Walton S Mississippi An American Journey Analysis English Literature Essay

Before his traveling to Mississippi, he ne’er truly felt the badness of the issue of racism, for he was born into a vicinity where people ‘kept what prejudices they had to themselves ‘ ( 4 ) . For Anthony and most of the inkinesss today, Mississippi is ‘something from which the inkinesss had freed [ themselves ] , washed into the past ‘ . The inkinesss like Anthony today enjoy the fruits of success, freedom and equal rights from the forfeits of their ascendants. Their biggest concern surrounds fiddling inquiries like ‘whether to hold espresso or cappuccino after dinner ‘ ( 9 ) . Most of his cognition environing issues of racial favoritism towards African American are limited to text editions and conversations with household. During the dark of the blackwash of Martin Lurther King, Anthony, who was merely seven by that clip, ‘refused to take out the refuse ‘ ( 5 ) for ‘he was terrified of the dark. He knew that Mississippi ‘had something to make with [ his ] fright ‘ ( 5 ) .

His existent image of Mississippi came merely when his school, Notra Dame lost to Ole Miss ( University of Mississippi ) during a football game. He was petrified by the scene where the Ole Miss protagonists raise the controversial Confederate flags to back up their squad. He was befuddled by their Acts of the Apostless but he realized that something was non right. His experience towards racism was strengthen during his stay in New York to describe the protest March in Brooklyn vicinity in the aftermath of Yusuf Hawkins slaying where he realizes the being and the badness of racial favoritism. The roads were filled with Whites who were ‘throwing watermelonsaˆ¦and shouting NIGGERS! ‘ ( 7 ) He was terrified. He thought that such sort of unfastened racism would merely go on in the past, during the pre-Emancipation period. But he was incorrectly. It happened right in forepart of him, in this modern-day metropolitan New York. He knew something was incorrect but he could non calculate out what.

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That was when he decided to ship on the journey to Mississippi ; to detect the root of the job and happen account for his many observations, he need to travel back to a topographic point where everything begins and that is, Mississippi. During his traveling in Mississippi, he has learnt and observed things that could ne’er be learnt from text edition. During his visit to the Ole Miss football game, among the ‘sharply and amply frock ‘ ( 161 ) witnesss raised Confederate conflict streamer that were in everyplace, ‘particularly among the alumnas ‘ ( 161 ) . Anthony was once more befuddled by his sight. Should n’t the Confederate flag, which is the ultimate symbolisation of racism and subjugation towards inkinesss, be removed in this twenty-four hours and ages? What was the purpose of white Mississippians raising the Confederate flag? Do n’t they know that the flag was the cardinal symbol of the period of greatest hurting and agony of the inkinesss of all time in the American history?

As he searched for the reply, he shortly learnt that the Mississippians have non genuinely recovered from the pre-Emancipation period. Beneath the apparently peaceable racial relationship are the biass which are profoundly rooted in every Mississippians, that even the transition of clip could non wipe out them wholly. In topographic points like football bowl in Mississippi, inkinesss would non be present, as Anthony suggest, for the inkinesss ‘did non [ feel ] belong ‘ and surely ‘were non missed ‘ ( 162 ) . There is still a great rift between the black and Whites, that Mississippi contains ‘two civilizations ‘ of inkinesss and Whites that are ‘mutually hostile ‘ at each other. Just like the Confederate flags that were beckoning high in the bowl, the Whites see it as a representation of ‘history and heritage ‘ while inkinesss think that the flag is a ‘totem of subjection ‘ . Two contrasting and opposing thought, once more, reflected the really nucleus job of the modern-day Mississippi society – the deficiency of apprehension and tolerance between races.

