The Sky Is Grey

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The narrator of Ernest Gaines’s “The Sky is Gray” is James, an eight-year-old block boy who uses his point of view to describe his childhood during the segregation which his father is always absent and has to rely on his strong mother to support the whole family. Comparing to most of boys, James has a scarcely childhood which occupied with worries of money and concerns of his mother. “The sky is Gray” contains many themes and scenes that how he tries to accomplish his mother’s wishes to become the man in the house instead of his childish complains. Under the pressure of segregation, an eight-year-old boy maturely practices his personal responsibility, the endurance during difficulty, the dignity under discrimination, and the pride under poverty, which is all taught by his strong mother. The narration by James makes clear statement that his mother wishes him to be the mature man in the house. His mother pushes him to be the example for his siblings. For example, the eight-year-old James wishes his mother’s hug, but his inner voice stops him when he knows that his mother will not like the “crybaby” behavior. “She say that’s weakness and that’s crybaby stuff, and she don’t want no crybaby around her.”(paragraph 1) Not wanting to be a “crybaby” and knowing well that his mother cannot afford a trip to the dentist, James disguises and tries to conceal his pain from the rest of the family. The courage to suffer during difficulty that brings James up is from the exemplar of his mother. They walk a long way trying to find a right café to sit in and to get some food during the dentist’s break time. Little James does not say any complains at all; instead, he behaves himself to be as strong as his mother. “We walk and walk, and no more time at all I’m cold again…. My stomach growls and I suck it in to keep Mama from hearing it…But Mama don’t say a word.” (paragraph 9).

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