Having read the novel, I have come to the conclusion that the author, Mildred Taylor has portrayed prejudice in a number of effective ways. The novel being set in 1930’s Mississippi plays a major role in prejudice being apparent because slavery had just been abolished, yet this didn’t have much of an impact on the society in the 1930s. Through the use of various examples, the reader is able to comprehend the prejudice at the time and the effects it had on people. The main theme running in this novel is related to prejudice and therefore all incidents that take place in the novel occur due to prejudice being present.
The time it was set in is a huge impact on the prejudice itself as the Wall Street crash had just taken place and therefore, poverty was at its peak. This incident was an excuse characters, such as the Wallaces, had used to blame the whites as being those who put them in the position they were in and if the white race didn’t use so many resources at the time, then the Wallaces would have been better off. Mildred Taylor has made the novel’s narrator a youth of the black race and also uses first narrative, which has a greater effect on the reader as they are being shown racism and prejudice, through the eyes of a nine year old child.
In the majority of novels, the authors show the novel from an adult’s point of view – in this case we are shown a youth’s reaction towards incidents experienced at the time, hence the reader gains a greater insight. It allows the reader to engage in the novel by seeing how a child explores the prejudice in Mississippi. Taylor gradually builds up tension in the novel by showing the reader certain details of a family’s status and then shows how they may be exploited due to the way they are seen in society.
We are shown this when Cassie asks Papa why he had to go to work and why the land was of such significance. Papa’s response was reassuring, as he told Cassie that she may not find it easy to comprehend at that moment, but as time passes she would become aware of Papa’s need to travel to work and what significance the land was to the Logans, as we see she later does. Mildred didn’t show how owning land was a great virtue at the time; instead she went on further to show examples of how racism and prejudice increased due to the black race owning land.
Mildred shows Mr Granger’s actions of trying to get the ‘Logan Land’ back into his possession which shows how a white man, felt the need to take over a black mans belonging. In order for Mildred to show the reader the long-term effects of the black race owning land and how it would result in the whites opposing them, due to them not approving of the blacks owning such land as it would give them a higher status in society, we are shown a question asked by a black youth, Cassie -‘I asked him once why the he had to go away, why the land was so important. ‘