After holding been run intoing with a few people like Mrs. Luckett and sing topographic points like the large sign of the zodiacs that whites reside, he realized that he was losing one major linkage in his hunt for the true and ugly American history – his male parent. Bing a direct victim of racial biass and subjugation in the 50s, Anthony ‘s male parent Claude did non speak to his kid really much about his yesteryear. Anthony realized that by affecting his male parent in his hunt for the roots of the job, he would be able to happen the linkage between his household past history with the disgusting, violent and frequently barbarous Mississippi history. Through his male parent, Anthony knew that he was able to larn and experience the agony of a black straight. Claude was born in Holly Spring. Just like many black kids, he excessively faced with a batch of favoritisms from the Whites. For case, he has to have old books which ‘always have pages losing ‘ ( 215 ) in school. Unlike the white childs, he ‘did n’t acquire to sit the coach ‘ . When there was no school, Claude had to work in cotton field from early forenoon boulder clay at dark. Through the graphic description of his male parent, Anthony eventually understands how the facet of Mississippi was like, that he frequently find ‘hard to conceive of ‘ .

It was non until the brutal and unmerciful slaying of his friend James, coupled with the hatred towards whites that he had long carried with him that James decided to go forth Mississippi for Chicago, for he was ‘tired of the racism and beastliness ‘ ( 213 ) here. He wanted to be ‘treated like a male child, like a adult male ‘ ( 213 ) . Through his journey to Mississippi, Anthony is able to derive more grasp towards the Blues music, that blues has progressively ‘shadow everything ‘ , including his ain ‘worldview and those of [ his ] parents ‘ ( 227 ) , as the ‘detune notes ‘ ( 227 ) of the blues truly reflect and echoes the delivers of the spirit, ‘the growl and the scream ‘ ( 227 ) of the laden inkinesss towards the society.

As Anthony continues to uncover one of the bloodiest chapters in the American history and associated them with his observations, he was petrified and abhorred by the ugliness of history – the subjugation of Whites towards inkinesss and the inhuman and gross outing Acts of the Apostless that have of all time committed. He appreciates what his journey had taught him, though they might non needfully be reasonably. He tried to happen the replies for what had happened around him. However, for each inquiry he tried to reply, it will ‘branch into three more, into infinitudes that he could no longer hold on ‘ ( 211 ) . He started to see the jobs, which he put the incrimination on the inkinesss, that problem that blacks in South Chicago as an continuance of biass that rooted in the long history of Mississippi and American in general. He had eventually ‘learned to halt to hedge and bury ‘ ( 275 ) the history but to encompass and ‘call them [ his ] ain ‘ . ( 275 )

In Mississippi: An American Journey, Anthony Walton travels back and Forth in the river of Black history and his real-life journey to Mississippi. Walton ‘s journey covers non merely places that cast 200 old ages of history but besides a long list of people: sharecrop farmers, plantation owners, his parents and relations, celebrated authors, bluesmen, aristocrats-white and black, those who create the history and those who inhabit it now. To Walton, one time one of those who suffered from “ historical memory loss ” ( 274 ) , this journey is a procedure of replying the contradictions and semblances around him, a procedure of deriving “ cognition ” alternatively of being “ an American inexperienced person, ” ( 274 ) and a procedure of decoding his heritage, Mississippi, a topographic point bearing “ the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. ” ( 274 ) However, it is non the cognition increase of truth and narratives that disappoint him but the recognition of that the yesteryear has non yet passed bash.

Walton ‘s artlessness refers to his limited apprehension of racism, Mississippi, even America. His cognition of these is confined to consciousness of them but non the penetration into them. Walton one time believed that the journey would convey him lucidity and maestro of historical tradition of his race to congratulate his rawness. Surely, the journey does give him adequate “ fruit ” to pacify his hungriness. But what he discovers in Mississippi exceeds what he wanted to cognize. The “ cognition ” he additions from the journey is that he increasingly understands that the artlessness comes from his “ merrily enduring the historical memory loss that leads Americans to believe they are guiltless of history because they ‘won’-their values prevailed, their ends were achievedaˆ¦ ” Furthermore, the realisation of “ the permeation of the darkness of America ‘s history ” aftermaths him up from the dream of the chase of truth and enlightment.

