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?
Join Date: 10/15/10
Join Date: 10/16/10
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.
Join Date: 04/14/11
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.
Join Date: 11/14/11
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.
Join Date: 12/03/11
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.
Join Date: 05/12/11
Join Date: 06/13/11
Join Date: 04/14/11
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.
Join Date: 12/05/11
Join Date: 12/26/11
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.
Join Date: 06/16/11
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.
Join Date: 09/14/11
Join Date: 04/15/12
Join Date: 01/20/12
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.
Join Date: 12/05/11
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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