The world is full of prejudices and racism. Back in the 60’s racism was widespread in the US especially in the southern states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South
Even though slavery was abolished in 1865 in American states, black people were still treated poorly and had fewer rights than white people in the 1900s.
Although time has passed, the African-Americans are still viewed as criminals, rapists, other horrible stereotypes and as inferior to the white population and it is the same in the short story.
These are some of the views and opinions the main protagonist has to witness and deal with growing up in the countryside in Alabama in the short story Jesse by Joy Boothe.
The story is set in the countryside in the southern state of Alabama. The story takes place over 22 years, from when the protagonist was five years old to when she is twenty-seven years old. We also know when it took place because we are told she is eleven in 1963
During the 1950s and 1960s, racial segregation and racism were still very common, especially in the southern states. It was also in that era the civil rights movement emerged and the fight for equal rights begun. The southern states were also known for their use of slaves in the past.
With the story being set in the countryside the chances of the protagonist’s family being poor are rather high - especially with a stay-at-home mom and a father working at a plywood mill. The mill is also described as very rusty and full of holes.
Furthermore, the sun is described as hot and making the road buckle which fits with the hot climate in Alabama.
After following the narrator for 22 years we get an inside of what it was like to grow up in the southern states of America, living with racism and prejudices and how the black community were seen by the white community. Even though the narrator grows up with a Granny full of hate and towards the African-Americans, she manages to ignore the prejudices.
She concludes that her African-American friend Jesse is full of love and that he is nothing like the African-Americans from the stories she was told by her Granny when she was little. Also, that all humans are equal, and the color of the skin does not define a person.