In the prologue of “ Mississippi, ” Walton depicts a powerful scene in which his male parent, Claude, recounts an event happened on a Christmas Eve 40 old ages ago. Claude points a shuttered edifice and says James Crump, his childhood friend, was shot “ right here ” where used to be a coach station because person called the sheriff and complained about James ‘ vocalizing and clapping his custodies “ on Christmas Eve. ” In Walton ‘s head, his male parent is a quiet adult male, good behaved, in-between category as him, and ne’er associated with force because of his faith. But, what he sees in Claude ‘s eyes when he recounts the narrative is outrage and heartache that astonishes him. This old adult male turns to be a character lived under racism that he had ne’er known. The increasing apprehension of his male parent ‘s lives inspires him to review racism and Mississippi.

In a ulterior chapter, Claude tells Walton the narratives of his work during his flight from Mississippi to the North. Walton asks “ Did you of all time want to ache white people? ” ( 216 ) Claude responds with an dry smiling “ Most decidedly. I hate white people, with a passionaˆ¦ I hated them every bit much as they hated me. I frequently had visions of pass overing out the full white community. ” ( 217 ) Upon this clip, Walton is amazed that his male parent and 1000s of other people who experienced and suffered from racism did non “ force their enduring down into another coevals. ” ( 274 ) But, compared to what confused him before the journey, the toll of day-to-day favoritism and belligerencies he paid at New York, Walton realizes that he is still populating in the same life as his male parent did except for the physical labour. Though Walton and other younger inkinesss can be knowing, though their parents tried hard non to go through down their agony and heartache to them, the truth that immature inkinesss are unconsciously enduring from the racism can non be omitted, every bit long as they are inkinesss. The augmented cognition of his male parent pushes him to recognize the vagueness of what he profoundly believed before- ” history is [ as being ] imperfect, as holding a intent. ”

In college, Walton ‘s connexion to Mississippi is merely when his school, Notre Dame, loses a bitterly fought football game to Ole Miss, which is besides the University of Mississippi. What he merely knows about University of Mississippi at that clip is that there is tonss of “ Confederate ballyhoo environing the Rebels ” ( 6 ) and he does non glad about that.

During his journey, he visits University of Mississippi several times, with his female parent, Dorothy, and his friend, Mona. Walton and Mona go to the homecoming football game. In the bowl, he one time once more catches the sight of the Confederate flag among the alumnas busying a half of the bowl. “ The Whites claim the Rebel flag represents history and heritage whereas inkinesss see it as a totem of their subjection ; and it was amazing to see 50 thousand Whites beckoning Confederate flags to press on their black gladiators. ” ( 162 ) This dramatic scene shows that racism is still here, at Mississippi. The society is still separate ; the cost of their parents ‘ coevals has non yet been paid off.

However, as Walton and his female parent wander around the campus, they find that some of the college pupils of Ole Miss and other younger inkinesss ‘ coevals seem to comfortably populate in the “ freedom ” “ in the cost of the 250-year conflict of black Mississippians for acknowledgment and civil rights, particularly the conflict for Ole Miss. ” ( 91 ) No one black pupil seems to be cognizant of what had happened here and what is traveling on here. In Dorothy ‘s eyes, “ A batch of them do n’t truly place with the cause of Mississippi or with inkiness, or with what it took to acquire here. They do n’t care what it took every bit long as they can acquire in on some of the benefitsaˆ¦ They likely do n’t even cognize who James Meredith is. ” ( 91 ) Statistics even shows that nine out of 10 of the black college pupils in Ole Miss do n’t cognize who Medgar Evers was. The world and statistics both convince Walton of the prevailing racism in Mississippi and the ignorance of the coevals of immature inkinesss. He defines this symptom as “ memory loss ” , an epidemic disease among immature inkinesss. Fortunately, Walton recovers from the journey to Mississippi. In contrast to his old artlessness, Walton ‘s new cognition about Mississippi and the persisting segregation helps him see the ballyhoos as something more concrete than mere disfavor. The emotion is more complex. It is filled with centuries of hate and force, the same as what he sees from his male parent ‘s eyes.

