The Sky Is Gray Analysis

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Bayonne, Louisiana is a small town in southern Louisiana that struggles with racism inequality and prejudice between the whites and the blacks. James, the narrator of Earnest Gaines’ “The Sky is Gray”, is an 8-year-old African American boy. It is the 1930’s and, like most families, James’ father is drafted to fight in World War 2. This is ironic because James’ father is forced to fight for the freedom of Americans while at the same time African Americans are being discriminated against throughout the South. In Earnest Gaines’ “The Sky is Gray” a combination of the lessons taught to James by his mother, Octavia, and the first-person narration of James reveal a theme of pride being instilled in a young African American boy, in times of hardship and poverty, that show the coming of age of James. Early in the short story the reader gains insight into the fact that Octavia has raised James to be a young African American man that is not a “crybaby”. The first-person narration of the story reveals that James does not like to complain because it will upset his mother. In the story James says “I love my mama and I want to put my arm round her and tell…show more content…
During James and Octavia’s trip to Bayonne, Octavia helps instill character and pride in James. Gaines’ writes, “’We don’t take no handout,’ Mama says… ‘I’m not handing out anything,’ the old lady says. ‘I’m old, but I have my pride, too, you know.’” (Gaines 13). This is a paraphrase of a conversation between Octavia and a store owner, who wants to feed Octavia and James. Octavia will not take the food that the old woman is offering them so the old woman says that James must work so they can eat. This is important to the story because this is one of the main scenes where Octavia is instilling pride in James and teaching him that he must earn what he gets in

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