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To what extent does Mildred Taylor portray TJ as a victim of the times?

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Introduction

Susie Betts 16th October 2002 11YL To what extent does Mildred Taylor portray TJ as a victim of the times? In this novel TJ Avery is portrayed as a victim of the times. He becomes caught up in the prejudice against Blacks, and believes it is a way of life At the beginning of the novel the reader does not really know a lot about TJ, and it is not until later that they really get to know him. Although TJ is the oldest of the children in the novel he is a very insecure character and has low self esteem. He longs to be liked and to have the security of a family, like the Logan's. When he is attacked by R.W. and Melvin it is the Logans that he turns to. Before going home to his parents he goes to Stacey and asks for help. He does this because he realises that they are the only true friends he has, and that as they are brought up better than he is, they learn to forgive and forget and treat him like part of their family. ...read more.

Middle

When TJ tells his parents that he only went up to the Wallace Store to get Claude, to avoid getting beaten, Cassie is disgusted to think that he could do such a thing to his family. She does not realise that TJ only acts like this because it how he believes he should act, and because of the way in which he was brought up. He only thinks it is how he should act because it is the same way he has seen the Whites treat the Blacks, and because the discipline he receives from his parents is not strong, he does not think it matters that he lies and gets his brother into trouble so as he can save himself. As the narrator is ten year old Cassie, most of the book is told through her eyes of a child. She does not consider why TJ is like he is, instead just thinks that he is a bad person and totally responsible for his actions. However, the reader can see beyond this, and knows that the way TJ is like he is, is because of the place he is brought up in, and the racial tension and prejudice surrounding that area at the time. ...read more.

Conclusion

Again, this is another way in which TJ is portrayed as a victim of the times Throughout the novel it is clear that TJ is a victim of the times. The strongest way in which it comes across is his acceptance of the racist attitude towards him. For a twelve year old boy, today, this is hard to deal with, but at the time of the Depression in 1936 it is the way of life, or so TJ believes. He is quite easily caught up and used by the Whites. TJ believes that RW and Melvin are his friends, and also likes the power it gives him to be in with White boys, but after they beat him badly it is to his true friends that he turns to. Although he has been bad to them; getting Mama fired, taking Stacey's coat, bringing RW and Melvin to the Revival, and mocking Little Man, the Logans still help TJ at his time of need. This is the type of family that TJ is jealous of and wishes that he could belong to. He would like the love and acceptance that the Logan children have, and to be brought up to respect others and be honest in the same way. Frequently throughout the novel Mildred Taylor does portray TJ as a victim of the times to a large extent. ...read more.

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