Dorothy one time asked him about William Faulkner when he was in graduate school at Brown University, because she wanted to compose about a Nobel laureate from her hometown, New Albany. Walton laughed out loud and informed her that this Faulkner was white. “ So? ” she replied. Walton tries difficult to non believe of Faulkner during his trip to Mississippi because in his head, Faulkner was a white, a celebrant of the Confederacy and the proprietor of a “ large house ” out on Old Taylor Road whereas himself is “ a descendant of those who had been the slaves of his Sartorises, Compsons and Sutpens, who had suffered tremendously under the Snopeses. ” But, he realizes he was incorrect. Faulkner is everyplace in Mississippi. What Faulkner says about the yesteryear is doubtless right- ” the yesteryear is n’t dead. It is n’t even past yet. ”

Faulkner ‘s fresh “ Absalom, Absalom! ” reflects the history of South and foreshadows its hereafter. In the novel, Supten disavows his black boy by a black adult female while embraces the white boy by a white adult female. The refusal of acknowledging the black boy sets off a concatenation of incidents that lead to the devastation of the full Sutpen household and plantation. After two old ages of his trip, Walton comes to decode the metaphor in the novel as the world what he is analyzing in Mississippi. “ The province ‘s tragic history is testimony to what this refusal has wrought. And it is now likely that the members of the two racial groups are lasting aliens, doomed to goggle and gaze but non see, blind to each other as siblings, worlds, Americans. ” ( 163 ) Walton besides refers Faulkner ‘s household narrative as the history of Mississippi. Faulkner understands the struggle in the Black Marias of Mississippian because he has profoundly fallen in love with a black adult female, Caroline Barr. However, when looking about at Faulkner ‘s fantastic sign of the zodiac, Walton can barely happen anything implies the being of Caroline and manifests the love of them. Walton ‘s new cognition or credence of Faulkner is the merchandise of his journey, uncluttering his artlessness, acknowledging the truth and exposing the cicatrix of history.

The book Mississippi: An American Journey emphasizes the displacement of Walton ‘s “ artlessness ” to “ knowledge ” of history of inkinesss, of Mississippi, and of America. In the journey to Mississippi, the cotton plantation, the Rosaline sign of the zodiac, the resting topographic point of Medgar Ever, Holly Spring, New Albany, and Ole Miss are non simple topographic points or scenic musca volitanss to Walton. The long roll incorporating Richard Wright, President Roosevelt, Ross Barnett, Meredith, sharecrop farmers, and bluesmen is non simply a reappraisal of history neither. They are testimony of racism, hatred and the logjam of history. In the terminal of the epilogue, Walton points out that “ Most of all, we want to be guiltless of how much the shades and castanetss of our beautiful landscape have shaped and twisted virtually everything that has happened here ; and we want to stay nescient of how dearly-won our artlessness is to our authorities, our communities and our hears. ” But now, after the journey, Walton is glad that he could retrieve from the memory loss, ne’er “ embrace the shades and cradle the castanetss and name them his [ my ] ain. ” ( 275 ) once more.

Work Cited

Anthony, Walton. Mississippi: An American Journey. New York, Vintage, 1996.

Artlessness to knowledge

Anthony Walton, a black upper in-between category adult male with an Ivy League instruction, decides to travel back to Mississippi in hopes of detecting more about the, “ the troubled psyche of the South ” ( Caryl Phillips ) . He describes his experience in his book entitled, Mississippi: An American Journey. Mississippi is a landmark topographic point for him because both his parents were raised at that place and as a kid he spent infinite summers with household members at that place. In the terminal of his long journey Walton reviews over all that he has learned and witnessed while in Mississippi and he concludes that his findings have taken him from a province of artlessness into “ painful cognition ” he did non hold before ( 272 ) . Walton explains this cognition to be much like the cognition Adam and Eve received one time they, “ [ Ate ] the fruit of the tree of cognition, because, “ [ he ] became cognizant of things [ he ] could ne’er non cognize ” once more ( 272 ) .

