Mississippi Trial Character Analysis

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There are many external and internal factors that shape and form our identity, which is knowing who we are or who someone else is. In the book Mississippi Trial, 1955, the main character Hiram Hillburn goes through many ups and downs in order to figure out who he actually is. Achieving this takes time and many changes in people’s characteristics. Intertwining this to the book, identities are formed and shaped by parents, personal experiences, and independent decisions. Hiram exemplifies these changes throughout the book by guidance from certain adults such as his father, making very salient decisions, and past incidents.

From the time humans are born to today their parents have a great impact on the way they act and think. They teach
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Past experiences shape nature and disposition.When someone goes through a dramatic events, they change for the better or worse. The novel Mississippi Trial, 1955, concerns Hiram’s experience with witnessing the murder of an African American and figuring out how to respond to it. It soon becomes clear that Hiram’s past experiences with his father have affected his viewpoint on life. For example, Hiram states, “It made me sick, and all I wanted to do was get out of there, out of Mississippi, and back home where things and people weren’t so crazy.” (Crowe 192) This shows significant character development for him,which contributes to identity. Hiram’s experience in witnessing a failed justice system for African Americans also caused a change in his personality. In the beginning of the book, he loved Greenwood, his grandfather’s home, and thought it was incredible. In the beginning, he states, “It was the best place on Earth” and that he, “loved [his] grandparents.” (Crowe 3) This demonstrates that there is a change in Hiram’s thought process and that this will change his personality and self-identification. Clearly, the murder of Emmett Till affected how Hiram viewed himself and others. Before, Hiram could be described as a young boy who had a blind, immense love for his grandfather and the South. However, his experience with Emmett Till and observing a murder that his grandfather was part of reformed Hiram, who came to see the flaws in the once idyllic place. An oft-present, major theme in the book is that past encounters have a big effect on who people become. When the verdict was delivered and justice wasn’t given to Emmett Till, Hiram had stated, “I felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me, how could the jury find them innocent.” (192) This is a huge contrast from the beginning of the book, where Harim did not care about the ongoing racial problem in the South, and would ignore whatever his
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