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Clay Derby In Sharon Draper's Copper Sun

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In Sharon Draper’s novel, Copper Sun, Clay Derby is the son of the plantation owner in South Carolina. Clay can best be described as needily seeking approval and controlling. Clay Derby was needy; he needed approval, affection, and attention. Clay did not have a mother figure or receive affection, and this made him seek out attention and affection whenever he could get it; “‘You like me don’t you?’ he implored quietly. To Amari, his voice sounded a little plaintive, almost as if he needed to her to say she liked him,” (111). Clay asked Amari if she liked him because he wanted confirmation that someone cared for him. Clay cared for Amari too, getting her an extra blanket, sending her candy, and not beating her like the father whose approval…show more content…
He was not only controlling of Amari, but he also tried to control the situations he was in, like his finding of Mrs. Derby’s child. Clay renamed Amari to Myna because she was his and he did not want to share her; “With sudden fierceness, Clay jumped between Amari and the young man who had touched her. ‘Keep your hands off her!’ he snarled,” (158). Clay thought he should be the only one to touch Amari and that she belonged to him and him alone; he controlled her. His control extended not only to Amari, but also over the other residents of the plantation. He did not like Mrs. Derby, and he tried to control her life as best he could, taking her child to his father; “Polly could tell that Clay was actually enjoying this! She and Amari watched, horrified, as Clay lay the naked, screaming baby on the dirt in front of his father,” (182). Clay knew his father would kill the child, and Clay had hated the child before it was born because of the initial praise it received. Clay tried to manipulate, or control, the situation to his advantage and benefit. Clay is controlling; he does what he can to make things happen according to his will, as seen when he shows possession over Amari and when he gives Mrs. Derby’s baby to his
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