The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

Topics: Black people, Human skin color, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 2 (691 words) Published: February 12, 2006
Jane's discussion of the social environment of the Samson plantation continues in this chapter, after her brief interlude on Huey Long, the one time governor of Louisiana. Jane then runs through a series of schoolteachers who worked on the plantation. None of them fit into the unique rural culture, however. Finally Jane arrives at Mary Agnes LeFarbre who, with Tee Bob Samson, is the major character in this and the next section. In this section, Tee Bob falls in love with Mary Agnes. Mary Agnes's Creole background provides an important commentary upon skin tone within the black community. Mary Agnes comes to Samson because she wants to amend for her family's slave owning past. Basically, she feels that by being with darker- skinned people, she can correct her family's history. Her family, and the Creole culture, detest dark-skinned blacks such that they try to lynch two intruders to their party. Although the white world considers the Creoles black, the Creoles have their own high racist standards. Mary Agnes appears to be separate from Creole racism since she comes to Samson, but actually her desires are just as racist as theirs. Mary Agnes judges people based upon their skin color just as the whites and the Creoles do. Actually, Mary Agnes's desire for blackness is ironic, since soon a white man will fall in love with her. In light of Mary Agnes's desire to be with darker people, it seems highly unlikely that she would want to be with Tee Bob. The complex racism within Mary Agnes herself helps to suggest the ridiculousness anything based on race. Tee Bob finds himself pulled to Mary Agnes because of her beauty, despite the commute from Baton Rouge, Jane's discouragement, and Mary Agnes's emotional distance. As long as Tee Bob does not announce his love, his attentions to Mary Agnes cause no difficulties. The horse motif reappears again when Tee Bob courts Mary Agnes from his higher position on a horse. She walks beside him, and they talk, but their conversations...
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