Now Walton is no nescient individual, he studied at both Brown and Norte Dame University, so when he talks of geting cognition he is merely stating he was given in depth information on subjects he did non cognize there degree of badness. It is non merely Walton who did non cognize the extent of Mississippi history, but he said Americans in general had this “ memory loss about the yesteryear ” ( 272 ) . Some of the worlds Walton received were the narratives told by older household members.

His male parent told the first narrative of the book, and that was of his friend being shot to decease on Christmas Eve. This narrative was told as they were walking in Mississippi ‘s humid summer conditions in the exact location that the killing took topographic point. At the clip of the narrative Walton could merely concentrate on how awfully uncomfortable he was in the conditions, while it seemed like his male parent had stepped in a clip machine that put him back at the scene. The asleep male child was guiltless, immature, and had non hurt a psyche that dark, but without the slightest spot of oppugning was shot and killed immediately by a white adult male for showing his felicity. Sing the emotional and long term consequence this had on his male parent, Walton began to acquire a glance into the agonies his male parent experienced as a kid in Mississippi compared to the privileged life manner his male parent had given to him. A life manner in Illinois where people, “ kept what prejudices they had to themselves ” ( 4 ) . That individual narrative was the beginning of a long twine of cognition Walton would roll up.

In the journey Walton and his female parent visited Ole Miss. Ole Miss is the University of Mississippi, the combat land for people like his female parent and male parent ‘s coevals. As the two of them sat on campus, Dorothy Walton, his female parent reminisced on her dreams about Ole Miss. She said although her coevals was non able to go to it she would believe, “ if I could acquire a opportunity to travel here, that would everything alright, ” ( 95 ) . Dorothy besides noticed black pupils on campus who did non admit her and she felt as if they had disconnected and forgotten about all the difficult work before them that allowed them to be where they are ( 91 ) . For case the first black adult male to go to Ole Miss, James Meredith, holding to be escorted by, “ five hundred U.S. United States Marshals Services, boundary line flatfoots, and deputized prison guards ” ( 94 ) .Walton listens to her and thinks back to the clip when they were touring colleges for him and that spot of information about Ole Miss and his female parents discontent with inkinesss interaction on campus let him understand the true cost of instruction.

Walton would go to an Ole Miss football game while in Mississippi and witness a mark of racism he had ne’er seen earlier. He was evidently cognizant that black people were non ever admitted into the university and hence the past alumnas would be white ; what he did non cognize was that the alumnas carried, “ Confederate conflict streamer [ s ] everyplace ” ( 161 ) . That flag was non a flag that displayed unity amongst all but one that was symbolic of a clip where inkinesss where suppressed and unequal. Whether the flag represented history or non it was violative to groups and Walton had to be in incredulity when he saw it. These marks were the pieces of the cognition mystifier he was seting together in his caput.

Throughout Walton ‘s journey he continues to inquire the inquiry of worthiness. His aunt and his female parent were approached with the inquiry. He wanted to cognize from his aunt was it worth traveling up north and so traveling back to Mississippi where racism is different from up North. She said the ghettos up north were the cause of decease for many black work forces and if she wanted her boies to win so they would necessitate to be in another country. This was an oculus opener for Walton because he grew up in the North an assumed its was better so the rural South. Walton besides asks his ma was it deserving holding black pupils who went far but did non even acknowledge each other? The response that his female parent, Dorothy, gives is yes it being worth all the battles her coevalss and the 1s before endured. He so understands everyone wants better for each other whether it be now or in the hereafter. This was where Walton ‘s artlessness was diminished because he now understood that his success was because of the forfeits others before him made, and bring outing these forfeits was like the key to knowledge.

Mississippi: An American Journey is genuinely a journey that people take as they read the narrative Walton writes. He brings to the light all of the dark in Mississippi ‘s history that he learns. Through Walton ‘s lens Americans and himself know small truth about Mississippi other than its racialist and segregated yesteryear. What Walton ends with is non junior-grade events and insignificant inside informations found on the street or in a history book, but critical inside informations and events he ne’er knew existed. His freshly found cognition gave him a sense of the strength within the black people of Mississippi and the bravery to encompass the past “ shade ” and “ name them his ain ” ( 275 ) .


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