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The Dry Grass of August
"A must-read for fans of The Help." - Woman's World
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Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

Created: 12/02/11

Replies: 14

Posted Dec. 02, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 503

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Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip, given the anger in the Deep South over Brown vs. Board?


Posted Dec. 03, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sarahd

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 84

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RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

In retrospect, clearly the answer is no, but Paula made the only decision she could. She was obviously ill-equipped to manage her children without help, and she struck me as too self-focused to realize the problems of taking Mary through Georgia at this time. I also don't know what choice she had. She was heavily reliant on Mary and was making a long road trip without her husband. I think she would have seen it as worth the risk because of the benefits of having the help.


Sarah D
Posted Dec. 03, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 80

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RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

I agree with Sarah D. Paula clearly didn't think through her decision to take Mary but she didn't think much beyond herself and what would make it easier for her. There was no way she could have taken care of the children by herself and she knew that so she did what was best for her.


Posted Dec. 03, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeann

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 42

RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

I don't think Paula gave it a second thought- she took Mary along for the help she could give. I don't think she would have attempted the trip on her own. Paula was very self-centered and wanted what was easiest for her.
She was using Mary in spite of the fact that it could put Mary in harms way.
Even before the Mary's tragedy, the conditions that Mary had to endure to be traveling through the south were degrading and uncomfortable. Mary seemed to be stoic about how she was treated, and the predjudice that she endured. I was outraged...and sick about how things ended up for Mary. This was totally realistic though.
I moved to the south in the early 60's and was stunned at how black people were treated then.


Posted Dec. 03, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 64

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RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

I agree with Jeann that Paula did not give the matter a moment's thought. Paula is a product of her class and time; she knows she can't manage the children on her own. she doesn't do it at home and would not be able to do it on a trip. The results were tragic, and though I did not love in the South in the 60s or any other time, what is portrayed in the novel reflects what some of my Southern friends, both black and white, have told me about the atmosphere in the South at that tiem.


Posted Dec. 03, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
job

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 10

RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

I also think that Paula probably didn't really know what type of things really happened to blacks. She didn't see it in her insulated world. I don't think she would have knowingly put Mary at risk.


Posted Dec. 04, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dorothym

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 21

RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

I think this was another example of people not paying enough attention to understand the danger - somewhere between self-absorbed and naive.


Posted Dec. 08, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 80

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RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

I think that she did realize the possible dangers and was aware of the prejudice so I don't consider her to be naive. I think that she was so self absorbed that she really didn't care what Mary had to go through - she was only concerned with having help when she needed it.


Posted Dec. 08, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanlsimon's Gravatar
susanlsimon

Join Date: 12/05/11

Posts: 8

RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

I think That Paula was definitely aware that taking Mary with them was risky.. I think that she new she couldnt manage alone and thought that she could protect her..She was mostly concerned with her own needs..


Posted Dec. 26, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Terry R

Join Date: 12/26/11

Posts: 10

RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

Paula was so self-centered that there was no way that she would take a trip with her children without help. Selfishly, she put Mary at risk. Paula is so used to the "country club" life that she may not have realized the depth of her mistake, but she surely knew that it was a mistake. Paula is, to me, the definition of many women in the 50's... totally reliant on her husband and afraid to make waves of any kind. Stell and Jubie could have helped with their siblings.


Posted Dec. 28, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 235

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RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

I think she did not even think about it. To her it was just that she had always had Mary to help with Davie and the other children and this was just the normal for her way to travel. She knew there would be difficulties with housing, eating and such but that too was just normal.


Posted Jan. 31, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sylviaj

Join Date: 09/14/11

Posts: 30

RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

Paula was so completely oblivious to so many things including her disaster in the form of her husband. I think Paula's decision was wrong and a poor choice knowing the racial climate of the Deep South.


Posted Apr. 15, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dorothyl

Join Date: 04/15/12

Posts: 34

RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

It was a terrible choice and I think Paula is aware that it is dangerous because of her concern about sleeping arrangements on the trip. She is, however, selfish and always puts herself first.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
ritaq

Join Date: 01/20/12

Posts: 3

RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

In hindsight, I am sure she regretted it. However, she didn't really think it thru and I am not sure she realized the potential danger....her life was fairly sheltered from reality. She simply needed the help and tried to do what was best for Mary when she could.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Carolina

Join Date: 12/05/11

Posts: 14

RE: Do you think Paula makes the right decision to take Mary on the trip?

I really agree with the gist of most of the responses to this question. I don't think Paula thought about the inherent dangers of such a trip. Even when her sister-in-law mentioned that the Klan had become active (on page 3, I think), Paula pooh-poohed such a notion. Yes, she was sheltered from reality, and I think she liked being in the shelter, not having to think...great answers to this question.

Just got the French translation, yippee!! It's re-titled, THE BLACK TEARS OF MARY LULTHER. My Swiss French husband is reading it now, and so far he's pleased. I'm so fortunate to have him (now I'll have to get Italian and Norwegian husbands to read the next translations...NOT).

A.J. (author of The Dry Grass of August/The Black Tears of Mary Luther)


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