Instructions for Coming of

Age in Mississippi

Due Sunday, April 25th, 2021


Late papers will be penalized. Failure to turn in this assignment will result in

the automatic failure of the class.


Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi is an autobiographical presentation of

her life and experiences in the segregationist South during the middle third of the

20th Century. Although Moody was intensively involved in the civil rights

movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, the real value of her autobiography is that she

describes what it was like to grow up in Mississippi long before she became a civil

rights activist.


Your book essay for Coming of Age in Mississippi should explore and discuss the

following topics and questions:


1. Begin with a brief overview of the book: in general, what is it about, who wrote

it, etc.


2. Moody’s decision to become engaged in the political activism central to the

Civil Rights Movement was a result of her experiences at both work and play

growing up in Mississippi. What kinds of incidents from her life led Moody to

become politically active in the movement? For example, what does she notice

about how she is treated as a black person in Southern white society?


3. Women played an important role in Moody’s life. Using examples from her

autobiography, discuss what Moody learned about race, class and sexual

orientation from the women around her. Who were the most important women in

her life? Discuss each and explain why that person was so important.


4. Moody was a participant and observer of some of the most important historical

events of the 1950’s and 1960’s. How did she view and describe these events – for

example, the murder of Emmitt Till, the sit-in protests, the voter registration drive

in Mississippi, Ku Klux Klan activities and the assassination of Medgar Evars and




others? In general, what do her descriptions tell you about the struggle for civil



5. What did you think of this book? Did you like it/ not like it? Explain why.


Writing Instructions:

1. Use the above questions/topics as your paper outline and answer them in the

order they are presented.


2. Use some common sense in how much you write on each topic. The general

overview of the book, for example, can be covered in one relatively brief

paragraph. Other topics may require more extensive coverage. The main body of

your paper should focus on topics 2-4. You should explore those thoroughly and

back up any general comments with specific details that illustrate and support

them. Topics 1 and 5 should be about a paragraph in length.


3. Although I don’t grade in terms of the length of the paper, under most

circumstances I would expect a paper somewhere within the range of 4-5 pages.

As a general rule, it’s better to write more than less.


4. The paper must be typed using a standard word processing program, double-

spaced using normal- sized fonts (11 or 12) and margins.


5. The best grades will go to papers that have discussed each topic/question

completely, are well-organized and well-written and follow directions. Points will

be deducted for excessive grammatical and/or typographical errors so be sure

that you proofread before turning it in.


6. Be careful about plagiarism. If you quote anything from this book, use

quotation marks and cite the page number. If you use other sources, identify

those sources and use quotation marks and page numbers as appropriate.

Failure to do this could result in a grade of 0 for the assignment or, in serious

cases, failure of the course.


7. Make and keep a copy of your paper.





8. You don’t need a separate title page, but on the first page of this paper you

should put your name and the author and title of the book.


9. All Papers must include citations and a Works Cited page. Please use this

format when citing: (Bell, p.27). Every citation must be placed either at the

end of the sentence cited or at the end of the paragraph containing the

citation. I require that you have a minimum of five (5) citations within your

paper but keep in mind that more would be better. A Works Cited page must

be included on a separate sheet at the end of your paper. Please use the Out

of this Furnace book as your only reference material! This means that you

will have only one reference work cited in the Works Cited page! The Works

Cited page should contain the name of the book cited as well as the author(s)

name, publication date, number of pages, etc., and that is all!


10. Papers are due on Sunday, April 25th, 2021. Failure to turn in this paper

will result in failure of the course.


If you need help with any aspect of this assignment, don’t hesitate to contact me.

I’ll be happy to clarify the topics and show you how to find the required

information. I’m also willing to look at early drafts of your paper provided you get

them to me at least five days for the due date.