In “A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile, a Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon,” Gwendolyn Brooks bases her poem off the murder of Emmett Till. She touches on the ideas of Southern racism and Southern femininity to blame and deconstruct a dysfunctional system in society, which excuses the violence and hatred towards black people in the South.
In her poem, Brooks portrays the effects of Southern racism and racial segregation on society through the privilege that Carolyn Bryant and her husband were given after the murder of Emmett Till. Carolyn Bryant had the desire of fulfilling a fantasied dream that most women in the south had, which is why she accused an innocent black child of something he did not do. In her mind, she portrayed Emmet as a villain who “possessed undisputed breadth, undisputed height, and harsh kind of vice.” However, the more Carolyn thinks about what happened, the more responsible she felt for the death of an unwary child. She felt that there was “something about the matter of the Dark Villain.” He was “of fourteen, with eyes still too young to be dirty,” and she started to find it increasingly difficult to justify her actions with this fairytale story. Instead, all the qualities she thought the Dark Villain should possess were found in the Fine Prince. She had realized that “there may have been something ridiculous in the picture of the Fine Prince.” Carolyn feels “a red ooze […] seeping, spreading darkly, thickly, slowly, over her white shoulders,” signifying her guilt and role in the death of Emmett.
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Gwendolyn Brooks portrays racial inequality and the effects of racial segregation in this poem when Carolyn Bryant was quick to assume that Emmett was the “Dark Villain” she needed to be saved from. This depicts the racial inequality between blacks and whites in the United States because even though Emmett was a little boy, he was still accused of something he did not understand just because of his skin color; he was still an innocent, young child who thought that “grown-ups were supposed to be wise.” Brooks argues that many African Americans were thought to be these monstrous villains that did not deserve to be treated like human beings just because of their race. They were given unfair punishments for petty crimes and targeted by society for things they had not done,
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