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Segregation In Separate Pasts By Melton Alonza Mc Laurin

711 words - 3 pages

In his novel, “Separate Pasts,” McLaurin recollects memories and interactions from his earlier years with the black community he, as a white male, grew up with. This book illuminates the realities of segregation in the United States by showing the real discrimination and separation of races in the 1950s in the town Wade.
The first person to truly sway the narrator’s racial interpretations was an old friend, Bobo. Throughout the beginning of the novel, McLaurin emphasizes how frequently interracial encounters occurred and how the narrator reacted to them. In “Separate Pasts,” the narrator describes an event in which he licked a needle that his playmate Bobo, the black boy who lived behind the ...view middle of the document...

Another person that significantly changes the narrator’s interpretation of the black society is a young lady, Betty Jo. By incorporating Betty Jo into the collection of his memories, McLaurin is able to show how the narrator explores the sensual imaginations and relations of young white men concerning black community. The narrator has several daydreams about the black teenagers and women that visit his grandfather’s store. However, society prevents white men from from entering a relationship with these women for fear of condemnation, except, “white males, who ran society, enjoyed access to both white and black women” if they so desired (66). Betty Jo, a young black woman who regularly visits grandfather’s store, modifies the way the narrator feels about black girls and black society as a whole. Being the first girl that the narrator longs for emotionally, in addition to physically, his desire for her indicated to the narrator that Betty Jo was similar to the white girls the narrator had formerly dated.
Thirdly, Sam, the “Boo Radley” of the novel, changed the narrator’s perspective of race, in...

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