Age in Mississippi

Sep 29, 2008 1552 Words
Differences of Time
The things that can change in life during the movement of time is something that we all don’t realize, but happens constantly and can change a lot of things over the wide spam of a century. “Coming of Age in Mississippi” written by Anne Moody is a recap of her life in the 1940s to about the early 1960 in the South, and how the South became synopsis with racism, slavery, and the equal right movement for African Americans. While all this was going on in the South some parts of the nation is living in a bubble of carefree living. “The Way We Never Were” by Stephanie Coontz depicts the other extreme way of life America was living in. You have one lifestyle of industrial living in New York, Chicago, and other Industrial advanced cities in that era, and then you have the corn growing and cotton picking farmers of the South that provided all the basic needs for the industrial booming cities in the northern region of the United States.

In the autobiography written by Anne Moody, it depicts the extreme absurdity of racial classifications, the unwillingness to come together for a greater cause to provide equality for the human race in America, and what hatred because of people’s indifferences that people could not have control or abilities to adjust to conform to the majorities liking. While Anne does not question that race and racism are very real facts of life, she does show how absurd and arbitrary racial distinctions are. During Anne’s childhood, many whites publicly argued that blacks were genetically inferior to whites. When a group of people with the same interest and cause refuse to band together to improve their situation, improvement becomes impossible and without no end. Throughout this autobiography the willingness blacks are to accept injustice becomes a aggravating and frustrating fact because when you have everyone complaining about the lifestyle they are living, but don’t want to do anything about it to fix it you shouldn’t complain about the situation. If you complain you should step up to the plate and voice your opinion and the situation and advocated for a change. Emotions, feelings, and belief are a couple of the strongest motivators for people, a racial group, or a just cause. Like most of my elders say if you want it bad enough you will succeed. If there is a will there is a way. You just have question yourself if you will keep trying to reach your goal or will you collapse through all of the obstacles that you will to reach the road’s end.

The want to be better than the person next to you, and to move up in class and in status without doing anything to get there beside what you are born with is the reason why prejudice against African-American happened. Even African-American had prejudice against other people of their race because of their skin color. The light-skin African-Americans as known as mulattos were prejudice against the darker-colored African-Americans. They often try to carve out a higher social status for themselves, despite the fact that they are legally no better off than blacks relative to whites. Its kind of ironic what people do to distance themselves from a “lower class of people” even when they are just as relatively the same as the people they try to distance themselves from. Finally, after meeting lighter-skinned blacks and whites who do not look down on her, Anne accepts that not all members of these groups are untrustworthy. However, prejudice nearly costs her important opportunities in her life, and makes her a suspicious and pessimistic person.

While all this was going on in the South, “The Way We Never Were” depicts a totally different and opposite lifestyle as if they were living in a different world. Most of the elder of today remember how life was back in the 1950s and how “better” we were because we didn’t have the distraction of the internet, electronic game console, and the ever popular television. All of these forms of entertainment, some critics say, hinder our generation into becoming an individualist society without the discipline that was present in the 1950s. The good old time as some people call it, but as Stephanie Coontz explains we are not different today as we were fifty something years ago. All of the statistics and number are conclusive facts that we are the same as a human race as we were before. We praise for individuality, but with that comes the willingness to break out of the mold of what some parents think should be the ideal children. All of these current issues with today society were present back in the 1950s, but it wasn’t really voiced or became an issue of discussion as it is now days. Coontz systematically tears apart all of our myths about what families are, used to be, and ought to be. It's just amazing how much, as a whole, we believe these sources of news and what we hear from politicians and public policy analysts is merely a pick and choose of the truth to make stories interesting for the consumer to be attracted to. Some of the facts that were included in the novel written by Ms. Coontz’s novel surprised and amazed me because in my mind I believe that the families of the 1950s were what the majority of Americans seems it was like, “The Golden Age.” For instance, the common belief that American these days do not have marriages that last as long or they did in the 1950s and that teen pregnancy, marriages, and abortion were irrelevant back then is a total myth. It’s amazing how the things we want to hear and what we don’t want to hear becomes the truth in our minds without taking into consideration of the truth. We are all amazed and attracted to the perfect family lifestyle, and we believe what we want to believe. But the truth of the matter, is that we are no different today then we were decades ago. Remember the television show the Brady Bunch, and how we see there family as a loving, fair, and a family that was perfect; wishing we were like that perfect family. Like the common saying goes, we are not perfect if we were we wouldn’t be the human race that we are today. Nothing of that sort has been accomplished as a common fact in American society, even though we tend to believe that we were once a well to do society when we first started to make an image for the American people. After reading these two novels, it open my eyes up to the things that were once the truth for me and the images I had of the family life in the 1950s. We tend to only imagine the great things in life and leave the things that we don’t want to remember behind. The image of a white picket fence house with a dog, housewife, three children, and a loving environment has always been the image that was in my mind when I thought of the 1950, and its perfect family image. Anne Moore’s novel about the 1950s is the extreme negative side of the 1950s where we as a nation was ignorance to the equality for the human race instead of trying to better than the person next to you. You have slavery and the start of a equal nation for the people that was forcedly sent to the United States to do the dirty work of building the nation that we are so proud to live in today. Because you thought that they did all the dirty work for you and the jobs that no one wanted to do that they were any less of a human being then you are. Both of these novels showed how a nation that was so blinded, naive and ignorance then can be the same now and we don’t even realize it. The success as a nation that raise from being the new and baby nation in the 1950s to what it is today, a super power, has showed how much we the people have change so that our nation can be what it is a today, the big brother. The United States is the nation that equates freedom, opportunity, and the right to be who we want to be. Because of the things that our nation as gone through in the past, we want to make it concrete that these things will not happen again, for instance slavery and not treating everyone as part of the human race. Through all of the trial and error that our nation has gone through, depicted in these two novels, we have gone a long way to overcome all the hardships and pictures of the bad choices we made. We try everything to make everyone that lives in this nation equal. Everyone has the opportunity for school, work, and to receive a helping hand when needed which we not available in the 1950s. These two books open my eyes to a lot of new things and that what this country can offer any one.

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