Essay On Small Great Things

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In Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things, Ruth Jefferson is an African American labor and delivery nurse who is charged with murder following the death of two white supremacists’ newborn. She did not kill the baby and realizes that she is being charged solely because she is black. Ruth wishes not only for the justice system to confirm her innocence, but for her community to realize the injustice present in the way they treat African Americans and to do something about it. Ruth’s search for justice highlights the fact that racism is highly prevalent in all members of society. Small Great Things alternates in point of view. Ruth’s sections provide readers with insight into her past and the feelings she experiences during the present. From the very…show more content…
When Ruth asks that race be addressed during the trial, Kennedy shuts her down. She believes that race doesn’t belong in the courtroom, that justice is blind. Throughout the novel she refuses to acknowledge the blatant racist undertones of the case, and then doesn’t understand Ruth’s hostile nature. She isn’t racist, she isn’t the reason Ruth is on trial, she just wants to win the case, and race discussions would prevent that. After Ruth introduces Kennedy to some of the struggles she has to face daily as a black woman, Kennedy realizes her own outlook on the issue is terribly naive. In her closing remarks she discusses how just about everyone participates in “passive racism” by “not questioning why slavery is the only aspect of black history taught to elementary schoolers” and “not asking why there is only one African American staff member.” She forces people to accept that though they don’t have swastika tattoos, they also contribute to racism in the country. Kennedy is the reason Ruth receives both legal justice and inner peace. She is the prime example of someone with good intentions who inadvertently adds to the problem forcing readers to look inside and realize that they too
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